I felt the breeze of the cool wind blow through my sweater as I paused on the trail, even as rays from the sun attempted to poke its way through the canopy of trees. However, I wanted to spend some time away from the scattered groups of hikers wandering around the mountain. So I stopped my momentous trek to my destination, diverted my path away from the marked trail, and headed into the frost-laden forest.
I walked only several feet into the wilderness before plopping down on a large rock perched upon the edge of a sharp drop into more snow. I unbuckled the hip belt around my hiking pack and slipped out from under the shoulder straps before setting the bag down on the rock next to me.
The weight of my bag transferred its force onto the discolored fracture of a nearby tree, letting out a crunch that sounded different than the bottom of my shoe, sinking into the icy winter floor that was around me. I lifted my bag to brush the remnants of the brown leaf that had fallen from the amber-red and gold-tinted tree that stood above me. I then rested the bag down again onto the gray pillar of the earth that I sat on in the middle of the woods.
I sat with my body facing towards the deep woods and allowed the gravity tugging at my eyelids to pull them down over my windows into the world. I kept them shut for a while, and I allowed my thoughts to soften and then fade while letting my attention follow the nearby birds as they chirped and flew above me. When the winged creatures too fell silent, I listened to the gentle crashing of the bushels of the leaves still attached to elevated branches as they swayed in the wind that wafted through the surrounding landscape. I allowed a mindful calmness wash over me as my very essence began to merge with the natural landscape, and I removed myself from the humdrum of the rest of the day.
I try to take a moment such as this every day, whether it be a few minutes or a full hour, where I take a step back and sit on the edge of the world. It could happen for a few passing seconds in the shower or while standing on top of a mountain. I pause, take a breath, and view my life and the world around me from a different perspective in order to better understand and ask questions about myself and my pocket of the universe.
It’s important to reflect on and reset your state of mind in order to grow and evolve into a better version of yourself. Your physical environment doesn’t have to be a serene, picturesque place of tall and pretty wildflowers. You don’t have to be a master of yoga or a Buddhist monk to search for peace within yourself through meditation. You just need to take a deep breath and pause for a moment to collect the unique compilation of the pieces of yourself before moving forward on your life’s journey. You can learn a lot from yourself when you meditate. You just have to take the time to listen.