Immerse Yourself in Nature
This week’s post is written by Bob Linscott, MTS, an MBSR teacher at CFM.
One of my favorite poets is the Japanese Haiku Master Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). His work always holds such a resonance with me because of his invitation to get off our cushions and truly experience the natural world. His poetry captures the essence of the present moment in nature so perfectly.
In his book The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Basho writes about his experience in nature:
“Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine or the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there.”
Every Saturday morning, I take my dog and meet a dear friend in the Blue Hills in Milton Massachusetts. There are many joys in this weekly pastime; the joy of catching up with a friend, the joy of watching a happy dog running in the woods and the joy of leaving behind the dramas of daily life and immersing ourselves in nature.
There is as much quiet and listening during these hikes as there is conversation. Our walks are often a festival for the senses, and because Basho provides me with the road map to let go and listen, I experience things that others may miss.
Earlier this winter we were hiking up the trail during one of the first snowfalls of the season and I looked down to see the beautiful tiny flakes on the ground. What a gift to see those intricate and delicate patterns. They were so tiny, as you can see in the photo above. You can gage the scale by the single pine needle laying across the ground. My friend didn’t see me stop and when he came back to find me crouching on the ground he was amazed that I had even noticed these.
About a month ago, as we walked by a frozen pond on the way to the trailhead, I heard a faint sound. We stopped talking and just listened. It was the ice expanding in the warm air. It was a soft beautiful sound, almost like a whale’s song. We stood and listened in silence for several minutes soaking in this rare experience. When we passed by the lake an hour later it was silent again.
This past weekend the woods were filled with the strong smell of cut wood from the dozens of trees that had fallen during two back to back Nor’easters. The smell brought some sadness with the loss of these beautiful trees.
All of this beauty comes from the gift of present mindfulness and the appreciation of nature and of course the gentle reminder from our poet friend Basho who beckons us to step out and be one with the world around us. Give it a try, you will be amazed at the glimmerings you shall find!