“The greatest delight that the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of the relationship between human beings and the natural world. I am not alone and unacknowledged.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s no small wonder that intentionally placing ourselves in the world of Nature can be a cure for loneliness. For thousands of years our human species has been in intimate contact with all the living beings of our natural environment. As hunter-gatherers for much of our time here, we were just as much a part of Nature’s workings and cycles as everything living around us. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning science professor Edward Wilson uses the term ‘biophilia’ to refer to our innate emotional affiliation to other life-forms on a genetic level.
Loneliness seems to be an inescapable part of the human condition, especially in this often-disconnected culture. Reconnection to nature offers relief. Here are simple walking meditation instructions to help heal your loneliness with nature.
WALKING MEDITATION INSTRUCTIONS
1. Begin walking outdoors. As you walk, take a few deep breaths. Notice and take in all the life surrounding you – see each being, each plant, flower, tree, insect, animal, bird, and human. Feel how everything contains the magic of life, including yourself. Listen deeply to the sounds of life on the ground, in the trees, in the air. Smell, taste, and explore the sensation of sharing this life with all the beings around you and with all the beings on this marvelous Earth.
2. After you have taken in this world, tell yourself that you are not alone. Everything, including you, is connected in the web of life energy that surrounds us every moment of our lives. Walk with this understanding inside your heart.