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Forest Meditation 101

Basics

‘Meditation’ evokes various connotations. Therefore, it may be helpful to think of this particular practice as a resting activity. The general idea is to get to know who you are. Become friends with the person in the mirror. It’s a way to care for yourself and deliberately deal with boredom.

In this resting practice, one’s own breath is the focus point. Breathing is a reliable constant in everyone’s life. You don’t have to pick it up anywhere in the morning. It’s always there with you. Whenever you are sitting, standing, lying somewhere, resting – thoughts will come to mind. Acknowledge them and then bring your attention back to your breath. Otherwise, try to do as little as possible. That’s all.

Forest Practice

Leave the path, find a comfortable patch of moss. Lie down on your back. Face up, eyes open.

Bring your attention to your breath. There’s no particular focus on breathing in or out, deeply or not. Continue for a while (or 10min).

Focus on the breath of the trees above you. Up in the canopy every leaf sniffs up carbon dioxide, taking it into its cells and transforming it into oxygen. Continue for a while (or 10min).

Explore the relationship between the breath of the trees and your own. While you exhale, trees inhale. And vice versa. A tug war mid air. Continue for a while (or 10min).

Now turn around, onto your stomach. Face down. Dig a tiny hole into the moss with your hands – just below where your nose touches the ground. Place your nose in the moss and smell the forest floor. Feel your belly pressing against the belly of the earth. Continue for a while (or until an ant crawls into one of your nostrils).

Finally, sit up straight. Hands relaxed on your legs. Bring your attention back to your breath. Continue for a while (or 10min).

Exemplary views from the forest floor.