Like many people, I have often found a calmness and tranquility in nature, which has its own unique characteristics. I have also found that the beauty of nature can be greatly increased when I make efforts to be aware.
I stumbled upon the peacefulness that can be found in nature when I used to spend time alone walking through fields near to my home town. Later, I worked in a rural area, which was surrounded by fields and woods. The area was served by public transport and I could have taken a bus home each day, but instead chose to walk. The journey took just under an hour on foot, but I looked forward to the opportunity to explore the nearby fields and to regain some peacefulness and mental clarity after a busy day.
When I Discovered Belsebuub’s Techniques
However, although I definitely found those walks beneficial, an element was missing, which was to practice awareness. At the time, I hadn’t heard of this fairly simple technique, which I later learned about through studying other spiritual philosophies, such as Buddhism and the mindfulness approach. However, I started to explore the technique in much more depth once I came across Belsebuub’s work.
Belsebuub writes about the importance of maintaining awareness as a starting point from which to develop self-knowledge. So I practiced an exercise he gave, which was to try and be aware of the world around me through my five senses, while at the same time paying attention to the various inner states, thoughts and emotions, which were bubbling within me beneath the surface.
Below is a video where Belsebuub explains the technique to be aware and observe within:
Developing Awareness Further
I made efforts to practice awareness while spending time in nature, as Belsebuub suggests. I found that my perception and enjoyment of nature increased further by building and maintaining an inner clarity, as it allowed me to be more in harmony with my environment, rather than out of tune with it.
Around this time, I met friends with similar interests and enjoyed spending time walking with them in nature. However, we didn’t approach our walks as a group of ramblers would, chatting as we went along, as although walking in nature can be beneficial in itself, we felt that our experience of it could be enhanced by making efforts to maintain clarity within ourselves. I found that these awareness walks in nature provided me with a boost, which came as a contrast and relief from the busyness of everyday life and the hubbub of the surrounding towns and cities.
I later noticed this contrast very strongly when I stayed briefly in an old house overlooking the sea, which provided a welcome respite from the city, where I lived normally. I spent hours watching the sun passing from east to west, observing the changing landscapes it created and grounding myself in awareness. I had been having some difficulties in my personal life prior to my stay, and the time I spent practicing awareness in nature gave me a welcome opportunity to “recharge my batteries” and gain a spiritual boost.
I have felt the restorative effect of practicing awareness in nature on many other occasions, and often feel a sense of stillness and peacefulness as soon as I enter an area of natural beauty.
Tuning into the Environment
I attended a retreat in a rural area and although I was keen to greet my friends there, I couldn’t help but be moved by the tranquility of the surrounding area. So rather than going straight into the building, I sat outside for some time with my bags, soaking up the beauty of the environment, while at the same time trying to maintain my awareness of it, using Belsebuub’s technique and remained as clear I could inside myself.
This actually provided me with a much better start to the retreat than if I had gone inside with the hurried feeling, which I had inadvertently let build up while traveling to the area by bus. Consequently, I was then much more in tune with the atmosphere inside the retreat building when I eventually went in and greeted my friends.
Noticing Gentle Passers-By
I later had an experience with a group of friends, which allowed me to see first-hand the effect of developing a harmonious inner state upon the surrounding environment. We were sitting in a clearing in a wooded area, and began to sing some mantras, which we also learned from Belsebuub’s writing. I felt a harmony within the environment and a sense of peacefulness inside myself.
I let my eyes close slightly while singing the mantra, but when I opened them, became aware of a group of deer, which were gently sauntering past us. We maintained our peaceful state and watched the deer as they casually wandered off further into the woods.
I had previously watched wild animals from afar, but this was the first time they didn’t react to my presence. Prior to this occasion, whenever I saw deer in the fields around the same wooded area, they would run as fast as they could and jump over fences quickly to find safety. So I actually felt quite privileged to be able to watch them at such close range, without them dashing to safety as soon as they saw me.
Through this simple encounter, I understood further how beneficial the practice of awareness is in not only enhancing my own perception of nature, but also in maintaining the harmony of the environment around me.