Many people feel a profound sense of love when immersed in natural world. We can often sense a quality of benevolence issuing forth from trees, flowers, animals, birds, clouds and the sun itself.
Nature is often a place we sense a quality of safety, welcoming, acceptance and non-judgment more than perhaps anywhere else. Because of that, being outdoors in a natural setting can be healing and an important counterpoint to the ways we can judge and reject ourselves or ways we feel hurt and criticized by others.
In the Benevolence Meditation we attune to all the ways we feel loved and cared for by the earth. That may be the way we feel safe and protected in a grove of trees, or warmed by the life-giving sun, or soothed and nourished by gentle rain.
In the same way we also learn to extend our hearts to all the life forms in nature that touch and nourish us. We learn to radiate kindness and love to trees, plants, birds, animals, insects, clouds, mountains, skies and the earth herself. With that, we come to hold all life with a heart as wide as the world.
What arises out of feeling all the ways we are given to, held, inspired and nourished by this earth is often gratitude, a deep appreciation for life that sustains us moment by moment.
In the Gratitude Meditation we learn to extend an appreciative heart to all the life that sustains us. This includes the air we breathe, the sun that warms us, the plants that nourish us, the beauty that inspires us and the rains that hydrate us.
As we reflect on all that we are grateful for in nature we realize that our list is never ending. And in that nature teaches us to be thankful for every moment in every day, which allows us to live with a heart of abundance and joy.