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I search for God in nature. I delight in its boundless beauty and in the observation of the endless cycle of death and rebirth. Through nature I am able to marvel at the perfection of the world, personally believing that none of this could possibly be the result of pure randomness. This observation rekindles my awareness of both my connectivity to all living things and my belief in the perfection of my life and the lives of every human who has ever lived.

Big Sur in the Morning

Personally, I prefer finding a secluded area to explore so that I am able to truly immerse myself within my environment.  I love wandering alone while releasing my thoughts as I take my focus away from my rapid mind and all of its anxiety, and place it on the tranquility of the surrounding beauty. As I walk, I focus on walking mindfully. I take deep breaths of the clean air, and smell the fragrance of the trees or the saltiness of the ocean breeze.

To walk mindfully, you want to awaken your senses to feel and pay attention to everything going on. Notice the sensation you feel in your feet as you walk on the dirt trail, pay attention to your breath and the freshness you feel as you breathe deeply. As you are able to dive deeper into your own awareness, you can pay attention to your heartbeat by mentally placing your focus there. Pay particular attention to how it responds to the increase in physical activity, and if your heart sings as you smell a flower or follow the path of a bird in flight.

nature-walk

Usually after about 20 minutes of walking, my body and mind is restored to a new balanced calm and I suddenly feel a surge of optimism and other positive feeling sensations. When all my worries vanish, I feel happy, for in that moment my heart seems to tell me that “I finally get it.”

At one point in my life, I lived among millions of people in a densely populated urban environment for three straight years. Although I would frequent Central Park and several mountainous parks in Seoul, its manmade feel just did not provide an authentic connection within me. At the time I couldn’t place it. All I knew was that I just felt off. This feeling persisted until the day I moved back to the Bay Area, and a five minute drive from open natural preserves and redwood groves.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the three years in Seoul and Manhattan also happened to be the unhappiest years of my life so far.  😉

Challenge:

  • Try to develop the habit of walking in nature a couple times a month.
  • Train yourself to be more aware of the beauty and vitality of the plants and animals you come across during your day-to-day activities.
  • As you hold onto that awareness for a moment, smile and think to yourself, “look how perfect this flower/tree/dog is. I too, am meant to be beautiful just by being me the best that I can be. When I follow my heart and do the things that bring me joy, life will unfold in an effortless flow.”

Photo Sources: 1, 2

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