By New York Times Best Selling Authori, Ilchi Lee
We can achieve stress release, life balance, and clarity of mind by engaging with nature. There is a simple reason why nature is so healing. It is the place from which we come; it is part of us. In spite of all our fancy technology and complex cultures, ultimately we rely totally on this planet to give us sustenance.
When we come back into nature, it is like we are returning to our more primal selves, allowing us to relinquish that which burdens us unnecessarily in our modern lives. While in nature, the beauty we see around us reminds us of the beauty within ourselves and of the preciousness of life itself.
Summer is here and flowers are in bloom. It’s a beautiful time to get up and go somewhere you can see the bright green of spring dotting the landscape. Step onto the soil and try this simple walking meditation to leave the modern world behind and immerse yourself fully in nature. You can do this in your backyard or nearby park.
In our busy lives, it is sometimes hard to find a moment to feel the bottom of our feet. Even when people do have the opportunity to walk, their heads are usually so cluttered with thoughts that they are not able to pay any attention to their feet. This is why many people no longer feel grounded and have lost interest in the life that the earth cultivates.
First relax the tension in your body and stand up straight. Stand so that it feels like there is no empty space between your feet and the ground. As you stand like this, focusing on the bottom of your feet, you will eventually feel all of your weight on your feet. You can feel your entire body’s weight at the bottom of your feet without any tension in other parts of your body. You will notice the weight of your body being delivered to the ground and the strength of the Earth that supports that weight.
This isn’t merely weight or pressure in the physical sense. It is a real, living sense of life energy. You can feel the vivid sensation of existence, of being alive, as you develop a heart of humble gratitude toward the Earth that nurtures your body and supports your life.
The stronger the feeling is at the bottom of your feet, the stronger the sensation at the crown of your head will be as well. Below you, the land supports you sturdily. Above you, the vast, infinite, empty space is opened to you. Stand with both feet and feel your body, which connects heaven and earth. Below, you can feel your solid legs and lower abdomen filled with abundant energy. Above, you can feel an open heart and a clear, cool head.
Slowly start walking with your senses opened to your body’s sensations and to the life energy in the woods. It is important to concentrate on the sensation of the soles of your feet and not lose awareness of this sensation. The sun rays, the breeze upon your skin, the smell of the fresh woods, the sound of animals bustling about and birds chirping . . . the sound of your own breath, the sensation of your heartbeat, your skin moist with sweat, the multitude of thoughts running through your head, memories and emotions . . . Continue feeling all of these sensations. Do not try to control or hold onto any of these feelings or thoughts, but rather watch them come if they come and go if they go.
When you continue walking like this, your thoughts and emotions will die away, and you will start to feel that you are connected deeply with the woods. When you do Walking Meditation, it is important to pay attention to the woods as a whole—the flowers, trees, wind, and water. You won’t be able to feel the surrounding nature properly if you are anxious to take notice of something or if you direct all your attention to only yourself. You will feel the energy that is emitted by the entire woodland if you let go of the urge to fixate your eyes and ears on a single object. You will be able to feel the whole of the forest in its entirety, instead of just one flower or tree.
Author: Ilchi Lee
ILCHI LEE is an educator, mentor, and trailblazer who has developed many mind-body training methods including Dahn Yoga and Brain Education. He is also the founder of Sedona Mago Retreat and the author of thirty-three books, including the New York Times bestseller, The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart. For more information about the book, visit www.callofsedona.com