Stillness in spring

The above quote, taken from my latest book ‘About Zen: mindfulness’ shares a delight of being surrounded by the stillness of trees. It got me thinking: how often do we, as humans, really take the time to sit in a woodland and allow the presence of the trees to be felt?

I’ve been doing this more and more, especially during the pandemic and the issues we’ve been facing lately as a society. I find it an incredibly healing practice. There’s something wonderful about letting go for a moment, just sitting, noticing the stillness with awareness; allowing the odd creak of trunk and branch moving in the wind to engage the ear.

It’s becoming a habit for me to do such things. I always discover, especially if there are things ‘on my mind’, that I can allow the thoughts to pass when I go to somewhere in nature. The vitality of the fresh air that trees provide generates a symbiotic relationship that without them, I’d be struggling for oxygen; I in turn give them my carbon dioxide on my out-breath. Again, I’m reminded of the interconnected web of life, and problems about ‘self’ tend to fall away.

If you have a problem just now, see if you can take the issue out somewhere, and sit in the stillness. Spring is a perfect time for this, when it’s warmer outside, and delight in the colours of snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils that are beginning to emerge. Even if you’re sitting in a garden or a park bench, you’re still getting access to this stillness – this awareness that dwells everywhere. You might be able to take the stillness back into your home, in your spaces, keeping the silence alive within you. You’re not ‘avoiding’ your problem; you’re giving yourself rest and kindness, to recharge your batteries and to access your inner wisdom which will be able to cope with the problem more than maybe your logic brain is trying to.

By coming back to the present moment (and nature is so good at that) we are reminded to come back to ourselves. From there, you’re building a foundation of stillness, peacefulness and gentle kindness within you. The world needs more of those attributes.

May you all stay safe and well in these times.

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