Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mindfulness, meditation, and the magic spot

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!

10 comments:

  1. What a beautiful moment....I love nature

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    1. Me too! Glad to share this moment with you :)

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  2. Renata, you described such an enchanting moment. On walks so many animals and beautiful plants just show up to appreciate. This summer, we have had so many great moments on the lakes. We could name our activity "mindfulness kayaking". This last weekend, I was on call and we didn't get to go out, but the previous week, we would just pull up our paddles and drift by the shore of our favorite lake. We saw a cardinal, blue jays, a blackbird, a kingfisher, a beaver and later a huge turtle swimming. Of course, a lot of fish would swim by all the time. Water lilies were gorgeous. We saw two swans, about eight geese, but we felt the highlight of the day was when a great blue heron took off on its majestic flight. All this occurred on our modest little lake. We felt blessed to witness so many wonderful creatures! Thanks for posting your wonderful day.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful moments with me, I truly cherish and appreciate it. I can close my eyes and see the beauty of everything you described, and even feel the awe of watching a great blue heron take flight.

      Thanks again for your comment, and happy mindfulness kayaking :)

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  3. Dear Renata,

    I've had many experiences similar to this, and the way that these experiences affect me, is that I become one with my surroundings to such a great extent, that for some it would seem beyond belief.

    Now I'm thinking perhaps I should write a post about some of my experiences I've had as well.

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    1. Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, and for sharing your great connection to nature. I for one would love to hear about your experiences!

      May peace be with you :)

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  4. Love it! I just got back from a 4 day camping trip in the Redwoods along the Russian River in Northern California - I love the calm that I feel when out doors in nature. My brother is not a Buddhist, but was an Eagle Scout and he told me once that "nature is his religion".

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    1. Wow! You know, it's funny you mention the redwoods. I was out there when I was a kid, and I can honestly say that being among those huge trees was one of the holiest places I have ever visited.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience, and also your brother's thoughts on the matter :)

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  5. Oh I should have added that I was doing the Deepak Chopra 21 day meditation challenge (guided meditations sent to your email), but I had NO cell phone reception. I decided that camping for 4 days had to count!

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    1. Wow, that sounds cool! I will keep an eye out on your blog for updates on your progress and what you learn!

      (But yes, I do think four days camping does count!:)

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Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment! If you enjoyed this post, please share with others. -With Metta, Renata

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