The mind blows like the wind. It is difficult to control and hard to predict. Especially when it is troubled. Our patterns of thought may vary from scattered confusion or wavering indecision to a spiralling into negative thoughts.
At such times, the forests can offer us surprisingly simple ways to control the commotion in our head and turn a storm of thoughts into a gentle breeze. In this article we introduce you to the concept of forest mediation and offer some interesting examples to help you find your calm.
What is Forest Meditation ?
It is a way of finding calm and balance with the help of nature. It helps us in becoming free of thoughts that trouble us or hinder us. By connecting with nature we are able to find answers to difficult questions and bring clarity to life.
In traditional meditation we withdraw our senses and focus inward to reach a state of inner peace. While in forest meditation we open our senses to experience the peace that exists in nature and deepen our realisation, that we are also a part of nature.
Forest meditation is the act of creating a healing experience for yourself. It is about finding the strength of mountains, the compassion of trees and the wisdom of water. The goal of forest meditation is to grow as a person. Above all it is a journey that creates lasting peace and serenity.
How is it different from traditional meditation?
Many people find it difficult to sit in one place with awareness. The mind is filled with multiple thoughts and the harder one tries to resist, the more they persist.
People who are generally restless or overactive find traditional meditation very hard. Also if one’s mind is already in a state of unrest, or one is going through a troublesome situation in life, it is necessary to calm the thoughts and feelings before one can learn to slow down the thoughts and deepen their focus.
Psychologist Edward Thorndike pointed out that it is not the work expended in the administrative details of an office setting or the algebra in a schoolhouse per se that causes mental fatigue; it is the high energy cost of “inhibiting the tendencies to think of other things.” In other words, mental fatigue was being amplified by firing up the areas of the brain that are required to put the brakes on distracting thoughts.
Forest meditation walks
Start your nature walk by setting an intention for the walk. It helps in channelizing one’s awareness and energies in the right direction.
Be silent. Go slow. Think less. Feel more.
In the first half of the walk use your sense of sight, sound, or smell to bring your thoughts to the present moment. Notice the nature around you and try to find things that fill your heart with awe and wonder.
In forest meditation we do not try to inhibit or stop any negative thoughts. Instead, we take the help of nature to replace them with positive thoughts, insights and inspiration.
Creating a relationship with the forest.
Once you are feeling calmer, find a place that calls out to you and sit in silence, observing the world around you. Notice the relationships that exist in nature and the interconnectedness of everything around you. Keep your thoughts in the present moment and learn what nature has to teach us.
Here are a few examples of some forest meditations you could try, the next time you plan to visit a forest or any green space in nature. There is no time limit or rigid rules. Find your own rhythm and choose what feels natural to you. Every person has a unique connection with nature. We hope you find yours.
Time Travel: Find an big rock or an old tree and rest against it. Imagine traveling far back in time and reliving all the experiences from the perspective of the rock or tree.
Gratitude Walk: Find something in nature that fills you with gratitude. Stay with the feeling for as long as you can.
Song of Nature: As you walk in the forest, imagine every pore in your skin is receiving the sounds of nature just like your ears. Absorb all the sounds like a sponge.
World within worlds: Look closely at the tiny world of insects, grass, and small plants that often pass unnoticed under our feet. Find something unique and unexpected.
Dissolving: While sitting at a vantage point which offers a scenic vista, eat a fruit or a piece of mint candy slowly. As the mint dissolves in your mouth, see how nature is also dissolving in time.
Everyone understands the benefits of meditation, but very few people actually try it or give up too easily. In a world that is getting increasingly crowded, competitive and complex it has become even more important to take care of our state of mind.
Connect with nature. Find your calm.
We are compiling a short collection of forest activities. These will be categorised under forest games, forest relaxers and forest meditations. People of different age groups, interests and experiences can choose the activity that works best for them.
A free copy of the forest activities will be shared with our blog subscribers when it is ready. Join us if you haven’t already. To find a healing forest trail near you or know more about the concept, please check out our WALKS page.
Leaving you with a short forest meditation film. We hope you enjoyed this post. Please share it with those may find it of help.
If you have any questions or suggestions for forest meditations, do add them in the comment box below to create a space for shared learning.