A Journey In India

"Connecting with nature in any place

requires a similar toolkit. So once you learn how

to do it one place, it goes with you for life, no

matter where you go"

The Taj Mahal in India.

There are special skills and equipment needed for the myriad ways of being in nature: hikers, backpackers, rock climbers, divers, jumpers, bird watchers, photographers, etc. have different needs and expertise. A meditative nature walker needs one skill- the ability to be physically, and mentally still. The only equipment brought is one's five senses plus an extra sense- the heart. As in other activities in nature, you can develop and strengthen your skills. Like other sports, a meditative nature walker needs a coach (in this case, a guide with experience and passion) ,and nature. The guide paves the path and nature provides the experience. Many sports give a sense of empowerment, the person surviving the threats of nature. Meditative nature walking is passive and gives a sense of unity of self with nature. This helps us return to our basic being. Once the ability to slow down is developed, you become a well- honed instrument that can deeply experience any natural environment from a city park to far away places.

I just returned from a month in India. As a psychotherapist I already have a set of skills to examine people and cultures. I am also a meditative nature guide who experiences every natural space deeply with all my senses, including my heart.

I traveled to an ashram at the southern tip of India on the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. One might say that this was a training camp to strengthen my skills of slowing down, finely tune my senses, and open my heart. People at the ashram develop their own retreat: some do yoga and vedic chanting through the day, others do pujas, others talk with others of like mind. My retreat was mostly silent and in nature. I woke up at 5:30am and went to an area of rainforest where the birds were stirring. The miracle of nature was awakening and praying in unison; it was profound. The wind began to pick up and each bird began to insert itself one by one into the growing chorus. A symphony ensued for a set time before the birds began to break off, to begin the activities of their day. I then walked to the Indian Ocean to watch the sun appear and the moon begin to fade. As the wind picked up, the waves moved and each splash against the rocks was unique. There was an excitement within as the wave began and then slowly furled, moving in at it’s own pace to touch the shore. My mornings from 6:00am. to 9:00 am were spent feeling the special warmth of the breeze, a breeze unlike one in Florida or the Caribbean. I watched the colors of the ocean and the waves, I often felt the warm spray of the ocean jump a rock and touch my skin. Slowing down each day created a new sense of time, where hours fly as I sat entranced by sensations and emotions.

My two hours of volunteer experience occurred on the highest floor of an ashram building that overlooked the Indian Ocean, backwaters, and rainforest vegetation that the ashram is set in. The fresh smell and feel of hanging laundry beaten clean on a rock by other volunteers, the overview of beauty of the island, hearing and feeling one of the only breezes that occurred at the ashram, filled me with love and gratitude.

The ending of my day, was a return to the ocean, surrounded by meditators and yogis watching the sun go down and sink below the ocean horizon. As the sun sets and dusk moves in, the birds returned home and began their nightly choir. They did not start one by one at dusk, but all at once - crows shrieked and other birds shared their bedtime songs. Following this was a palette of reds, pinks, lavenders, and blues all in different kaleidoscopes every night. Color merged with a growing blue-black darkness until the color-layered darkness filled the sky overtaking all other hues. As this occurs, the stars, emerged one by one.

I felt this experience through my heightened senses. The love in my heart grew markedly. All this was possible because I am a meditative nature walker with abilities developed before India, that were used and heightened at "Training Camp India." Through an extensive time spent being silent, I slowed down enough to truly savor another place in the world as deeply as when I visit a local park.

This ability can be developed by any person; there are no physical, emotional, or spiritual limitations to immersion in nature. To join me on a meditative nature retreat- visit Yournaturequest.com and learn how to heighten your senses by a weekend in nature.

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