Sometimes its really hard for me to really live in the present moment. I can get so caught up in planning for the future and analyzing the past that being “in the now” doesn’t always come easily. After reading The Power of Now I catch myself more often, but it still isn’t an automatic reflex. Today, though – I got a true glimpse of it.
This weekend I’m at my parents house in Boxford, MA. Being here gives me a dose of silence and serenity – mainly because I’m surrounded by nature (something that isn’t as easily at my fingertips living in NYC). I went for a run this morning and it was one of the most beautiful experiences. I had the realization that being in nature is one of the most powerful ways to bring your attention and presence into the NOW.
Already in a serene state from the vast quietude that surrounded me as I ran, I decided to kick it up a notch. I threw on some Enya and continued to jog down the forest-lined road. I found myself immersed in my surroundings, not a single thought in my head except admiration for the colorful beauty around me. The light glimmering on the pond, the trees moving in the breeze, the bright blue sky dotted with round patches of clouds. I was hyper-aware of it all – the acorns crunching under my feet, the leaves floating to the ground in front of me, the light from the sun that danced upon each one as it fell. Everything seemed so vibrant, so full of life. It was as if I could feel the energy of each living thing around me, and I felt completely connected to that energy. I was truly in the present moment, knowing that everything is connected. I felt completely still, completely at ease, depsite the fact that I was physically running.
A couple of ways you can easily connect with the present moment through nature:
- Pay attention to the colors around you. Acknowledge the crisp greens, the deep reds, the golden yellows. Silently recognize each color in your mind.
- Notice when a tree or blade of grass is moving or blowing in the breeze. Watch it move.
- Watch the sun on the leaves. Notice how the sun’s patterns and shadows change shape as the leaves move.
- Listen. Listen to birds chirping and wind blowing through the leaves. Listen to the faint sound of a squirrel making its way through the forest. Listen to the leaves and acorns crunching under your own shoes. If you’re at the beach, listen to the sound of the waves crashing on the sand. Focus your complete attention on the sounds.
- Watch how sun reflects on water. This is my favorite. The light seems to dance on the top of the water like shimmering crystals.
- Notice the stillness of a plant, a tree, a flower, a rock. Eckhart Tolle says, “The moment you become aware of a plant’s emanation of stillness and peace, that plant becomes your teacher.”
While I haven’t perfected the art of living in the now at all times, I can say with absolute certainty that nature has a spiritual, calming energy – and if you can focus your attention on the sights, sounds and smells of nature, you’ll be transported into a state of intense presence and peace.