July 19, 2013

The Best Reason for Taking Your Practice Outside.

Photo: Patrick Dinkfeld/ Model: Sunrise Radiance (Nina Ingrassia)

Week 14: Share My Path Series.

External phenomenon, what I understand to be a manifestation of past action, can, in its representation, provide a world which allows us to find our answers.

For this reason, the fact that it took 15 weeks for a participant of Share My Path to bring the impact of ‘nature’ into the conversation shocks me. But it was well worth the wait. What Nina found in ‘nature’ is quite illuminating.

“Within me was this unquenchable thirst for Truth,” Nina stated, beginning our exchange. “I mean, the real answers to some of the most basic questions of human existence, like: Who am I and where did I come from?”

Nina needed to know why she “was even on this earth.”

Her sanctuary became hiking trails. “I found those moments wherein every fiber of your being is completely engulfed in pure serenity, those moments when you want for nothing or feel there’s nowhere you’d rather be,” she explained.

It was in this sanctuary, in tune and “in synch” with the music that accompanied her hikes, that Nina’s mind was “free.” “My inner voice was loud and clear,” she shared.

As she learned to listen, the “epiphanies” began to reverberate.

“My favorite part of hiking is running down and hopping from rock to rock while keeping in sync with my music. I remember one day I had this flash, as if to say, the less attached you are to any one rock, the quicker you will make it down the mountain.”

I’m enamored by Nina’s use of the word ‘flash’ here; so often our epiphanies do appear to come on like a lighting strike.

Nina continued, “The lighter I hopped on each rock, the faster I went. I took that and applied it to my life, learning where I was attached to people, places, and things and then letting go of these attachments.”

Such a profound lesson for Nina, and discovered in a moment of doing what she loved.

The other flash came to Nina appeared shortly after an exchange—one she had many times on the trail—with an 85 year old man. “He would say something to me every day I saw him; sometimes ‘good job’ other times ‘what’s taking you so long?’ But buried in these niceties Nina found a nugget that would lead to her emotional stability.

“I realized I was giving my power away by valuing others opinions of me. I shouldn’t let anyone define me. Otherwise, I would be like a leaf in the wind, going up, down, and all around.”

Nina’s somatic practice, as we’ve seen by her epiphanies, was serving her well. She continued to hike. And in addition to the epiphanies she was finding “profound moments of peace”: “beautiful sunrises” that would take her “breath away” and more moments of simple surrender to nature’s magnificence—both her own and that which surrounded her on the trail.

But Nina’s heart “longed for more peace and centeredness.”

“The universe provided me with a teacher,” she tells me; it “saw my longing for truth and linked me up with my teacher so as to further enhance what I had already been doing physically.”

I’m reminded in this portion of our exchange how we must not become entrenched with one practice; how it is through variety that we are able delve deeper into ourselves.

Nina admits to being a self-starter, but she also views her new teacher as the “yin to [her] yang,” someone who can balance her mediation based in movement with a practice based in stillness.

There were difficulties at first, she admits, but she “viewed them as hidden blessings.” “Being such a physically active person, sitting motionless for 20-30 minutes at a time took a bit of an adjustment,” she tells me, but by finding “the most comfortable sitting arrangement as possible for my body and continually practicing and redirecting my focus to the actual meditation.” Nina admits she found the process became easier with every sitting.

Through her practices Nina has found profound peace of mind, stable amongst the ever hanging external reality that [she] experiences on a daily basis.

“It couldn’t be clearer to me that by expanding my awareness I was expanding my life in some of the most beautiful ways,” Nina shares with honesty. Meditation is a “place I can go to when I need answers or a place to re-center.”

In today’s hectic environment, rife with outside stimuli, taking a few moments allows us to recall that amongst all these manifestation we still matter. We, as a collective whole, have the ability to produce profound epiphanies—both for ourselves and for the billions of others currently in this rotation.


Share My Path is a journalistic archive of the paths taken by practitioners of meditation . Through community sharing of our paths we’ll help others find theirs. 

Share My Path would love to feature your path! e-mail me.

Follow the project here!

Last week’s installment of Share My Path: Add Some Curiosity to Your Practice

The installment that started it all: Your First Time: Sometimes it Hurts.

A random installment: Yogis do it. Buddhists do it. Christians too. How do you do it?

A list of all previous weeks: Share My Path.



Like elephant meditation on Facebook.


 Ed: B. Bemel

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

A  |  Contribution: 2,500