Recently, I have been experimenting with mind-calming exercises. Through books and television, meditation has been recommended many times but I never took it seriously. Quite frankly, I didn’t have time to close my eyes and relax, but then I made time.
The exercises were not long, two to five minutes, tops. On my first attempt at “expanding,” as my psychology book called it, I was moderately successful. I laid flat on the floor and envisioned good energy flowing into me with every breath in and bad energy - stress - flowing out with every exhalation. The mind/matter collaboration proved difficult and I had a hard time keeping hold of the energy image but when my two minutes were up, I did feel unusually peaceful, as if I had just awoken from a nice dream.
My most pleasant meditation experience took place outdoors as I listened to the sounds of nature and watched tree branches sway in the wind. So much was happening. The scene was a show of colors, textures, and light. I was reminded of everything that goes on in nature without us noticing. How small our troubles are compared with the world. I became the world for a moment, as I stuck my feet under a trickle of warm water. For two minutes, it became the focal point of my existence. Like a massage, it soothed away all worrisome thoughts. The warmth and pleasure left me swimming in calmness.
A steady rhythm is the only way to keep up a hiking exercise. While it does not bring instant satisfaction, a non-strenuous hike can still the mind and bring about awareness of the physical world. It was hard not to think as I walked. The key was in getting into the mechanical process of walking, one step after another. In my experience, I began to feel the ground beneath my feet, and it was a pleasurable sensation.
Meditation gave me unexpected perspective. I realized that we get so caught up in our daily lives that we miss out on moments as they happen. Take a few minutes out of your day to observe the world around you. It may instill temporary peace of mind, and a greater appreciation for nature.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.