Thursday, December 13, 2012
These meditations are done outside in natural surroundings. They help to enliven the basic intelligence of nature in our awareness and physiology. Our being resonates with the sight of a flower, sound of birds, feeling of the breeze. These experiences wake something up inside of us, and help to set our lives into a more natural rhythm. Nature lovers have discovered this secret without ever studying meditation! In the nature meditations, we focus our awareness on the experience of nature — sight, sound, touch, smell (and perhaps even taste). As with every meditation on our website, when the mind wanders from the focus of the meditation, bring it gently back. There are several different ways that this meditation can be done. Experiment and find what works best for you. Basic Nature Meditation — Eyes Closed Find a comfortable position sitting or lying down. Begin with a few deep breaths, breathing deep into the belly, to help you relax and to bring you to the sensations of the present moment. Now close your eyes and be present to what is being experienced with your eyes closed. Notice how your body feels, as well as the activity of your mind and emotions. Experience whatever is present without resisting anything or trying to change it. Do this for about a minute. Now bring your awareness to everything that you can experience in your surroundings. Feel the temperature of the air on your skin, the feeling of the breeze and the sun. Notice the sounds around you — birds, bees, crickets, flowing water. Listen to the symphony of nature. For the rest of the meditation, continue to experience these feelings and sounds. Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the experience of nature. As you meditate, you can see where your attention is naturally drawn, or purposefully scan for different experiences. You can also focus on one experience and notice the experience in greater detail. If it is a bird’s song — notice the quality of the sound — as if you are going more deeply into the sound. (It may seem to have a shape or texture.) Don’t analyze the sound and label it with your mind — simply notice the quality of it. Once again, whenever you notice that the mind has become absorbed in thoughts, easily bring it back to the sounds and sensations of being in nature. At times both awareness of the sensations from the environment and thoughts will be present. That’s fine. Just easily favor the experiences of nature. Listening Meditation — Variation of Basic Nature Meditation Begin as described in the Basic Nature Meditation, but focus on sound only. Let your awareness be with all the sounds in the environment, noticing them in great detail. You can also focus on one particular sound, such as that of flowing water. Continue to bring your attention back to that particular sound when your mind wanders. Nature Meditation — Eyes Open This meditation can be done while sitting, standing or walking. Time spent in nature can always be a form of meditation when we put our full attention on what is around us — the earth, trees, flowers, animals, fresh air, the breeze… To intensify this experience, allow yourself to experience the sights, sounds and smells without labeling them and becoming mentally involved with them. Notice the tendency of the mind to name and evaluate everything — “Oh, look at that beautiful bird. What kind is it? Is it here all winter or where does it go?” When these kinds of thoughts come up, let them go. Simply experience the colors, shape, sounds, movement of the bird or whatever else you are experiencing. Let it be an experience without meaning and without reference to any other experience. Experience everything with an open awareness, as if you’d never experienced anything like it before. As always, when the mind wanders and becomes caught up in thought, simply bring it back to the experience of nature.