Why mindfulness in nature?
Is practicing mindfulness is nature any different than meditating in the city? I believe being in nature makes it easier to connect with ourselves and be present with what is happening in the moment. I had the great pleasure to facilitate the first ever 1-day mindfulness retreat for Conscious Beginnings on Sunday, 27th of November 2016.
“Rest you mind and connect with nature” was the theme of this rejuvenating retreat. We had many participants from different age groups who were looking for some ways to release stress and centre themselves after a long year.
2016 has been indeed an intense year for many, including myself and most of my clients. This retreat offered the perfect opportunity to unwind at least for 1 day. The idea for this getaway from busy city life emerged when my wife and I talked about how wonderful we felt each time after spending some time in nature, regardless if it was at the beach, in the rainforest or in the serene surroundings of the countryside.
I work in the field of counselling and mindfulness education and see more and more people struggling to cope with the modern life’s challenges, such as information overload and hyperconnectivity to technology. Many people who attend my courses simply want to shut down this overthinking mind.
Mindfulness, which is our natural ability to be present, is an effective way to bring some distance between ourselves and the busy “monkey mind”. The term monkey mind is often used in reference to the restless mind states we experience. As we cannot shut down the thoughts, mindfulness enables us to become aware of the habit patterns of the mind and thus brings us into a choice point to behave, act or think differently. Without the awareness of the present moment, we keep reacting (re-act) or repeating the same patterns and wonder why our lives’ are not improving.
“Rest your mind and connect with nature” retreat gave the participants a great opportunity to slow down and rest in the present moment. The day started with theory of mindfulness, its benefits and went into extended practices including breath and body awareness, mindful movement, mindful eating and kindness and compassion meditation.
It was good to notice the difference among the participants even after a couple of hours of practice. The feedback has been very encouraging and we are already planning the next retreats in March, April and May of 2017.