The Japenese are very familiar with the concept of Forest Bathing…simply put spending time in nature with no other purpose than to spend time in nature. Simply being among the trees, growth, and water has been proven to be good preventative and healing medicine. Each of us knows this but our 21st century living prevents us from easily slowing down and taking time out. I come across this challenge often as I teach mindfulness – we are so busy that even the thought of doing nothing – the shifting from Being to Doing that is the essence of Mindfulness meditation often further raises the stress levels. Often a client who finds doing a formal mindfulness meditation too difficult can more easily take a slow walk in nature. I’ve coined a term for this –not Japanese forest talking which speaks immediately to people from that part of the world but ‘Natural Mindfulness’ which simply means taking a but of time, pressing the pause button and doing it in nature.
Maybe you will try it and let me know how you get on!
When I Am Among the Trees
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.”