Buddha Weekly: Buddhist Practices, Mindfulness, Meditation

Reconnecting with nature to reboot our “spiritual self” activates a feeling of self-transcendence

Today’s modern world demands that we race along, doing things too quickly without taking into consideration the world around us. To make matters worse, wars, conflicts, pollution and other global concerns are all contributing to the imbalance of our environment and it often seems that we’re moving further away from our emotional selves.


“Forest bathing” is a scientifically proven way of improving health — popularized in Japan.



Unlocking Your Spiritual Self with Nature

by Guest Contributor Sally Keys

One of the ways we can restore the balance is through the practice of Buddhism which teaches us to look at our spiritual development and uncover the path to true happiness.

Finding our spirituality

Spirituality is a broad concept that many scientists have tried to define through brain activity and its effects through meditation. It can mean different things for people but essentially we think about it as in terms of uncovering the meaning of life which can encompass a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves.


Grab a backpack and head off to a forest, a beach or a mountain by yourself (or with some like-minded mindfully-tuned Buddhist friends.) Mindfully reconnecting with nature can help us understand Oneness and Emptiness. Mindful practice in nature can help us reconnect to our spiritual sense of self-transcendence.


Anxieties in the modern world, particularly distractions from technology, have allowed negative energies to enter our lives which we need to let go of in order to feel a reconnection with the world again. Our ancestors were not faced with the same conflicts but instead had a deep connection with the universe formed through a relationship with nature. It is these traditional life practices which we have lost and need to recoup.

One of the first steps we can take is to rekindle a bond with our environment and look to making a positive impact in the world.

The mindful Buddhist practice of direct experience through nature, we’ll gain greater positivity and peace between us and others around us. Ancient cultures have always honoured nature’s rivers, mountains, trees, flower, sun, moon and natural elements but the ongoing destruction of the environment has meant that this has been damaged. By re-awakening our spiritual side, we can start to repair the damage to the natural world.

One of the easiest ways to activate a sense of “self-transcendence‘ is to reconnect with nature, one-on-one, in a mindful way. Photo credit: Peter John Maridable.

How we can connect with nature

First, we need to really listen to nature before we can communicate with her. Meditation will help although it may be difficult at first. With the effort of real commitment, and with the Buddhist qualities of qualities of awareness, wisdom and kindness. you’ll be a step in the right direction. We can do this by spending time alone in nature. Whether it be up in a mountain or in your local park, part of the reconnection involves finding a quiet time and place in your mind so you can focus on the nature that surrounds you.

The modern, western world might not always teach us to relax and observe, but by allowing ourselves to see and hear our surroundings, we’ll begin the process of unlocking our spiritual self.




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