Being motivated to alter our own consciousness is a beautiful thing.
When we realize that the normal thoughts we have each and every day can be pretty limited and often even downright boring, we can use this awareness to wonder: what more can I do to expand the way I experience my world?
Of course, the number of practices out there that promote their ability to help you access an expanded consciousness are many, and it can be overwhelming to try to decide what the right path is.
However, there is one way we can help ourselves transform our own minds and hearts, which is incredibly easy. It costs nothing, and anyone can do pretty effortlessly: spending time in nature.
Yes, nature has everything we need.
When we spend time in nature, we are exposed to all the truths of the universe—the impermanence of constant change, the death, the re-birth, the beauty, the destruction, the absolute bliss and beauty, and the total hell and terror. In nature, all these truths exist without there being any striving or trying—and when we spend time in nature, all of this is shown to us.
No reading is required, no studying is required—we don’t need to pay a teacher or ingest a substance. Nature shows it all to us effortlessly.
Maybe this sounds a little “hippy-dippy,” but really, everyone—no matter their political beliefs, race, culture, or gender orientation—has been touched by nature.
And with nature, a little goes a long way. Now, of course, having a chance to spend an extended time out in the mountains or near water is a gift I highly suggest you all give yourself—but also, an hour (or even 15 minutes) of looking at a creek or feeling your feet against grass or sand can go a very long way toward making you feel more sane when the sh*t of being a human being hits the fan.
None of us should be too busy to spend at least a little time in nature every week.
And even better, while you’re in nature, just make a small effort to quiet your mind a little. It doesn’t have to be any full-on meditation practice or anything like that. Just say to yourself: This is my time to notice nature and not my time to be thinking too much.
Then, really look at the trees—or the sky, or the water, or even just the ground, or a leaf. Just look, notice it, and don’t make up any big stories about what you are seeing.
Just think: It is so nice to look at nature; it makes me feel good.
That is all we need to do—and right in that moment, in that experience, nature is our teacher. Nature’s knowledge about the real truths of the universe and the constant change that occurs in earth, air, water, and fire is given to us through our willingness just to be immersed for a moment in the natural world.
If your heart is heavy today—if you’re feeling confused, or if you wonder, “What is really the right path for me?”—go spend an hour in nature (or, even better, a few days). Just hold the questions that need answers in your heart, and then, get a little quiet.
If the tears come, or the grief pours out of you, or if the anger boils up—know that nature is doing this all the time too. Watch how nature uses the wind, and the tide, and the rain, and the sun to keep the energy constantly flowing. As you watch the water, the trees, and the mountains, your energy will begin to do the same.
Spending time in nature is easy, comforting, simple, and full of all the truths and teachings you are desiring.
I hope you find a beautiful place to transform your heart and mind soon.