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Forest Bathing

It goes both ways

Forest pathway
You sense the forest and the forest senses you

The Japanese call it Shinrin-Yoku. Meditators call it forest bathing. Aussies call it going bush. Whatever name it goes by, it means to spend time in nature without modern amenities.

It’s becoming popular because we’re so overwhelmed with the pressure of daily life that we’re almost imploding. We’re collapsing inward, like dying stars, and sucking anyone in our vicinity into the dark vortex of our demise.

If you’re feeling like this, Shinrin- Yoku, forest bathing or going bush will help.

Put on comfortable clothes and shoes. Leave your camera, phone and earbuds behind. Head for the nearest patch of nature, get out of the car, shut the door quietly, don’t talk and don’t think.

Just move your body.

Breathe deeply as you walk slowly through the landscape. Smell damp earth and green growth. Look up at the trees. Feel the cool, slightly moist air on your skin. Listen to the rustling leaves and bird calls. Take off your shoes, roll up your jeans and drape yourself over a fallen log or sit awhile and lean against an old tree. Absorb the acceptance and harmony that flows through the ground and into your body.

Stay as long as you need to.

When you get back home things will be different. Why? Because you are different. You’ve been charged and changed by nature. Acceptance and harmony course through your veins. A sense of perspective has entered your soul.

Last time I went bush (I’m an Aussie) I came back and jotted down thoughts prompted by my outing:

· Things grow slowly.

· Disintegration nourishes new life.

· Worms don’t worry.

· Birds don’t wonder what they should sing. They open their beaks and out it comes.

These meaningful thoughts don’t arise when I’m walking down York Street or cruising Albany Highway. They arise when I spend time in nature.

But there’s another highly significant side to this process that is usually overlooked.

Nature learns from us too.

Eckhart Tolle puts it this way in Stillness Speaks:

You are not separate from nature. We are all part of the One Life that manifests itself in countless forms . . . When you recognize the sacredness, the beauty, the incredible stillness and dignity in which a flower or a tree exists, you add something to the flower or the tree. Through your recognition, your awareness, nature too comes to know itself. It comes to know its own beauty and sacredness through you!

Living with Mindfulness

When you go into a forest to bathe, remember that at the same time the forest is bathing in you.

What will you leave behind?

With love, Marlane

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