I’ve just returned from a two-week permaculture design course taught by Aranya and Peter Cow, and much of the course was focused on the observation of and appreciation for nature. They introduced an idea to me: finding one spot somewhere in nature to just sit in and observe through the seasons.
When I was around 8 years old, I sneaked outside at 6 in the morning into our one-acre back yard. I’m not really sure what compelled me to do so, but I remember being exhilarated at being alone in the woods with the birds singing and the sun rising. I felt so alone and free just sitting there in the grass. It was quite possibly one of the first moments of true contemplation of my own existence; of wondering at nature instead of just playing in it.
When you find a sit spot, try to observe nature with all senses: sight/smell/sound/touch/taste. They taught me something called “owls eyes”, which is basically blurring your vision, therefore enabling you to see things peripherally. Interestingly, this also immediately changes your brain waves from beta to alpha. I remember being labeled a space cadet by a school mate because I was always staring off into space, but now I realize that I was just doing something fantastic. I was relaxing my vision and therefore relaxing my entire being. I also noticed that I am not relaxed at work because I’m constantly focusing on something, mainly my computer screen (with furrowed eyebrows that make me look constantly angry).
Anyway, try these tricks when finding your sit spot:
- Owls eyes – as mentioned
- Fox walk – walk on the front part of your foot, not your heel. This will reduce the risk of freaking out birds and the rest of nature as you enter their area.
- Deers ears – cup your hands behind/in front of your ears to get an instant improvement on hearing things in front (or behind) you
- Dog’s nose – just close your eyes and sniff the air, leaves, soil, etc. Since our sight is the main faculty we use in modern society, closing your eyes can help you focus on your other senses.
Enjoy wonderful nature!