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How I Used Awareness to Enhance My Perception of the Beauty of Nature

Experience Submitted by Michael

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, celebrating an event in the cycle of the earth’s passage around the sun 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.

Photo by Jax on Unsplash

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.

Leave a reply

26 comments
  • Thanks for the article and for posting the video of Belsebuub describing the practice of awareness and self observation. Both are very helpful reminders on how to do practice awareness and self-observation in day-to-day situations.

    • Thanks for your comment Alex. Yes, Belsebuub’s guidance in his work on awareness is very useful. It’s such a simple practice, yet it can take a lot of practice to apply it consistently in our daily lives. If we can work at it though, it can benefit us a lot.

  • I love the way you simplify the whole process and it’s effects by talking from experience Michael.

    What a great way to illustrate what you’ve learnt! Thanks for sharing, it’s really helpful.

  • Also I wanted to say that the message in this article on the reality and importance of nourishing the consciousness, feeding it with being aware in nature etc. feels very relevant for me currently.

    Wishing you all the nourishment given by being aware in nature, to the consciousness and body, Michael. Hopefully we can all take in the life giving air and energy of spring!

    • Yes, when I’m walking outside it feels like I’m drinking in beauty and also light. It really does feel like nourishment.

      • Yes, I agree Karim and Anne Linn, being in nature is a much needed nourishment for the consiousness – like a balm for the soul.

      • I feel the same Anne Linn.

        Sometimes it takes some inner effort to reach the point where I open myself up to receive it. And sometimes simply going into nature is not enough and I need to ‘find it’ as well. I might not feel it through a nice horizon view, but sometimes it’s a gentle aroma which flies in and carries you away. Or sometimes it’s just a still tree that connects you to ‘it’.

        I was able to go for a walk recently after work, when the sun had come out after the rain, in that case it was the beautiful views all around that made me feel peaceful.

        • Yes, I agree with that Karim – we need to find that peacefulness within ourselves. Although nature is certainly soothing to the essence, a sense of inner peace is not necessarily something that comes on tap, just by being in a nice environment.

          In fact, as Belsebuub mentions in one of his talks, some people can become quite indifferent to the beauty around them and trash it, which is sadly a fairly common site in some areas of natural beauty, or those which hold sacred sites, such as ancient standing stones.

          Practicing awareness in nature can be a powerful practice and bring a much greater sense of clarity, but the real goal must be to attain that ongoing sense of inner peace within, regardless of the environment we find ourselves in.

          • It would be such freedom to have peace no matter what happens around us. What a relief that would be.

          • Yes, I agree Anne Linn – what a relief it would be to have a constant sense of inner peace, totally free from the subconsious.

  • I find this article to be spot on. Clearly formulated to tell about the way of going about applying awareness while being in nature. Now it’s just for anyone reading this to open the door and try Belsebuub’s techniques of awareness themselves it for themselves :-)!

    Very good tip of applying that temperance btw, to take that pause before entering an anticipated situation.
    I had roughly the same thing happen last year. I went home to visit family and after the long trip was eagerly looking forward to see them. However when I arrived no one was there… apparently they hadn’t come back from a little day trip themselves yet. So I just walked in silence through the familiarly feeling house, up the stairs, observing my room, having a seat in silence. It was late afternoon and a ‘golden hour’ sun was shining in. They still hadn’t come back so then I went to my most cherished ‘friend’ of all— the local park. There where I went countless of times when first exploring awareness using the information Belsebuub had provided. It was magical and special to walk there again, and through the green village, the familiar sights now in golden sunlight.

    In that instance I feel I was helped a little to ‘come home’ first, and to have the anticipated (though now more calm) meeting with my family members later. It wasn’t my own idea. But to instate such a pause consciously seems very sensible and beneficial. Thanks for the tip!

    • That sounds nice Karim – to have a grounding in awareness as part of your homecoming. That golden sunlight you mentioned can really bring nature to life.

  • It was inspiring and uplifting to read about your experiences with awareness and nature Michael, so thanks for sharing.

    Having grown up surrounded by forests, lakes, and clean nature, I could feel myself actually suffering deep within when I moved to a big busy city because of the lack of wild nature around me. But as you also said, the sense of love and appreciation of it was much augmented and deepened through practicing awareness and the work on self-knowledge from Belsebuub’s writings.

