Earth Practice: Re-Integrating

This is a perfect 5-minute practice for a break at work, for awakening to the beginning of your day or your weekend or as a precursor to meditation. Sit or stand comfortably outdoors where non-human elements are present: a park, backyard, garden, courtyard, or undeveloped space. It does not have to be a wilderness area, simply a place where you recognize the presence of the natural world. Spend the next five minutes in silence noticing what is around you and your place in it using these prompts:

First focus on what you see, taking in the big picture of textures, shapes, colors, and interplay of elements that surround you, including sky, trees, structures, bushes, flowers, pathways, waterways, objects, grasses, and animals. Then let your gaze rest on individual elements, noticing specific and distinct qualities, individual plants, leaves, clouds, insects, birds, shadows, movement, colors, blossoms, and other unique sights that catch your attention. Be an artist noticing deeply the intricate beauty around you and mentally painting it onto your awareness.

Now let your gaze soften and focus on what you are hearing, human sounds, then birds, insects, wind noises, distant noise, taps, squawks, chirps, rushes, water noises, animals, and creatures. Listen gently and allow these sounds to play a piece of music for you.

As you are listening, take several slow, deep breaths through through your nose, and notice what the air brings to you: scents, moisture, smoke, perfume, decay, coolness, warmth, etc. Let the unique smell connect you to this moment.

Continue to breathe slowly and notice the sensations in your body, the movement of your breath, the chest and stomach, fingers, hair, skin, face, and mouth, pelvis, knees, and feet.

Now bring your attention back to your sight, allowing what you see, hear, smell and feel in your body to combine into a whole, integrated experience. You may notice that the beings around you have grown seemingly larger or more vivid and solid as your expanded awareness holds the world around you in balance with yourself.

It is easy to remember this practice: Eyes, ears, nose, body, integrate! Welcome to the world!

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