Journey with us into the miracle of mindfulness in nature. Experience life through a different lens. We hope this post inspires you to bring more mindfulness into your life.
Morning here this morning in New England at Webb Park in Weymouth Massachusetts was a brisk and damp 63° upon arrival for the Morning of Mindfulness Project.
Those who were mindful of the current weather conditions dressed appropriately and accordingly for today.
When we do these groups part of the lessons is to embrace what “is” regardless of a cards we are dealt with at the moment.
We began the morning was pulling an oracle card to help set the tone and guide us on today’s journey.
The card for the day was “Surrender Obsessive Thinking” which seems to be quite relevant under the current energies that we are experiencing right now heading into the eclipse season.
Today’s morning of mindfulness began with a simple guided meditation and sensory exercise before we headed out on our journey. If you’ve never joined us for one of these, you will know that every week we do something different and focus on something different even though we incorporate basic teachings weekly.
This week we focused our mastery of presence through our breath and awareness listening to the wisdom given to us through nature and our bodies.
“The mind in its natural state can be compared to the sky, covered by layers of cloud which hide its true nature.”
– Kalu Rinpoche
Here are some observations we made today. (Pictures taken after the event as to not disrupt the exercises and experiences. Pictures taken in areas revisited.)
It is hard not to notice the wet grounds with the recent rains yesterday and into early this morning.
In Shintoism, a native religion of Japan (to many Japanese it is not a religion but a way of being and is cultural), the clouds represent where the Gods reside and the rains represents one way for the Gods to come from the heavens.
“An essential point of Shinto is the idea that wa (kind, benign and harmless harmony) is inherent in nature and social relationships.”[i]
“The Japanese descriptive term for Shinto is Kami no Michi. Kami means the “deities,” or “gods,” no is the possessive, and Michi means the “way” or “road.” Therefore it signifies as a whole, the “way of the gods.”‘[ii]
The rain drops on the leaves remind us that water is life and that life is all around us. Just like the water serves as nourishment for these leaves and plants it serves as nourishment for our souls.
Secondly we observed and experienced roots from these trees reminding us to ground but also sucking up the vital nutrients from the earth gifted by the rains.
As we continued on our journey, we allowed more to flow through the ebbs and flows of life.
“Come back to square one, just the minimum bare bones. Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time—that is the basic message.”
– Pema Chodron.
The purpose of this project is to help us with mindfulness tools to adapt in our everyday way of life. When we can train ourselves to stop from time to time throughout the day, we can come back to the present and let go of our worries and preoccupations. When our minds and bodies are calm, we can see our situations more clearly and we know better what to do and what not to do.
At first, “stopping” may seem like a kind of resistance to modern life, but it isn’t that. Here, we are using the elements found in nature to help us with presence.
For instance, there is magic in mindfulness with nature. Today, the flowers that bloom covered in the rain dew are guiding us to all that is reminding us of what it is needed for us to blossom.
The yellow connects us to our own inner guidance system allowing “thought” to step aside as we through the awareness process just allow.
The white shows us the purity and how delicate, intricate, and beautiful life can be when many times we are so distracted in a way where we are unable to see the magic and beauty.
The idea of “stopping” is the first aspect of meditation. The second aspect is looking deeply. Once we have brought calm, peace, and joy into our bodies and minds, we can look into our difficulties to see their roots, bringing understanding and making transformation possible.
Stopping gives us space to observe our negative thinking without getting caught up in it; we call this mirror recognition. Stopping also allows us to be in touch with what is positive and healing. The purpose of our practice is not to avoid life, but to experience and demonstrate that happiness in life as possible now and also in the future.
“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.”
Sometimes we just have to become one. When we do, all thought process vacated and presence takes over. The past and future become irrelevant, a state of relaxation commences, and a new sense of awareness is heightened as we maintain the practice of mindfulness in our journey.
We are so used to running around, even at home, that stopping is a hard habit to develop. Visual cues can serve as a gentle reminder that now is the perfect time to stop and be aware of the present moment.
Connecting in nature as we did today can serve as a perfect way to stop and just BE.
Sometimes we are given signs, the glimpses of divine presence. Without awareness or mindfulness, we miss out and wonder why our prayers go unanswered.
“It’s only a small step from the word ‘being’ to the experience of ‘being’.”
Sometimes when we are stuck in our own chaos unable to see through the trees, we a given a glimpse of a forest with a clear vision through them guiding us to shift perspective a bit.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”
– Jack Kornfield
Sometimes we stumble upon what was originally erected as a memorial and suddenly you see it from a different perspective as a very sacred spiritual mandala heightening the sensations of our mindfulness journey throughout the morning.
“Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh
Then suddenly after the amazing profound spiritual experience at the Circle, the chatty birds, the invigorating ocean breezes, and the nearby crashing waves begin to take over our awareness.
We slowly walked to this area. A stop we must and again to just BE taking in the wild flowers, grasses, trees, rocks, nearby islands, and the crashing ocean waves.
Also, noticing we were on a trail classified as a “healthy trail”
Listening and just BE-ing in nature using mindfulness techniques revealed much pleasing ripples and vibrations in our core. Thanks to the assistance of Mother Naure. Buddhists call this anicca or “impermanence.”
We continue to move forward in our morning of mindfulness walking with no thought in mind except forward letting nature be our guide.
At one point no realizing where we were as we got pretty deep into today’s practice but quickly regained our sense of location and carried on.
We were greeted with more flowers along the path outreached as if they were arms just waiting for us to take notice.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn
These blue star shaped flowers are everywhere here. So simple yet so intricate. We found this flower to be exceptionally healing for us.
It was quite easy for us to get lost in a timeless warp of presence surrounded by simple miracles of life.
Today’s journey was magical and the rains early on amplified today’s experiences.
There are days where mindfulness training and experiences come easy and other days where more awareness to surrendering to awareness is needed.
Today, our ability to remain present in full embodiment of mindfulness easily flowed like the recent rains running off the branches and onto the grounds either soaking into the ground or running like a river downstream.
We soaked in all that was and grateful for all that is.
|Mourning dove as we prepared to conclude for the day
|Finally, as we approached the conclusion of our Morning, we were greeted with a mourning dove. As soon as we acknowledged the presence and honored the gift, the mourning dove flew away.
(This we were able to capture during our morning since we were concluding for the day)
|Mourning dove once acknowledged, she flew off.
I hope you enjoyed this brief pictorial of our experience this morning.
“Life is fragile, like the dew hanging delicately on the grass, crystal drops that will be carried away on the first morning breeze.”
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche