The Presents of Presence
“You can’t think your way through a walk in the forest.”
I want to give credit where credit is due. I was sure I read this in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, but now I can’t find it in there.
In any case, this quote refers to being present in the moment, and only then can you truly connect with the beauty of nature. In The Power of Now, Mr. Tolle says the following:
"Beauty arises in the stillness of your presence….Presence is needed to become aware of the beauty, the majesty, the sacredness of nature. Have you ever gazed up into the infinity of space on a clear night, awestruck by the absolute stillness and inconceivable vastness of it? Have you listened, truly listened, to the sound of a mountain stream in the forest? Or to the song of a blackbird at dusk on a quiet summer evening? To become aware of such things, the mind needs to be still. You have to put down for a moment your personal baggage of problems, of past and future, as well as all your knowledge; otherwise, you will see but not see, hear but not hear. Your total presence is required."
Many times, I have gone for a walk in nature with the purpose of relieving stress. I have set out on a mission, focused on that goal. As I walked, I was in my mind - monitoring my progress, trying to figure things out - and then, I have missed out. It’s not being in nature that is the stress relief, it is being present while in nature that is the stress relief, because while you are present, the mind is still, and there is the relief.