Outdoor meditation can be a wonderful practice, no matter the weather. While I recommend you dress accordingly as the weather cools down, accepting and fully experiencing nature throughout the year gives your meditation practice new depths of awareness and connection to the earth. The following are four different practices that will guide your connection with nature through your senses.
Take a moment to prepare and center yourself for meditation before doing one of the following. Come into the position you will be meditating in, take a few deep breaths to allow yourself to settle into the moment and then continue on to one of the below.
Notice sensation Notice your skin. What sensations are present? Do you feel the wind, the sun, heat or coolness? Are you perhaps developing goosebumps or a layer of sweat? Allow that awareness to sink a layer deeper into your body. How do your muscles feel? How are they responding to the outside temperature? Notice if they clench at all to avoid sensation. If so, consciously relax them. What about bringing your focus into the very core of your being, how does it feel there? Now, allow your focus to soften, and observe all three layers. Step back and watch the sensations that develop and shift in your body.
Open Your Eyes Have you tried meditating with your eyes open? While meditation is often taught with eyes closed, allowing them to stay open can be very grounding. Open-eye meditation can be very helpful for those who find themselves spacey or forgetful after meditating. If you are sitting down allow your gaze to come down to the earth and focus on the grass, leaves, dirt or snow. This meditation is great lying down, focusing the gaze on trees blowing in the wind and clouds passing overhead. Notice and appreciate the focus of your gaze and watch how it may move or change in front of you.
Use your nose Breathe deeply through your nose. What are you smelling? Notice all the different scents around you without focusing on just one. Is there freshly cut grass? Wet leaves? Dogs or other animals? Maybe yourself? Is someone cooking? Maybe you just smell fresh air? Allow whatever is in the air to come to you, notice it and then exhale it out. Each time you inhale, notice with fresh curiosity what it is you are smelling.
Listen in What sounds are surrounding you? Listen passively without searching to hear something. Simply keep your attention on your sense of hearing and notice what comes. Perhaps the wind is blowing and the leaves are rustling. Maybe there are cars nearby or kids playing. Simply notice without becoming attached to and following one sound. For example, if people are talking, rather than listening in on their conversation can you only be aware of the sounds of their voices as a part of a greater cacophony of sounds surrounding you?