Have I told you guys about sit spot? It’s a wonderful nature based practice – possibly the key nature based practice. It’s a dead simple way to connect with nature, practice a bit of inner peace, and restore some of the equilibrium that’s maybe missing in your life.
Super short version: Find a place outside and sit in it, for at least 20 minutes.
Slightly longer version: While you’re sitting, try to remain aware of the present moment. Notice what you can hear/smell/feel/taste/see. This isn’t empty mind meditation – you don’t have to still every thought – but do try to keep your awareness on what’s going around you, rather than what’s going on in your head.
Step by step version, for those who like explicit instructions:
- Go outside. Sit down.
- Take a moment to find something that you feel grateful for. Maybe it’s a beautiful day, or there are flowers in bloom, or you had a delicious lunch. Just find some gratitude.
- Do a sense meditation. Close your eyes, and focus just on what you can hear. There are probably cars, and that’s ok. Notice what else you can hear. Holding on to that, add in your sense of smell – what can you smell here? Maybe hot road tar, maybe the rose bush next to you. Don’t judge, just notice. Holding on to hearing and smell, notice what you can feel – the ground you’re sitting on, the wind on your face. Just notice. Now, holding on to hearing, smell, and touch, open your eyes and add in what you can see. Maintain that awareness for as long as you like. You are in no way expected to continue with that sense meditation for your entire time sitting (unless you’re enjoying it, in which case feel free to continue)
- Sit. Look. Listen. Smell. Avoid the temptation to check your watch constantly. If you notice your awareness turning away from the moment, gently bring it back.
This is most powerful when done every day. The idea is to pick a single spot (ideally really close to your back door) to return to daily. That lets you build relationship over the weeks and the seasons, and is really powerful. But I have to admit that is not what I do. I have a sit spot in my yard that I return to again and again, but I also have sit spots further afield. I was going to Mount Auburn Cemetery a few times a week for awhile, but now I’m trying to go down to the Charles River as many days as I am able. I recommend starting your practice by focusing on a single spot, but in the long run, you make it your own.