    Then I’ve noticed that now living again in nature, how easy it is nevertheless to get lost in the inner world, staying inside the house caught up in various tasks, and then I go out, and it’s like wow, what a breath of fresh air not only externally but internally too. I walk a little and look back at our little house, and then at the vastness and beauty of the surroundings, and I wonder how could I forget and without realising it, kind of zoom in on my worries and problems, which can make them seem overwhelming when they’re actually not. All it takes is to take a little step outside and open my senses and allow the life-giving energies of nature to uplift me internally and touch my consciousness. That allows me to take a little step internally too to detach from problems and feel calm and stable again and have a more rational perspective.

    I really liked your description of how you would spend hours watching the course of the sun through the skies and the changing landscape. It’s very inspiring. It actually takes a lot for me to achieve a sense of being able to be still like that on the outside and the inside. Trying to clearly observe something in peace makes me realise how not still I am internally. But if I persist with it, the sense of stability and calm becomes more tangible, and I can see how true it is what Belsebuub says that it’s mathematical, the more you try the more it grows.

    • I can relate to what you said about feeling a sense of suffering when being away from nature Laura. Most of my earliest childhood memories are of a beautiful environment, surrounded by nature, but that way of life only lasted for a short time and was soon replaced by town and city living, and its various problems.

      It’s such a different experience to open the door, see nature and breathe in fresh air, rather than just seeing concrete and traffic and breathing its fumes. I agree that being in nature can be a powerful way to break free of some of the chains of the mind and gain a clearer perspective on things. Its vastness can be awe-inspiring.

      Yes, I was very happy to have the opportunity to enjoy the subtleties of nature over an extended period of time. I had been living in a very built up urban area and the break was very welcome. My opportunities to access nature have reduced considerably since then, so I was grateful to have that experience. I agree that finding that sense of stillness internally and externally can take practice though. I remember at the time thinking I should probably get on with some other things, but I decided to allow myself the opportunity to reconnect with nature and was so glad I did.

      • Yes, the thought/feeling of ‘I’ve spent enough time with this, time to get other things done’ is familiar. Sometimes though not always, because the feeling can be caused by different things, but sometimes if I persist anyway, like you did, it can even lead to a more profound experience, or is at least worth it.

        • Yes, that feeling of needing to be doing something else can interfere with appreciating the beauty of nature Laura. Of course, there are actually times when we do need to be somewhere else, like if we have an appointment to attend, or need to leave for work. But I think often the mind categorises activities such as relaxation or practicing awareness as unimportant, when they are in fact essential components of daily living, just as eating or sleeping are.

          Over the years, I’ve struggled to get away from the feeling of needing to cross everything off my “to do” list before I can take time for a spiritual practice. But I realised that my “to do” list never really ends, as there are always ongoing tasks that need to be completed. So it seems better to schedule spiritual practices into the day as important items, rather than just something to tag onto the end of the day, if I find the time.

    • I can also relate to the sense of suffering you felt Laura. I remember feeling very tired after having lived in the city for a few years. I grew up in a small town and was used to having nature at my doorstep. But in the city, I felt this deep weariness, as though my soul was tired. Going for walks in parks revived me, especially when I came across a body of water. I remember wanting to stop and listen the sound of a running stream for a long time. It almost made me want to cry. There was something very healing about it.

      Eventually, I moved back to nature, as close to it as I could. My favorite thing to do then was to go to the lake, or into the forest, and simply pray and observe the nature around me. It was easier to connect with the divine like that.

      But I also struggle with the sense of having to be somewhere else. That are things I have to do. I would love to practice being silent more, on the inside.

  • It is great to read how you managed to feel the harmony and peace when in nature while practising Belsebuub’s work, Michael. I also feel that those moments with the deer bring about special feelings of unity and harmony with the environment rather than having them running for their lives soon as they see us.

    • Yes, not sending the deer running for their lives is always a good result Tina! 🙂 Seriously though, I agree that those moments of oneness with nature do give a sense of being in harmony with the environment, rather than being out of tune with it.

      Being in nature is therapeutic and activities such as the Japanese practice of forest bathing have been proven to have a number of health benefits, such as reducing stress and boosting immune function.

