Being Fully Immersed in Nature
I’ve been running a shinrin-yoku group in the Raleigh, NC area for over four years. This group, called MIMEwalk (i.e., the MI for mindfulness, and the ME for meditative), spends a fair amount of time walking together as a group – in silence. In California, is another shinrin-yoku group that focuses on moving slowly and immersing one’s senses. And, in films (e.g., In Pursuit of Silence) it’s been described as being out in nature where man-made sounds are minimal. So, what exactly is shinrin-yoku?
Here-Now ... and Mind-Body-Spirit Being Aligned
For me, it’s about our body-mind-spirit all going in the same direction. Are our bodily senses, mental thoughts, emotional feelings, and spiritual presence all focused in the same direction? Is this a full-on, 100% adventure that precludes multi-tasking? Are we working to bring our focus back to the here-now whenever it tangents? If you were to rate how you felt before a “nature immersion” from -5 (yuck) through 0 (neutral) to +5 (yahoo), then reassessed how you felt at the end, would your overall sense of well-being have made an upward shift? This is what it’s about – (re)inflating our balloon (Self!) with energy by connecting deeply with the natural world, so that we can rejoin the social world and have something to give to others. In this “nature chamber” I often find solutions to problems, creative ideas, and a-ha moments that come unbidden – an unexpected bonus for stepping away from day-to-day life in order to more fully step back into life at a later time; a time-out that precedes a time-in; an off-the-grid moment to put grid life in perspective.
Photos - Leslie Gernon "Hiker at Yates Mill County Park, Raleigh, NC;" Creative Commons (Miles Evenson “Over Inflated Balloon”)