Yesterday I took a really nice, long, meditative walk. It was quite hot out, so I lingered in one of the cool, shady groves of the trail I frequent. A stream runs there, and so I decided to relax on its banks for a little while.
As I was sitting, the woods around me seemed to come to life. Frogs jumped near the stream, dragonflies buzzed, birds sang. A beautiful butterfly flitted by and landed on the shiny wet stones near the stream. It paused for a few minutes, opening and closing its wings, revealing bright blue patches. Suddenly, the creature fluttered its wings and flew to the shelter of a nearby tree.
This moment made me remember something I had long forgotten. When I was about eleven years old, my class took a field trip to a local park. One of the foresters there gave us a quick tour, and also told us about something called a 'magic spot'. She invited us to find a spot in the forest, settle down, and then be very, very, still. She described how nature will come to life around us, just like magic. Of course most of us laughed at how kiddish it sounded- after all, we were mighty sixth graders!
But to tell the truth, it really was like magic. While sitting in our 'magic spots', the natural surroundings seemed to awaken. We each wrote what we observed in a little journal the forester had given us, which we (secretly) enjoyed sharing with our classmates.
Back to yesterday's experience, I realized the 'magic spot' can truly be an exercise in mindfulness, and a gateway to a meaningful meditation practice. This was exemplified by my observation of that beautiful butterfly: As I sat watching, my breath slowed, becoming one with the rhythm of its undulating wings.
Here is a picture I took of a butterfly at a conservatory a while ago. I am posting this for your to enjoy, because I did not take a picture of the butterfly described above. After all, I was in my 'magic spot' :)
Have you had an experience like this? How do natural surroundings affect you and your mindfulness/meditation practice?
May all beings be happy!