There’s no doubt that one’s environment can enhance or hinder the act of meditation. Woody Allen, for instance, once said that he finds it easier to fall asleep in Manhattan – with its 24-hour soundtrack of horns, sirens, and other urban distractions – than in the countryside, where the crickets and, worse, silence drive him insane. (Perhaps that explains a few things about that strange little man.)
In my case, though, I definitely find more peace in the natural world – which is probably why I always look forward to my summers in northern Michigan. Doing yoga amid the maple and birch trees, watching the sunrise over the lake, heck, even lying on the hammock, I can literally feel my blood pressure lowering, my lungs breathing easier, my muscles relaxing. And I know that it simply wouldn’t be the same in a city like New Orleans or Los Angeles, where it’s hard to escape the ever-present sounds of crowds and traffic.
Luckily, despite its bustling cities, crowded national parks, and other overwhelming destinations, America boasts an assortment of tranquil places. Some of my favorites include the desolate coastline of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the sculpted cliffs of California’s Red Rock Canyon State Park, the quiet saltwater marshes southeast of New Orleans, and the isolated mudflats on the northern end of South Padre Island. Regardless of what I’m doing – hiking, fishing, or just sitting in the sand – such locales make it easier for me to be still for a while, forget the day-to-day grind, and contemplate the bigger questions about life, the universe, and everything.
So, what about you? Do you believe that a person’s environment can enhance his or her meditation, and if so, what’s your favorite place of serenity?
4 hours ago