It’s disturbing how similar my mind is to a flashy news program. Different thoughts and opinions compete like arguing newscasters. My grocery list scrolls at the bottom of the screen. An alert flashes in bright red reminding me that I forgot something important at work.
This is precisely why I needed the recent Nature Meditation Walk at Indian Ford Meadow Preserve.
We met at this picturesque Land Trust meadow just as the day began to cool off. The sun was poised to start its descent behind the amazing mountains. The lighting was perfect. Broken Top and the Three Sisters Mountains towered to the west. To the north, Black Butte and Mt. Jefferson stood watch.
A week before the walk, I saw two adult turkeys in the meadow. Their fluffy baby poults bobbed behind them, snatching bugs out of the air for a snack. Later that day, I scanned the meadow again and noticed big ears poking up from the creek. Four deer, escaping from the heat, were resting in the spring-fed current.
Indian Ford Meadow is obviously the place to find peace near Bend and Sisters. Our leader, Maret Pajutee, started by explaining how to do a walking meditation.
“Focus on the sensation of walking,” she said. “Feel the transfer of weight on your feet and, if your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present.”
I listened to the crunch of gravel under my feet while walking on the trail. It was refreshing to focus on the feeling of walking instead of the destination.
After we arrived at the overlook Maret oriented us to the meadow.
“This place has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years,” she said. “There’s a painting of how this meadow looked in the 1800s and it still looks the same.”
She explained that Native Americans used to ford the creek here, giving the place its name. They were on their way to the higher elevations in the summer to hunt game and gather huckleberries.
We sat at the overlook while Maret guided us through a meditation. Her gentle instructions helped me stay in the present and I was able to let go of distractions as they came up. The meditation was calming. Her guidance helped center me, and the meadow’s energy helped me find stillness. I only fell asleep once.
We followed the guided session with another walking meditation. This time we walked in the grasses of the meadow, taking slow, mindful steps along the water.
I left the Nature Meditation Walk feeling grounded. I felt zen and grateful. I hate to admit it, but these are not always typical feelings for me.
I highly recommend the next Nature Meditation Walk on August 7. If you can’t make that date, put it on your list to check out Indian Ford Meadow for a short hike, a picnic, or a sunset.
Do you have any tried-and-true meditation techniques? How do you meditate in nature?