Nature Based Mindfulness

Nature Based Mindfulness

When I Am Among Trees by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”

There is a high chance that you have already done Nature-Based mindfulness.

Mindfulness is when you lose track of the time and are absorbed in the moment.

The here and now.

I am sure you have walked on the sand at the beach, feeling the breeze, hearing waves crashing, smelling seaweed, looking at shells, sand patterns, rocks, rippling water or waves.

This is mindfulness.

I am sure you have also been in nature and not been aware of your surroundings because you have been thinking intense thoughts about something in the past or future.

This is not mindfulness.

What is Nature-Based Mindfulness?

Nature-Based mindfulness is a process that allows you to ‘tune in’ to nature using your sensory system.

It requires you to focus on nature using your sight , smell, tasting, feeling and hearing.

Perhaps you can tune in to what nature is telling you today.

Nature-Based mindfulness can be practised anywhere on any aspect of nature.

It is preferable to practice in a quiet spot in nature where you have access to a variety of natural resources for creating a mindful experience. 

For example,

In some native bush where there may be lots of trees, bird life, a running stream, native plant life, flowers and bug life amongst the grasses. 

At the beach where there is ample movement of the elements including the waves, wind and experiences of smelling and finding washed up marine life.

At the beach where there is ample movement of the elements including the waves, wind and experiences of smelling and finding washed up marine life.

Your front or back garden or a nearby park could also be a place that may be abundant with nature.

Benefits

Nature-Based mindfulness allows us to slow down, be present and connect to the present moment.

This can be a welcome rest from your thoughts some days.

We are nature and are not separate from the natural world we experience.

For some connecting to nature can bring a sense of safety, of connection, of purpose, of awe and inspiration and a faith in a larger reality or spirituality.

We can learn to see beauty outside and in. 

Nature-Based mindfulness has an outward focus and gives you permission to have open eyes, to move around freely and explore. 

This can be can be a welcome change for those that find more inward focusing mindfulness techniques challenging.

Below is a table summarising the research of the found benefits of interacting with nature. (Source)

Risks

Connecting to your physical senses for some people is challenging.

Please give yourself permission everyday to decide what is right for you today; everyday.

Below are two recordings’Make a Start’ and ‘Nature Based Mindfulness’ (adapted from NAture Based Therapy by Kit Kline.

The scripts for the recording is also below.