Reconnecting with ourselves – the power of nature
You might be familiar with the quote from John Muir – “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” Maybe you have already experienced the same feeling.
For me the “lose my mind” part means that I can silence my mind, my thoughts and the “find my soul” part means that I find true peace within myself.
Why is this easier when we are in nature? Because we have to process less information from the outside world than usual.
During our everyday life we have to process so much information that most of it happens unconsciously. For example on our way to work, we sit in our car, listen to the radio, pay attention to the traffic, get mad at another driver, etc. Or we use public transportation while listening to music or a podcast, reading a book or the news or just scrolling down on social media. We meet a thousand people we don’t even recognize, we just get mad because of the crowd. Familiar? We did not even get to our workplace yet but have already faced many impulses.
At work we have to keep contact with many people, we have to multitask, review and solve complex issues, keep in mind the deadlines, etc. When we try to relax, we watch films and series (or maybe read a book or a magazine) which creates the illusion of relaxation as it distracts us from our everyday problems but our mind is still alert.
Despite that I frequently practice yoga and meditation, I often feel overwhelmed and feel the need to relax, to detach myself from the usual environment. By that, I do not mean going the party or binge watching a tv show but rather a real shut off by going for a walk or hiking. Obviously, dancing and having a conversation with a beloved person can recharge us as well.
However, by going into nature we experience something else. We can truly go inwards, instead of focusing on the outside world. When I walk in nature, I silence my mind. I pay attention to the landscape, the life around me, listen to the sound of the birds, feel the breeze on my skin and smell the essence of nature. In this walking meditation, I focus my attention on the different senses and I can completely relax and recharge. As I tune myself to the frequency of nature, I arrive to a silent and tranquil state where I can reconnect with myself, with my soul. I only pay attention to the current moment, to the “here and now”. I am conscious. This is mindfulness.
This state can be reached during different circumstances as well but it is easier to get there when we are in nature as we experience less stimulus than usual. We can focus our attention to the different senses, which is the first step towards meditation.
Even when I cannot go for a walk or hike in nature, I practice meditation to recall this peaceful state that the forces of nature bring. By practicing imaginative meditation, we recall different natural objects, places that brings us into a peaceful and relaxed state of mind.
During many of my sound therapy group sessions, we practice different types of imaginative meditation to recall this calm state and to connect with our real selves. If you would like to join one of the sessions please check the event calendar for the dates and locations.
Until that, you can practice meditation by walking in nature. You do not need to obtain any special ability for that. Just pay attention to what is around you. Then recognize the changes within yourself.