This week's guided meditation will be from a forest in British Columbia. Have you heard of forest bathing? It's not actual bathing in water, but immersing yourself in the woods. Being present, noticing the trees, the wildlife, the sounds, the aromas, etc. Forest bathing became an integral part of Japanese preventative health care in the 80s because they discovered that being in a forest lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormone production and boosts the immune system as well as increasing feelings of well-being. In this visualization, you won't be in the forest, but I hope to help you experience the next best thing.
Before we begin our visualization today, I would like to read a quote by Thích Nhất Hạnh (Tich Naht Hanh)
“Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a water snake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.”
You find yourself alone in a red cedar forest. The trees tower above you, and their enormity evokes a feeling of insignificance. The atmosphere is hushed. The ancient forest has trapped in the air around you, and it vaguely smells like incense and earth.
The path winds through the tall cedar grove, and when you look up at the trees towering above you have the impression you are in a cathedral — beams of sunlight filter down to the forest floor. With a sense of reverence, you tread gently on the trail which winds through large clumps of ferns. The pathway is soft from the pine needles littering the forest floor.
The trees have miraculously stood and survived here for hundreds of years despite many challenges. Each one is unique in size and shape. Some of the tree trunks have green moss carpeting their trunks and branches.
You sense some movement above your head. When you look up through the dense canopy, you see a small speckled owl with large brown eyes peering down at you. You gaze at each other for a few moments before you continue walking down the path.
You feel a need to walk even more carefully lest you disturb any other gentle spirits that dwell here.
After a while, you begin to hear a subtle sound of water. As you approach the noise, you see somebody has carved a totem of a frog from a cedar log and also formed a collecting pool in a cedar stump. From its mouth pours a small rivulet of spring water. You scoop the clear water up with your hands and put the water to your lips. It tastes sweet as if it has distilled deep within the earth since the beginning of time. You pause for a moment appreciating the gentle sound of the fountain.
The trail widens, and as you begin walking up a slope, the path opens up, and now the sky is visible through the trees. It is vivid blue, and there isn't a cloud to be seen.
Soon the trail starts meandering through some monolithic boulders. You reach out to touch one of the rocks. It feels cold. The silence of the forest begins to be broken by the sound of rushing water and birdsong.
The trail ends at the base of a tall cliff face over which cascades a glittering waterfall. The mass of it sends a wave of cold air over you, and now and then you feel a light spray on your bare arms and face. Several rainbows dance in the sunshine. The magnificence of the scene is profoundly overwhelming.
To the side of the trail, you notice a bench carved out of a massive cedar log. You walk over to it and sit down. The sound and beauty of the landscape in front of you consumes all your senses. You feel very comfortable and relaxed. Your eyes become heavy, and slowly you drift off into a deep, deep sleep.
〰️ Clara 〰️
I am bringing my favourite outside experiences and imaginings to create visualizations that encourage peace and relaxation.