Healing Forest walks are a different way of spending time in the wilderness. Try one in a forest close to you. Move in small groups and in silence. The idea is to talk less and listen more. To experience the nature around us with awareness.
The aim of this silent walk is to find a moment of deep calm that will stay with you. To give rest to our overactive thoughts and take nature’s help in finding answers and insights that will help us in our life.
We do this by using our senses to become aware of the present moment. And observe the invaluable lessons that nature has to teach us. Some of the important ones being about impermanence, interconnectedness and insignificance. The focus is on shifting our feelings towards appreciation, gratitude and peace.
Given below is a map of a few trails that can serve as healing forests. Quiet spaces that one can go to reflect, relax and rejuvenate without feeling unsafe. If you have a trail that fits, please write to us through this link. http://bit.ly/trail-maps
Over the course of this walk you may undertake short tasks (Forest meditations) that deepen your connection with the forests. Please undertake the task to the best of your ability and inclination. You can even devise your own forest meditations. Share some with us in the comments section below.
Typically the Healing forest walk sessions last for 2 hours. Any forest, lake or natural water body, city park, mountain trail can turn into a healing forest walk.
You can walk slowly for 15 minutes and spend then next 20 minutes focusing on one of your senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. You can then continue the walk and stop whenever you find a place that calls out to you. Sit in your space, observe and learn from nature.
Here are a few forest meditations:
Smell: Breathe in the forest. Take deep breaths to soak in the scents of the forest. Can you carry the scent within you?
Sound: Listen to the sounds of the forest. Count how many different sounds you can hear. Can you hear the stillness that holds all the sounds?
Touch: Sit on a rock with your feet firmly on the ground. Hold a piece of the forest in your palms – A pebble / a leaf / a blade of grass. Close your eyes and pay attention to the touch. Connect with the forest. Connect with the earth.
Taste: Carry a fruit or some tea with you. Eat the fruit slowly. As slow as you can. Imagine the sunlight that feeds the plant becomes the fruit that becomes a part of you.
Sight: See as far as you can. Observe things as if you are seeing them for the first time. Observe things as if you are seeing them for the last time.
Insight: Choose any one one word from the following: Impermanence, Interconnectedness, Insignificance. Reflect on the meaning by observing the relationships in nature.
Enjoy the healing.
- Senses – Focus on the senses to bring awareness to the present moment. Give importance to all your different senses. Reconnect with your entire being.
- Silence – Find calm and experience the stillness. When you are silent, you can begin to receive the gifts that nature has to offer.
- Serenity – Learn to carry the forest within you. Even when you are not in nature, the peace and serenity of the forests can be a part of you and influence people around you.
- Sharing – Building a community and a deeper connect with forests. Invite close friends and people in your life to experience the healing powers of nature.
In a landmark study on happiness by Harvard they found that the single most important factor which is responsible for people’s happiness and contentment with life – is the quality of relationships in ones life. Silent walks in forests help you create a better relationship with yourself.
END NOTE: We are creating a small community of forest friends who share a close connection with nature. The idea is to learn from each other and share our experiences from different forests around the world. To get updates please sign up for our monthly newsletter at this link. If you can volunteer to lead healing forest walks in your area please fill this form.