April 27, 2010

Nature Meditations Cure Nature Deficit Disorder



Being somewhere peaceful, quiet, and close to nature makes possible mindful moments as well as restorative ones. With more and more people living in urban conditions, exposure to nature becomes more difficult. Richard Louv has warned us of what he calls Nature Deficit Disorder.

An essay by Paul Cooper stated that, "We are now just beginning to understand that the growing disconnection between kids and the natural world is an increasingly serious social problem." He states that, "Children who spend more time inside than in the wilderness experience poorer health in adulthood", and concludes that, "We must let them roam free." But it is not just kids. We all need to roam free.

NDD is a serious problem afflicting modern people young and old who spend most of their time indoors, usually in front of glowing screens. Humans need to feel their connection with the biosphere, to remember their dependence on other living things and processes. We must be in nature to develop a deep compassion for all life. The result of exposure to nature is an strong urge to do the least amount of harm and protect the natural gifts that we rely on. Another benefit is a feeling of calm centeredness.

Visit a natural area near you whether it is a park in the city or somewhere farther removed. Try the process focus meditation below.




"As you visit a natural area, shift your perception so that you see the objects around you as processes.

See a tree, for example, as just one moment in the life-cycle of a process that changes continuously, every season, every day, from seed to tree to rotting log.


See a mayfly not as a thing, but as a point in a changing cycle that, at this moment, has wings and flutters before you.


If you see a boardwalk, realize that at one time it was not there, and someday it will be gone.


At sunrise, imaginatively perceive that the sun is at a particular moment in the immense life-cycle of a star--changing.


Think how many of our fundamental ways of understanding reality--such as scientific laws--have changed over the centuries, and are changing now.


Know how you yourself have changed.


Realize that nothing you see before you has ever occurred in quite the same way. And the moment that is happening now will never return.


Feel what a privilege, what a mystery, what a miracle it is, to be here, on this earth, under these slowly-changing stars, with these dear people--now.

Breathe."

Feel your nature deficit disorder improving - this is the antidote. You may feel an intense urge to protect the earth. You may feel peaceful and content. This is completely natural. Do not be afraid.

Repeat often.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful!! Love the meditation. I write poems about nature for children and just began a blog.
    Http://www.natureasteacher.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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