      It’s a pity that as a society we have moved away from the simple enjoyment of nature towards the chaos of urban life, but it seems there is still a longing among many people to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and what it has to offer.

  • It’s very interesting that you were drawn to nature and using it as a means of grounding yourself after a busy day, even before you began to study awareness through different philosophies. I guess this goes to show how universal awareness is, and that the peace of the essence can be our guide to spiritual growth and change.

    The experience with the deer is very encouraging. I gather that when we’re in a state of awareness, we don’t exude the “danger danger” signal to the wildlife around us, and they react very differently. And maybe just maybe the deer have an appreciation for music/singing!

    This gives a cause to reflect on humanity’s (sad) relationship with the environment. I bet things would be so different if more of us were aware and more in tune with the natural world. Thanks for the article, Michael.

    • Yes, I felt very drawn to nature Mike, as it could sense a peacefulness that was inherent in it. I’ve also noticed how my inner state can influence the behaviour of other creatures, such as birds, depending on how peaceful I feel within myself.

      I think you’re right about the deer having an appreciation for music and singing. If my memory serves correctly, they also treated us to an impromptu four-part barbershop rendition of Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer before sauntering off. (That’s a little joke by the way, in case you wonder if you’ve slipped into the astral plane!) 🙂

      Joking aside though, experiences like that do show the extent to which we’re out of tune with nature and how different things could be if more people sought to develop the spiritual within.

      • LOL – good one!

        I also think the presence (or lack thereof) of nature has a big effect upon cities and people, even if some of the people are unaware of it. It seems that cities in close proximity to nature and parks have a lighter vibration and a more peaceful atmosphere than those that are entirely concrete jungles.

        • Yes, it’s a pity that the therapeutic value of nature is not used more effectively Mike. For example, I’ve visited or worked in a number of hospitals over the years and the some of the older places seemed to be much more therapeutic, due to their location and surroundings, while many modern buildings seem to go against some basic principles of creating a healing environment.

          I can recall a particular hospital that was previously used as an asylum, which seemed to fit the meaning of asylum as a place of sanctuary and safety. It was a large older-style building, with an oak door, surrounded by large grounds with trees and greenery. There was a conservatory area where people could sit and I think there was some of the patients’ artwork along the walls of the main corridor.

          Whereas, many modern hospitals are cold and impersonal environments, full of fluorescent lighting and with little access to nature. On top of that, some wards can be very noisy and the patients are served food that does little to promote healing, as it contains so many additives, pesticides etc.

          Aside from the therapeutic value of simply spending time within nature, it also offers an abundance of healing compounds within its plant life. So it’s a pity that within the system of modern medicine, the focus is generally upon prescribing patentable synthetic chemicals, which are often costly and involve a far greater range of side effects than correctly used plant-based medicines.

          As you mentioned before, things would be very different if we became more in tune with the natural world and what it has to offer.

  • Thank you for sharing these inspiring experiences Michael. I especially liked how you took your time after arriving to the retreat, to sit outside and soak in the beautiful environment in awareness. I can imagine how this centered and peaceful state you achieved must have also translated into your interactions with the fellow practitioners after you finally met them.

    And the deer experience sounded beautiful right too… How nice it would be if people were in awareness all the time, and we would live in harmony and peace with other creatures.

    • Yes, I was glad to take the time to ground myself in awareness Lucia. I didn’t really have to think about it, as I was already a little awe-struck by the peacefulness of the environment and immediately wanted to tune into it.

      I think others can probably relate to the “ahhh!” moment of being caught in the whirlwind of the mind and then suddenly being reminded of another way of being. Those moments of clarity can really provide a strong boost to the day. So although we may be busy in our daily lives and have responsibilities to fulfil, incorporating time into each day to feed the essence is also a kind of responsibility that we have, as it can lift our inner state and allow us to face the day in a more harmonious way.

      It would be wonderful to retain that harmony continuously, and those small glimpses give a feel of what’s possible if we’re able to break free of the subconscious and develop the essence within us. I’m very glad to have found the work by Belsebuub, as I feel these have given me the most effective tools to find this peace in a permanent way.

About Belsebuub

belsebuub mark pritchard
Image © Mark Pritchard
Mark Pritchard (Belsebuub) is an author and spiritual teacher that has been writing about and demonstrating practical techniques for self-discovery for more than twenty-five years. Read more

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