EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Paul discusses how spending time in nature — and especially spending time meditating in nature — can combat anxiety, dread, and fear.
THE CRITICS EXPLODE! “Paul Sunstone knows no more about nature than Rupert Snider, the Denver tourist, once knew about the ravenous hunger of bears fresh out of hibernation. To the horror of his tour group, Snider tried to pet a black bear in the spring of ’98. The last he saw of his arm up to the elbow was its being carried off in the mouth of a mamma bear on her way back to share it with her cubs. To the horror of his readers, Paul Sunstone has written yet another one of is eternally ignorant nature posts. The world would be a better place if a bear could be persuaded to make off with both his typing fingers.” — Gus “Gunning Gus” Johnson, The Blog Critic’s Column, “Leper’s Gulch Gazette”, Leper’s Gulch, Colorado, USA.
(About a 3 minute read)
Over two decades ago, I had the good luck to be able to spend hours each day meditating in nature. For several months, I was able to get away each day to sit beside my favorite lake for hours both before and after work.
Of course, I would do other things now and then as well. I’d spend a whole Saturday traveling country roads in my car without any predetermined destination. Or I would wake up at two in the morning, head over to a twenty four hour gas station and food stop, and eat something while talking now and then with my favorite clerk. But for the most part, when I wasn’t working, I was sitting in meditation by the lake.
No TV. No radio. No newspapers. No magazines. Not even a cassette player for music. The only media I indulged in were the three volumes of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s Commentaries on Living.
I’d read one of his short chapters in the morning, then spend the rest of my free time that day either reflecting on it, or — more likely — meditating in nature. Most of Jiddu’s chapters began with something he himself had observed while meditating in nature. The flight of a hawk. The changing afternoon shadows.
After a couple of weeks, I became attuned to how time can be measured — not in seconds, minutes, and hours — but in the slowly changing sky at dawn, the gathering of crows to roost in a pine tree, the sprouting and growth of wildflowers. I felt no need for music, I could hear a symphony in a sunset.
There came a day when the flight of single midge struck me as dramatic and fascinating.
One night I heard something splashing beyond the trees along the shore to my right. For a moment — and only for a moment — I was frightened. Then I returned to the calm I had been feeling for months. Whatever it was, let it come if would come. I was alert. I could deal with whatever chose to come.
After just a few weeks meditating in nature, I could not feel fear more than enough to bring me alert, and I could not feel anxiety at all.
I could deal with anything, calmly deal with anything.
Over two decades ago, I had the good look to be able to spend hours meditating in nature. During those months, I left my abusive second wife and became homeless. I went out of business, and became unemployed. And I witnessed one of the most poignant tragedies I’ve ever been witness to, the murder of my beloved employee by her possessive boyfriend.
Through-out it all, through everything thrown at me, I remained calm. I stood through the greatest tornado in my life, and I came out standing.
This post was inspired by a post on Dr. Andrea Dinardo’s blog called, The Cure for the Anxious Mind.