Nature Meditation: What's the Point?
by Marianne Rowe
Our lives are filled with things and people asking/wanting/needing our attention. We do the best that we can to get the most done…and then there are the emails to be answered, the dinner to be made, and the kitchen to be cleaned…all before collapsing into bed, hoping to get enough sleep to feel rested so it can all be done again tomorrow.
Who has time, much less the energy or the resources, to go walk in the forest, sit in the ocean, listen to the river, or contemplate the mountain? After all, we spend some time outside every day…and we occasionally notice the colors of the sunset, the sound of the rain, or the feel of the sun on our skin. Besides, there are bugs out there.
Why on Earth would anyone want to participate in Nature Meditation? While it might be somewhat pretty or relaxing, it mostly sounds inconvenient, uncomfortable, and slightly itchy.
We have forgotten.
- We have forgotten that we are made of the very elements of nature itself – earth, air, fire, and water. … And so we feel anxious and disconnected.
- We have forgotten that our bodies and minds need space to integrate and contemplate all that occurs in our lives. … And so we feel stressed and overwhelmed.
- We have forgotten that we are part of the immense totality and evolving story of the Universe. … And so we feel inadequate and impoverished.
- We have forgotten that we are stardust and are connected to every thing and every body… And so we feel separate and alone.
Yet, when we spend a mindful, timeless day at the beach or in the woods, we somehow feel more energized, open and refreshed…because in this space, a part of us remembers all that we have forgotten. and a sense of belonging, peace, and inspiration arises.
Why does this shift occur? What actually happens that has us feeling more alive and engaged? What is it that wakes-up out of the trance of routine and “demand”?
When we engage our consciousness in nature, we awaken essential aspects of our being:
- Connection: We sense that we are part of a web of life, a system of interdependency, a system of mutual benefit that is embodied in every breath as the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with the plants and trees of the world.
- Perspective: We have a much larger view of the world – one that is beyond our immediate circumstances and known experiences, and we can cultivate compassion for ourselves and others in the field of shared humanity.
- Sense of Beauty and Awe: We connect with our ability to be astounded, surprised and humbled by something we did not expect or create, and we experience the expansion and transformation of what we thought possible.
- Meaning: We recognize that, in this larger view, everything and everyone has a purpose and a role to play, including our own unique self.
- Consciousness: We realize that we have the capacity to engage and interact through our senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell…and – here’s the real miracle – be aware of the awareness of sensing, feeling, and thinking.
- Reverence: We recognize and appreciate the mystery of not-knowing, that there is something far beyond our capacities at play in the world around us, and we feel humbled and perhaps even a sense of comfort and relief.
These experiences, remembrances, inspirations, and pleasant surprises come to us when we dare to go beyond the familiar and “known," to listen deeply to the teachings of nature, to see things as they really are, and to feel into our connection with the sacred and profound mystery of being.
You are invited to join us in one or more of our upcoming Nature Meditation Retreats…to refresh the screen, pull-away the veil, and wake up in the wild…in service of being aware and being kind to yourself, all beings and the world.
“When stressed or overwhelmed,
the immediate relief is always in the softening, and the surrendering.
Your surrounding world already offers its medicine everywhere.
Place your hands in the soil to feel grounded.
Wade into water to feel cleansed and healed.
Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear.
Raise your face to the heat of the sun to feel your own immense power.
You are part of the earth, and comprised of the very same elements.
And this is something you should remember.”
– Victoria Erickson