We will all know the soothing effect of wandering around our own garden, tending or watering. It tends to put us in a natural meditative mood of appreciation of plant life in general and perhaps allows us a little sense of pride in the results of our personal horticultural efforts.
All meditative states of consciousness commence with a stimulus or focus. If we have a material focus such as a beautiful flower we will be inclined to expand our thoughts and emotions and also elevate them as we look at the intricate handiwork of nature and drink in its beauty.
We will do much the same when we contemplate any beautiful painting or object in a gallery or museum that displays the skill and the beauty of human creativity.
However, when we are viewing the grandeur, the expanses of Nature’s handiwork outside these restricted environments something is added to our consciousness. Whether we call it a greater appreciation, or realize the scope and grander scale of landscapes and complexities, or viewing it evokes an emotional response such as awe or even worship, we are entering a different state. From the comfort of the smaller sphere we are entering the explosive realization of the majesty of life that creates and maintains limitless life and beautiful forms on our planet. We cannot help but stretch our hearts and minds in an effort to embrace the reality. If we will allow it, this will invite immensely satisfying spiritual or soul experiences beyond the mundane to freshen our senses and mental perceptions.
The grander the landscape, the vaster the horizons, the more majestically we perceive Nature as a whole. As a scientist gazing for hours into the worlds of the minute dimensions would react to the sudden focus upon the most imposing examples of the magnitude of natural creations such as Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon outside, so we find our ‘muscles’ of consciousness undergo movement and changes when we switch from our little personal world to contemplate the realities of the universe beyond. In some measure this will tend to happen with all meditations to a greater or lesser degree.
Our expansions and contractions of consciousness are always likely to be exercised according to our personal interests, tasks and responsibilities. But it is generally in states or moods of stress that we suffer from contraction and feel tight, limited and insecure. We need then to relax, to stretch and to feel aware of the wonderful vastness of life as a whole, and feel safe.