Meditating Outside for Deeper Connections in Nature
By KEEN Fan Aaron Robinson
Meditation is the single most effective tool for personal growth, healing, and inner transformation. I started my daily practice just over two years ago with the intention of letting go of my self-limiting beliefs and to walk confidently in my purpose.
I discovered early in my practice that conditions are always changing and that suffering comes from resistance or aversion to what is happening in the present moment. By observing my thoughts and bodily sensations without judgment, I’ve learned how to be with and accept whatever arises in my experience. There are still plenty of days I get caught inside the mind and the world of emotions but the storm always passes, and I return to the place that I call home within. As daily meditation becomes a non-negotiable part of my life, I am inspired to shake things up and bring my practice into nature as often as I can.
Meditating in nature is exhilarating, deeply healing, and above all it grounds me in reality.
Meditating in nature is exhilarating, deeply healing, and above all it grounds me in reality. On Labor Day weekend, I found an amazing place to meditate by our campsite. It was on an old tree stump right by the water’s edge overlooking Timothy Lake. Once I got settled onto my cushion, I closed my eyes and took my first deep breath, releasing all of the tension I had stored in my shoulders. I observed every sound, smell, and sensation that entered my field of perception. From the watchtower of awareness, I have an embodied realization that I am connected to all of life that surrounds me. I experienced a deep sense of gratitude for mother nature — the trees, plants, animals and spirits of the land. Resting deeper into oneness on this tree stump I only seek guidance.
Entering into a state of stillness allows me to receive what is waiting to be expressed from deep within. I’ve experienced nature to be the perfect environment to foster the unfolding of my true self. I’d like to share a couple more ways to practice stillness and reflection in hopes to inspire more deeply connected experiences in nature.
Taking a Cold Plunge for Cleansing
I don’t particularly like swimming in cold water. I don’t think anybody does, regardless of the health benefits. In order to coax myself into jumping in the lake, I use a symbolic approach. Consciously, I hold the intention that I am cleansing myself of stagnant energy. Energy that I’ve accumulated over time through reliving trauma on the news, consuming social media, and interacting with people without establishing clear boundaries.
Fueled by purpose, I jumped into the lake, submerging myself completely underwater. I saw my mind drifting away. I thought of how I wanted to be next to the fire instead. I came up for air and focused my awareness solely on my breath. I observed the sensations in my body. I noticed that the discomfort I experienced was from my own aversion to the cold. Once I surrendered to the present moment, the discomfort I had disappeared. The water washed away everything that wasn’t serving me.
Journaling for Answers
I bring a journal with me every time I go camping. Writing is an essential tool for self discovery and inner transformation. I give myself permission to write down whatever comes to mind without judgment. I let go of all of my stories from the past. From here I ask myself the BIG questions:
What is my purpose in this lifetime?
How can I be of service to my community?
And what makes me happy?
I don’t feel pressure to answer these questions immediately. Sometimes I let them settle in while I’m walking on a trail, stacking rocks, or hanging around the campfire. I trust the answers will emerge at the perfect time if I continue to stay open and receptive.
Engaging with my own healing, growth, and transformation is a lifelong journey. Meditating in the outdoors has allowed me to connect deeply with myself and work in true collaboration with the environment. Mother nature is a self-sustaining ecosystem working effortlessly in perfect harmony. When I choose to embody the wisdom of nature, I grow to be aligned in my actions and enter the gateway to my highest potential.
Aaron is a meditation coach, photographer, and podcast host based out of Portland, OR. He discovered three years ago that nature is a place for deep healing and transformation. He now takes every opportunity to disconnect from all distractions and bring his “inner work” outdoors.