Presence and Slowing Down
One of the many things I love about being in nature is that it gives me the opportunity to be truly present and to slow way down. And the more I slow down the more I see and experience. For example, I arrive at the beach or a park and set up my blanket and get situated and I finally sit down and start to relax. You can do this in any natural setting. And if you don’t even have a part, then you can look up at the sky (birds and clouds). I mostly go to the beach so I’ll focus this blog there but you can do this really in any location. At first I’m looking around at everything in general. I’m enjoying seeing the sky and clouds, the beach and ocean. I take a few deep breaths and let go just a little more. After a while I notice the little sand crabs that are exactly the same color as the sand. At first I see one. Then another. And as I relax more into it I notice that the whole beach is full of dozens and dozens of sand crabs peaking their heads out of their holes, slowly and inconspicuously moving around from one hole to another. At first I didn’t see them at all but now they’re everywhere. Even just a few inches from me.
I’ve already noticed the clouds in the sky. But as I relax more into looking at them I notice that they’re moving slowly in one direction. But after a while longer I notice that there’s another layer of clouds moving in the opposite direction above them. I relax into observing them and finally notice that there is another higher layer of clouds moving in yet a different direction. The feeling of opening up my vision and perception to see the clouds in the sky moving in layers in different directions is very interesting. I have a very tangible experience in my head, in my awareness and actually in my body observing this. I not only see and experience it outside of me, but I also feel and experience the movement inside of me.
I notice a butterfly passing by. And then a bird sitting in the tree near me. Suddenly I see another butterfly and a tree gecko. The bird is chirping and I notice it’s in conversation with another bird across the beach. The breeze moves the palms and they make a subtle clicking/rattling sound. It almost sounds like rain. And then I notice more sounds. More birds. So many different kinds of birds and sounds. I listen closer, deeper. My peripheral vision looks straight out in front of me.
Without focusing on anything in particular, using my soft gaze, I gradually perceive more and more of what’s going on all around me. Actually, I not only see but I can “feel” the layers of clouds above me moving in different directions. Yes, I can feel it inside of me. In my awareness I “sense” the movement of the crabs on the beach. Different birds and butterflies pass through my field of vision. I start to feel the sensation of movement in my subtle body. My energy body. Yes, it’s real. As I expand my perception and relax into my sensitivity my energy body expands as well and it feels more and more as if the clouds are moving through me. The birds are swooping through me. The trees softly sway and as I observe and hear them it is as if they are massaging my senses, massaging me. I can feel it and so can you.
The more I relax and allow and just perceive (with less and less thought) the more I feel my senses expand out into the world around me and the more I can let in. It’s a simultaneous experience of expanding my energy, my senses, my perception while letting the environment enter, penetrate and pass into and through me. There is less and less distinction between me and the world around me. I am myself, I am the space around me and I am that which is within the space around me. In this moment I am all that I perceive. All that is. There is no inside or outside, space or distance, me or other. There is only perception or awareness and movement and now.
I love to do this kind of meditation with my eyes open. Obviously this is pleasing to do in a beautiful natural environment but it will work anywhere. It’s an experience of being fully present. I’m not trying to be “spiritual” or do my daily “discipline”. I’m not trying to do anything. It’s more like an “undoing”. There is no agenda other than to be present. Be here, now, fully. Once I’ve had some time relaxing into this awareness I can take it even further into the awareness of touch. I can touch my blanket, the sand, my skin, someone else’s skin with amazing sensitivity and feeling. The texture, the color, the weight, the lightness, the taste.
It’s about slowing down. And the more we slow down the more there is to take in and the larger and more tangible the experience becomes. The more present we become, the more there is to be present with and the more we become a part of everything in our presence. Personally I feel this is one of the most rewarding experiences available to us. And we can have it anytime and anywhere. How cool is that?