Connect with nature
Difficulty level – 1 (easy)
Time commitment – 10 minutes everyday – ideal. Else every alternate day.
Chances are that you already practice this exercise. If yes, then you can try to add a bit more to it. If no, well, it’s a good time to start!
The exercise involves connecting with nature. Due to the current mobility restrictions, I have listed out a few options – choose what suits you best. If you know of any other way to make the connection, feel free to do so. The objective of the exercise is to spend 10 minutes connecting with nature, in any way that you think works for you.
A few things to note:
- You have to spend the full 10 minutes doing the exercise. No electronic distractions (notifications on mute), and try to also not have any unwanted thoughts in your mind. The key is to connect – not simply go through the motions.
- You ideally do this the same time everyday (or every alternate day, if you choose to). But this is optional.
- You can extend this to 15 minutes as well, but not more. The reason being that there are many other exercises that require time during the 21-day sādhanā – and you have to experience them all.
How you do it
Here are some ways. You can choose any one, or ideally, a combination of two or three of them.
Take care of a plant – If you have a terrace/balcony – then outdoor. Else indoor. Don’t go for a big or a high-maintenance plant, even some bamboo shoots in a small pot will suffice. First close your eyes, take in three deep breaths, and feel yourself calming down. Then open your eyes, and observe the plant.
Yes, a lot of us may have plants at home, but may have not observed them – just watered them and moved on. You have to try to observe…
– the leaves on the stem, the new buds at the ends – some opened, some in the process of opening, the colours, the shapes – observe each aspect of it’s being, as you water it. You do have a deep connection – after all, part of the life-giving oxygen that you inhale is from this plant:)
Feed birds or ants – Keep a small pot of water outside (if you have a balcony accessible to birds). Some small pieces of cucumber, or tomato, or a juicy fruit (non-citrus) as well. If you have a large terrace, then on one corner of the terrace, keep some cooked rice for ants to take away. Observe while the birds drink the water (from a distance) and while the ants organise themselves and carry away the (huge) grains of rice. Over time, you will start to understand when they come in for water and food…
Take a walk in a park – If you have ready access to a park, or to a walkway with trees and plants, take a walk. Leaving all your technology behind, imbibe the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and feel of the trees, the earth, the flowers, the fallen leaves…if possible, walk barefoot on a patch of grass for a while too. Touch the plants and flowers (do not pick), and the barks of the trees you pass by. Observe.
Mother Nature – We are born from nature, we live by nature, and when we are gone, we become part of nature again.
It is sad that we have to practice something that is inherently natural in us. For thousands of years, we have lived in close conjunction with nature, being a part of it, like the plants and other living beings that inhabit the planet. Before the 1800s, there were no clocks to keep time – the movement of the sun across the sky acted as a guide.
How many of us today even know which direction is east or west, unless we have a compass?
I have observed many people who go jogging, or for walks. Headphones in place, lost in thoughts, thinking of what transpired during the day, or what lies ahead, and missing the gifts of the present. The sounds of birds chirping, the feel of the leaves as you move your hand through the bushes, the rough bark of a tree that says stories of the many years it has existed, the smell of the wet earth as the sprinklers turn on…you don’t need to go to a retreat to find peace – it is everywhere should you choose to see it.
Ever since I started feeding the birds, and keeping water for them, I observed so many subtle things that I would have otherwise missed.
The way they come to drink in pairs, or more, how they interact with each other, what they say when they fly away, we even have names for them now – Yellow Bum (the aggressive one), Changu-Mangu (always in pairs), Red Bum (who’s legs are always in semi split, like Ajay Devgn)…at these times, I tend to forget everything else, no worries, no tensions, just a sense of bliss. All this stress relief at the cost of a bowl of tap water!
ॐ द्यौः शान्तिरन्तरिक्षं शान्तिः
पृथिवी शान्तिरापः शान्तिरोषधयः शान्तिः ।
वनस्पतयः शान्तिर्विश्वेदेवाः शान्तिर्ब्रह्म शान्तिः
सर्वं शान्तिः शान्तिरेव शान्तिः सा मा शान्तिरेधि ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om Dyauh Shaantir-Antarikssam Shaantih
Prthivii Shaantir-Aapah Shaantir-Ossadhayah Shaantih |
Vanaspatayah Shaantir-Vishve-Devaah Shaantir-Brahma Shaantih
Sarvam Shaantih Shaantireva Shaantih Saa Maa Shaantir-Edhi |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||
Aum. May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere.
May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees and creepers.
May peace flow over the whole universe.
May peace be in the Whole Universe.
And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone.
Aum peace, peace and peace to us and all beings!