Cultivating Spiritual Growth Through Nature Walks

One of the things I’ve learned throughout my life is that nature walking not only benefits the physical body, it is a great way to cultivate spiritual growth as well. It allows me to escape the worries of everyday life and focus on the beauty of the natural world, taking in the sights and sounds of the environment, giving space to pause, reflect, and explore the inner depths of the soul. Taking the time in nature helps me to shut down the chatter of the mind, reconnect with my spiritual core, and really listen.

Practicing mindfulness during nature walks helps me to be fully present in the moment, without judgment and without distraction. As I walk I pause frequently, allowing each part of the experience – thoughts, feelings, and senses – to become pathways into the inner landscape. Taking in my surroundings while observing my thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them helps me gain insights into my life, relationships, and health that I wouldn’t otherwise see, and to find a path forward with purpose. I can access a larger, more expansive energy than I might find otherwise which can help me break out of usual patterns to gain new perspectives. When in nature, I am in a state of wonder. I am open. I am free.

Setting aside intentional space and time for regular nature walks brings more opportunities for insight and personal growth than a quick walk around the block. Let go of any expectations about the walk, and allow yourself to simply be in the moment without distraction. I sometimes find it helpful to bring a notebook along to write down any insights or thoughts that come to mind. This can help process the inner experience and gain new perspectives.

Afterward, taking time to reflect, noting any shifts in mindset or any new insights gained, can be very therapeutic.

Back to Nature

I love to dwell in forest wild,
Where giant pine trees pierce the sky;
A beauty spot where Nature smiled,
A fitting place to live and die;

Where lake-waves kiss the sandy beach,
The native haunt of timid deer;
A sermon only God can preach,
But every Human Soul may hear.

The book of Nature opened wide
Each page some wondrous Joy unfolds
To him, whose conscience is his guide,
He learns the secrets Nature holds.

I’ve played my part in Life’s affairs,
I’m weary of the noise and strife;
So let me put aside my cares,
And live the quiet, simple life.

– E. F. Hayward




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