Yesterday I went for a walk to my favourite place to do one of my favourite things; An amazing evening meditation of the senses high upon the cliffs of Étretat. This is one of my favourite places to sit quietly and feel connected with my surroundings. Through bringing awareness to each of the senses, I experience this amazing place in such a special way, I feel connected with the earth, the sea and the air around me; Watching the waves, listening to the seagulls, tasting the salt water on the sea breeze, it is both humbling and inspiring
If you find what ever you do, you are not really there, your mind is somewhere else and you feel you are missing out on life, STOP and take the time to meditate, you'll start to notice that happiness is all around you. I would love to have all of you here with me in France, to take you onto the cliff tops and share the experience. Sharing what I have found to be so worthwhile is the passion behind Riboudin Retreats and my motivation to create a space here that you can enjoy too. I don't want you to have to wait for a visit though to start experiencing the benefits so here's my guide to a Meditation of the Senses for you to have a go yourself.
LEARN HOW TO MEDITATE
Find a quiet place outside where you feel surrounded by nature and you can sit quietly for a few moments, I also love to sit under my apple tree or beside a quiet stream but a spot in your garden or a local park is perfect.
Sit in a comfortable upright position, resting your hands on your thighs and close your eyes if that feels comfortable for you.
Bring your awareness to your breath as you slowly breath in and out through your nose, you can take as long as you like focusing on your breath if you find this relaxing but try and spend at least 5 breaths in and out before moving on to the next step.
Turn your attention to listen to the sounds around you. What can you hear? It might be your own breath, birds singing, people laughing, water trickling, leaves rustling, or it might be cars driving, an alarm ringing, something loud & unpleasant. Remember this is not a problem or an interruption, it is just a sound, a moment of the experience. The important thing is to listen, really listen for the subtle sounds that you may not have noticed before.
Bring your attention to notice the smells around you, what's in the air? It might be wet grass, sea water or the sent of blossom from flowers near by.
Touch the ground, how does it feel? It might be cold, warm, rough, smooth dry or wet. Bring your awareness to your skin, can you feel the sensation of your clothes, is there any warmth of the sun on your body? Notice the ground upon which you are sitting and which areas of your body are in contact with the earth.
Even with no food in your mouth you may notice a taste, sitting by the sea perhaps become aware of the salt water in the air or in a garden there might be a sweetness from some flowers.
Slowly open your eyes and drink in your surroundings, notice colours and textures, patterns and shapes. Choose an item near to you and examine it in close detail, a pebble, a flower or perhaps an insect, take the time to look beyond what you'd normally notice.
Finally pause to notice how you FEEL at this moment.
Try and take other little moments throughout your day to explore spending time with more awareness, use your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and sensation of touch wherever you find yourself and let me know how you get on in the comments section.