Connecting to Nature: A rediscovery
We know that meditation can create profound shifts in an individual, but can it change the world?
Meditation practices require us to reflect deeply on our place in the world, expand our awareness of our surroundings, and consciously rediscover the great interdependent web of life, of which we are a part.
Every complete breath connects us with the trees, plants, and flowers. Every sip of water connects us to the clouds, rivers, and oceans. The food we eat connects us to the earth. The heat of the sun on our skin connects us to the cosmos.
‘We have to stop speaking about the Earth being in need of healing. The earth does not need healing. We do. Our task is to rediscover ourselves in nature. It is an individual choice. And how or where to begin? We begin exactly where we are right now. When we look at the world as a mirror, when we discover that our sense of freedom and authenticity is linked to the well-being and authenticity of others – and that includes animal, the trees and the land." -Ian McCallum
A devoted meditation practice brings awareness to the myriad of ways we repeat patterns or habitual impulses that create disharmony within and without. By cultivating deeper, more integrated knowledge of self through meditation, we can empty the vessel of that which no longer serves us, creating space to sow the seeds of integrity, authenticity, and alignment with the natural world. We strengthen our ability to observe sensations as they arise and fall away, rather than react impulsively. Our circadian thoughts, words, and actions become a ritual of presence and intention.
Unblocking. Expanding. Limitless.
The etymology of 'spirit' is derived from the Latin word 'spirare,' meaning breathe. This is an offering of inspiration to reconnect and rediscover the sacredness of life, to reawaken your earthly spirit, and to breathe.
‘Each breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come.’ -Suzuki.
Here are four meditation/mindfulness practices that can help clear out the clutter, connect with spirit, and keep us aligned/present with the natural world:
Breathing Meditation: Using mala beads, count 108 very slow, very deep breaths. This is a simple meditation that can be done when pressed for time but in need of a "presence check."
Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku): This is a form of ecotherapy that emerged in Japan in the 80s as a physiological and psychological exercise to mitigate burnout and encourage people to connect with and protect the forests. Consciously observe and contemplate the details of nature, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells, unplug, slow down, breathe deep, and stay present.
Seeds, Soil, and Sun: Gardening is therapeutic in many ways, both physiologically and psychologically. Planting a seed, tending the plant, and then reaping the fruits can put one in a zone of deep contemplation about the web of life, alchemy of the elements, the microcosm vs. macrocosm, and more.
- Journaling: Keeping a journal is a profound and uncensored way to gain clarity, declutter the mind, prioritize, recognize patterns, and more. One practice that has been transformational for many is The Morning Pages by Julia Cameron. Write three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do i
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow.” – Julia Cameron
In summary, reconnecting with nature through meditation is a powerful way to rediscover ourselves and create positive changes in the world. By practicing mindfulness and being present, we can cultivate a deeper understanding of our place in the world and our interconnectedness with all living things.