“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
Meditation is, in itself, a natural act which allows us to delve inside ourselves, so it only makes sense that meditation would be enhanced if it were to be performed outdoors, surrounded by nature and exposed to the elements. In doing so, you allow yourself to become at one with yourself and with the earth, becoming grounded and finding it much easier to gain peace and serenity of mind. After all, Buddha himself reached enlightenment whilst meditating under a tree!
If you want to include nature in your meditation, there are a few ways to do it, and not all of them will leave you sitting in your garden with your neighbours watching over you thinking you’ve gone mad (although it is perfectly acceptable to do this). The best option, and the way to fully reap the benefits of meditating in nature, is to find a very secluded place which is far away from any city or town and ideally a place that other people are unlikely to be. You could go deep into a forest, high up a mountain, or to a deserted section of a beach. If there is water and trees nearby that is definitely a bonus.
If you are opposed to the idea of finding your own private meditation spot outdoors, you could consider a couple of other options. Firstly, a nature walk or a walking meditation are good options for meditating outdoors without having to commit yourself to sitting somewhere on your own in an isolated space. A mindfulness walk in a beautiful, serene environment will help you to feel calm and at peace, making you aware of the beauty that surrounds you and helping to diminish your stress levels and worries. A walking meditation is similar to this, but instead of focusing on your surroundings and trying to be completely present, focus more on your breathing and what’s going on inside you. You can perform a body scan meditation whilst walking and release any tensions you can feel in your body as you go.
The other option, if you are unable to leave the house, is to listen to relaxing nature sounds as you meditate at home. Even though you won’t have the benefit of actually being outdoors, you can still create the illusion at home and create the perfect backdrop for you to meditate in. There are many sounds of nature to choose from, so pick the one you think will enjoy the most such as rain, ocean sounds, birds, forest noises etc., and sit comfortably in the lotus position or your preferred meditation position. Close your eyes for this as you will want to make it seem as real as possible, and, if it helps, listen to a guided meditation that will take you on a virtual walk through a natural environment. You could also open a window to let some fresh air in, or wait until it is actually raining outside for some real natural sound effects!
After you have completed your nature meditation, you should feel relaxed, calm and completely at ease. Nature restores and rejuvenates our body, mind and spirit so if you feel like you need a soul cleansing then this is the meditation for you.