Becoming embedded into Nature and Self: tips and perspectives

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Becoming embedded into Nature and Self: tips and perspectives

It can be difficult to step outside of my day-to-day mindset and see things around me anew, from a different perspective. Creature of habit, I might go for a bush walk intending to be mindful and after twenty minutes still not have shifted my mindset I had at home. Even with intention, without the effort and perseverance it may not happen that I can get from ‘little mind’ to ‘big mind’, as some Buddhists would describe it. I can hear the call of my higher Self but my physically focused self often struggles to still its mind, even after years of practice.

One of the usual mindset perspectives is believing and feeling that I am separate from everything else around me, just an isolated body passing through a world out there, a world of independent objects and beings interacting but not really connected. I know that the environment ‘out there’ is or potentially is affecting me in a number of positive and negative physical and psychological ways. For example, there are environmental toxins, EMF radiation and irritating noise as well as the calming of natural scenery, negative ions uplifting my energetic state and fresh air to re-energise me. I know that there is no exact, definitive boundary between my physical self and the world around me yet my sense of self is totally encompassed by my skin.

So how do I get over this mental trap, an inertia of my normal sense of self to remain confined within my own skin? The first step must be to surrender myself to being totally in the present moment. That’s no mean feat, it’s a mental juggle to quieten my mind. I need to pay attention to my breathing and thinking, observing without attachment. As the gaps between thoughts and imaginings become longer, I begin to ease my self-awareness into the calm within. I begin to immerse my awareness into the spacious present.

Within the spacious present that I have surrendered into, it feels that my little self is dancing with my higher Self, a spacious serene ‘place’ where I am not just embedded with my ‘surrounds’ but aware of the fluidity of illusory boundary’s. But if this is not working then I can try other techniques to calm and embed my mind. Here are some approaches that have proved effective:

  • Visualisation: the brain wires neurons and synapses constantly with experience, whether it is in the exterior world or the imaginal world of intense imagination and visualisation. Neurons respond with little differentiation between inner or outer oriented stimuli. While visualisation for short periods on a walk may or may not re-wire the brain, what it does do is help me into a different perspective and relationship with whatever I am engaging. It is this inner scene that stimulates an affective response that helps deepen the level of engagement, and therefore the effect on my psyche and brain. For example, all living beings are energy, have an aura of pulsing energetic frequencies that interact with another beings aura. My aura will interact and be affected by the tree I am standing against. I visualise this, keep the picture in my mind for some time and experience being energised and held within the tree’s aura. This increases my sense of connection, my sense of being more than this body and being in energetic union with a tree. Try it, practice this visualisation and experience the difference.
  • Yoga: I’ve practised yoga for only four years and so am just a novice. But I know some of the basics of asanas and pranayama (breathing) and I use these two to help me become embedded within a sense of body-in-the-world, a sense of increased body awareness within a nature space. The practice of postures for stretching, balancing and strengthening, along with breathing techniques, grounds my awareness and therefore mind into my body and the spacious present. It sounds counter-intuitive to deepen connection to nature and spirit through physical acts of yoga but this is the result of its benefits of stilling the mind, centring and grounding and deepening body awareness to the energetic nature of our physical natures.

So these are two techniques I use to not just help me feel embedded in the outer world but embed my awareness into my body and calm the mind of constant thoughts and attachments to what is not present. I become more present, more calm through visualisation and yoga. That is why they are important activities within each NatureConnect session. Next time you cant still your mind or want to feel more embedded in body and nature, try to practice visualising and/or yoga.

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