Going From Zero to Zen

Meditation is enjoying a moment in the limelight.

A slew of studies now confirm it’s good for you. High-profile celebrities openly encourage it. Your doctor may have even suggested it as a way for you to manage stress.

All of this may make you feel (more than you did already) that you really need to give it a go.

So you sit down, cross your legs, and begin.

And within 30 seconds you’re fidgeting. Soon your foot falls asleep, and that’s all you can think about. Except when you’re thinking about whatever your mind has decided needs to be dealt with immediately. Like checking email. Again.

Then the dog (or the cat, or your kid) realizes you’re sitting on the floor and assumes it’s playtime. Game over.

Maybe you try again tomorrow, but within a few days, because the experience is anything but peaceful, you give up.

It can be hard to go from zero to Zen. Meditating outside, with others, can help.

Connect to Community & Nature

We are social creatures, and even the introverts among us (like me!) thrive when we connect with others, especially around something we all value.

Doing something with a group motivates us because we have a tendency to show up for others even when we might not be inclined to show up for ourselves. And the momentum of a group can carry us along when we don’t have the energy to carry ourselves.

Meditating with others is a special experience because most of the time we’re in silence. This can feel awkward at first, but it eventually becomes comfortable and surprisingly freeing.

In fact, it teaches you how to be around others without having to “do” or “be” anyone in particular, which can be a great relief.

Meditating outside offers another layer of support for starting and sustaining a meditation practice. It can be easier to focus your attention when the typical distractions aren’t present. It can also be easier let go and let your thoughts be carried away by the breeze.

Nature helps us tap into something bigger, quieter, and more powerful than ourselves. It doesn’t judge us or require us to be anything other than what we are. It offers complete acceptance and peace.

So instead of trying to master meditation on your own, consider joining a group of people who are motivated to quiet their life by spending time together in nature. Join us outside!

“Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.” —John Muir


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