For this post I want to look at the 8 key practices for Pantheists, pagans and others interested in Nature Spirituality that will help us connect better with the world around us.
1) Sense Meditation – This is meditating outside using all of our senses – what do we see, what do we hear, what do we feel, what do we smell, what do we taste? Focusing on being fully present and aware in the moment. Relax and focus on your breath. Look around you – both in the distance and close up. Take in the whole scene, then focus on specific aspects in detail. Pick up and touch the things around you. Feel the ground underneath you. Feel the wind on your face. Feel each part of your body. Smell the flowers. Smell the wind. Taste the rain. Listen to the birds, the wind in the trees, the children playing, the cars driving, the animals hunting. Meditate on the world around us.
2) The Sit Spot – This is the number one practice of nature connection. Go out to a place in nature, maybe your garden, maybe a park or woodland. Go to that same place every day or every week for a year. sit, listen and observe. What is happening? What is changing? What animals are around and what are they doing? What plants are around at each point and what are they doing? What is the weather like?
3) Wandering – wander in nature, go for a walk, have no agenda, be open to see and hear and feel whatever happens. Explore.
4) Journaling – write down what you see when out in nature, draw pictures of the plants and animals around you. record the changes in the weather, the seasons and the times of day. Record what you feel.
5) Foraging (maybe Bushcraft in general). Connecting with our local place, learning how to live off the land, knowing what plants grow around us and learning what is edible or medicinal and in what ways. Being able to identify the spirits of nature. Buy as wild food handbook and look at whats available now – then go out to the hedgerows, fields and forests and find them. Maybe collect some (responsibly) and make a meal.
6) Thanksgiving – Giving thanks before every meal, acknowledging that what we are eating is a gift of nature. Being grateful. Being mindful.
7) Eating Seasonably and locally – Learning what grows in your area in each season, basing your meals around those things, living in touch with nature as our ancestors did, helping the environment, trying new things. Seasonal local eating connects us to the changes in the seasons in a very practical way.
8) Gardening/ growing your own food – When we grow our own food, when we spend time outside getting our hands dirty in the mud, we connect with the earth in a profound way. We learn the ways of nature at a deep level, we realise our utter dependence upon the Earth Mother.
These are the eight practices I believe are key to connecting with the world around us. What do you think? Are there other practices that can help too?