3 Tips For Beginning Mindful Meditation With The Natural World.
What productive activity could you possibly tend to on a snowy day where you are stuck in the house? How about meditative photos of yourself against a beautiful seated window bench. I love this window bench in my twin sister’s home in her dining room. It overlooks the side of the house and some of her neighborhood. Built in the 1800’s, this gorgeous home boasts grand window details and length which are ideal for inviting natural light and sun throughout their living space.
During the winter months, I adore sitting on this bench, which is also part radiator cover, and watching the snow fall and blanket the trees on her property. It’s a perfect spot to sit, meditate, and contemplate silently. I read home magazines, think about some of the odd turns I have made in my life, and contemplate what my next set of moves will be moving forward. Sometimes, I just sit and stare at each snowflake as it either falls to the ground getting lost in a blanket of snow below or I will watch as it claims a branch on a tree among other snowflakes creating a picturesque scenery. Being in the moment of nature, silence, and mindfully enjoying the “now” is such a healthy practice that not only honors your body by relieving stress but it honors your spirit and soul helping you to appreciate who you are right now, at this very moment and allows you to connect with the natural world.
I have always been in the practice of being mindful with nature. As a young child, I often preferred to sit on a park bench just outside of the playground and watch the tree branches wave their lush greenery as a warm wind-filled symphony played that only they could hear. I would breathe in, close my eyes, and try to hear their song as the wind gently cupped my cheek. I would contemplate things I thought crucial at the time like, “Who will I be when I grow up?” “Will I stay close to my friends or will we become different people as we grow?” I was very intuitive and constantly thinking about the “why’s?” in life. My mother always said I asked too many questions. Now we are living in a moment in time where being mindful, meditating, and introspection are highly favored. These spiritual and human traits have always come easily for me as an introvert and have also challenged me during difficult times. So here are a few tips for those just beginning the art and practice of mindful meditation in connection with the natural world.
1. Stay Silent:
It’s difficult to completely drown out the noise in our heads–let alone the noise from the city, local community, or even in the next room–so a great starter toward a peaceful mind is connecting to the natural world. Nature speaks and it will instruct you on how to respond to its flowing language. Stay silent and listen to the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the trees, and the swaying of the wind whether gentle or disrespectfully blunt. As you practice being present to each sound, smell, texture, and other sensual energy that nature offers, you will find that your soul will begin to speak back to you and may even translate what nature is expressing to you.
The key, in my opinion, to successfully enduring challenging times is to just breathe. I utilize the art of the yoga breath in every aspect of my life. For those that have struggled with anxiety, like myself, it can be quite challenging to hear silence for a period of time beyond 5 minutes. But focusing on the breath is a vital key in prolonging the silence and centering your chaotic mind. Think of it as you are breathing in strength, through the nose, and breathing out stress through the mouth. The breath is power and how you utilize it can become your power.
3. Listen To Your Body:
We are also apart of this beautiful cycle of life and afterlife within nature. It is important that we listen to our bodies as we commune with the natural world. Our body will always communicate its most authentic feeling and function. If it is hungry, thirsty, tired, in need of mental relaxation or stimulating activity, our body will express those needs in its regulatory functions. Our body’s communication thread steer our physical and mental health. The best thing you can do for your body and mind is to stay silent, breathe, and listen to the cues and instruction that your body is communicating to you and respond accordingly.
-Angela L. Montanez