Meditation is a technique we use to quiet our minds and dim the hustle and bustle of modern life; of course, nature already offers much of the serenity and tranquility we seek from meditation. When you think about it this way, it makes perfect sense to combine the two. For some people, making an active effort to meditate can feel like a chore. Meditation works best for people like this if they don’t feel like, or realize, they are meditating. If you are this type of person, getting in touch with nature might be just the right kind of meditation you’re looking for.
Now, I’m not suggesting you perch yourself on the edge of a cliff and chant “ohmmm” for 12 hours straight — if that’s what you really want to do, go for it — but I am suggesting you go deep out into the wilderness; or at least farther than your backyard or apartment. The reason being, I’m going to suggest wildlife watching. Maybe where you live there is plenty of wildlife watching to be done in your backyard, but for most people a nearby state park would do much better. The first step is to pick your location. Once you’ve settled on a good spot, you should then decide on what you’re going to watch, specifically. For example, you could go birdwatching, or you could look for fish, or insects, or plants… it’s entirely up to you. You might just want to go watch everything, but that could be a little overwhelming and somewhat defeating the purpose of this exercise.
I suggest getting a book on the subject you choose so you know how to identify what you’re looking for.
After you’ve found your spot and selected what you’ll be looking for, you’re ready to get started. Right off the bat, you may realize spotting wildlife is much harder than it seems. It takes a lot of patience, focus, and discipline. Most animals are trying to hide from humans, not be seen by them. Spotting the specific creature you’re looking for might take hours. That’s where meditation comes in. If you’re going to spot your plant or animal, you need to stay focused. Your mind is going to wander from time to time, but if you let it wander for too long, you’ll completely miss your opportunity. You have to continuously shift your attention back to your surroundings, and that is in essence a form of meditation.
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