I have been a forest bather all of my life really. Even as a child I took every opportunity to spend time in the woods and fields around my home. Now I have come to an even deeper relationship with the wild areas.
I had a realization over the weekend as I stood in the pouring rain under a spreading spruce tree that seemed to enfold me in its sylvan embrace. These places are completely non-dual. The primordial consciousness of the forest experiences neither graspings nor aversions.
Forest Bathing (Shinrin-yoku) is like soaking in rigpa.
Have you been following the book club reading of “A Walk in the Wood” with Joe and Nancy Parent? The book was written in response to a Forest-Bathing episode on NPR, heard by a Disney executive, who commissioned a book for children about this practice, utilizing Winnie the Pooh, Disney’s most visible woodland character. The Parents’ book includes stories, poems and activities for children and parents—directly supporting mindfulness and Shinrin-yoku!
That sounds just right, Barry, although I must admit that I have not followed that reading.
If you view the week 1 recording you’ll get a more detailed background and also quite a story. It even gets better and better, week after week, as he goes through the logic and history of their editorial decisions, as well as dramatically narrating the book while elaborating to parents about how to work with their children (in separate sections targeted for them).
Joseph has been a student of Dharma for over 50 years, a meditation teacher too, and has done a three year retreat way back when. As a former educator, I appreciate how he is integrating one genre with another and doesn’t speak down to children, as many folks who write these books tend to do.
Sounds lovely! and so did feel Longchenpa…in song of the enchanting wildwoods.
"I prostrate to my guru and the Three Jewels!
Her form, a peaceful grove of fresh blossoms,
Pleasingly dappled with the soothing moonlight of compassion —
The sole restful tonic for those long exhausted —
I honor the miraculous wildwoods,
Which I see now as if for the first time.
Since I am broken-hearted here in the city of existence,
My mind sends these tidings its own way —
A story about resorting to the peaceful forest
For someone who will apply their heart to the Dharma path.
I see the truth that this life won’t last and is swiftly heading toward ruin,
That even this body which I’ve so lavishly cared for will be lost,
And I’ll have to head off alone to parts unknown.
So now, I’m off to the wildwoods."
This is perfect. I have it on here in my office now as I work.
It is definitely the non-dual nature of these wild environs that makes them such a balm to the soul.
Yes it’s great isn’t it, balm for those of us with a renuciate wildwood bend. Glad it brightens up your office space.
Just listened and read at the same time. Perfect as a contemplation.
AMEN, I have been drawn to nature since as early as I can remember, and the older I get, the more I realize just how powerful being in its presence can be
Very well said. I remember last summer deciding to meditate with my eyes open at the base of a pool of a dried up waterfall. As the minutes ticked by, I was astonished at the more and more details that revealed themsleds, almost like looking at a fractal and zooming in, finding deeper and deeper complexity.
I cant speak for all religions, but most of the ones I have read about have nature as being sacred or divine. Try and count how many religions since the dawn of time saw the Sun and moon, as being Gods, spirits, etc. It will make your head spin!
Ekhart Tolle has said that it is impossible to see where life or death begins or ends in the forest, they are so deeply interconnected.
Not sure if that speaks to its nondual nature, but I really liked that quote.