There is nothing more calming and therapeut
ic for me than taking a long walk in the woods. Whenever I am feeling down, confused, frustrated or sad I put on a pair of old sneakers and go foraging in a place of trees, sky and quiet for several hours.
Here are six reasons why hiking in the woods is a great thing to do, along with a few practical recommendations for getting the most out of the experience:
1. Notice How Everything is Perfect in Nature
As you become ensconced in the beauty of the woods, start noticing how there is no complaining. Everything is the way it is, and there is 100% acceptance between all things. And it’s a beautiful thing to realize.
In my walk this morning, I came upon a massive rock that was somehow lodged underneath a huge tree. When this first happened, it must have disrupted the natural energy flow of the tree. But there was no animosity, and the tree continued to grow around and above the rock.
The tree flourishes and beautiful moss now surrounds the rock. I sat there for a long time looking at this incredible display. What can we learn from this?
2. Notice How You Get Through It, No Matter What!
When walking in the woods, you will no doubt encounter rough areas where you have to be a little more careful. Sometimes you may even lose your footing and fall. But you always seem to make it through, don’t you?
No matter how confused you are where your next step is going to come from, you consistently find a way and keep moving forward. Such is the way of life, but we rarely see it that way.
Learn from the microcosm of your hike that life always ends up OK—it ends up exactly the way it should be.
3. Go Wherever Your Feet Take You
One of the things I love to do is to let my body guide the direction. Unless I am in real danger of getting lost, I allow my feet to just follow the path they desire without thinking “is this right” or “maybe I should go this way”.
This is a wonderfully freeing way to go for a walk, one that re-establishes connection with that little thing inside of you called intuition. Your body is smarter than your mind gives it credit for…so give the chatterbox a break for a few hours and let the intelligence of your inner you lead the way.
4. Follow The Path, OR Don’t Follow The Path
When you follow your feet, sometimes it leads off the pre-existing path. This is OK, and if your body is pulling you in that direction I encourage you to go for it (unless, of course, it is potentially unsafe)! Think about your life—isn’t it sometimes beneficial for you to create a new pathway for greater fulfillment and success to abound?
Other times it is certainly better to stay on the path. The important lesson to learn is how to listen within, and cultivate powerful instincts about things. A walk in the woods can help you do this…
5. Are You a Leader or a Follower?
If you walk with someone, notice the difference
between leading the way and following behind. Which do you like better? Sometimes I love leading the way because then I get to choose the direction and see new phenomena first. Other times I enjoy being behind someone and letting them make all the decisions.
Notice how your preferences constantly change, as they do in your every day life. Realize that you are neither a leader nor a follower, but a little bit of both depending on the situation.
6. Pay Attention To Your Internal Body
After walking in silence for some time, I enjoy turning my attention inward and feeling my breath, heartbeat and feet as they hit the ground. This can be a transcending experience and often leads to a moment of clarity for me.
Why? Because when the peacefulness of nature enters the bodily domain a sudden flash of awareness strikes that reminds me that we are not separate, lonely entities roaming the planet for a short and meaningless time.
On the contrary, I get the sense of ultimate connectedness with all things—with nature, with myself, and with my inner purpose.
Now that’s what I call a nice walk in the park…
Picture above by Photocello2006
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