BHS Student Essay: The Effects of Meditation, Mindfulness and Nature

By:  Audrey Li

In the midst of a seemingly never-ending to-do list, it is important to allot time to yourself to meditate and become more aware of your surroundings.  It is easy to be on autopilot and to become invested in the plethora of tasks you have to complete: it may seem almost inconvenient for you to stop for a moment and to take a break. These past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for me since it was comprised of ultra-high stress levels, standardized testing, and AP testing. While I did have study breaks, I felt guilty for not working to accomplish my tasks and for partaking on a short escape from reality.  It was then that I realized the utmost necessity of taking a break and putting my current tasks on hold.

It is absolutely vital to meditate or to set aside some time for yourself to reflect on your life, completely free of guilt.  I am currently taking a gym class at Barrington High School called Fit for Females.  This class has really made me look forward to Friday mornings because Fridays are dedicated to achieving mindfulness through meditation and yoga.  We are privileged with being given the entire class period to lie down and listen to guided meditations or peaceful meditation music.  I can distinctly recall one Friday in which I was so relieved to finally have forty minutes to myself, completely void of obligations, and to reflect on a particularly difficult week.  My teacher read aloud some guided meditation and she reminded us that we constantly say, “I love you” to our family and friends, but she posed the ultimate question: “How often do you express love for yourself?”  Following the meditation and walking to my next class, I felt rejuvenated.  The meditation session was incredibly cathartic and had imbued me with a great amount of motivation and inspiration to go about the rest of my day.  I realized that although these optimistic feelings were not everlasting, it was pleasurable to hold onto these feelings for even just a short time.

Upon receiving this article assignment, I took it upon myself to consciously spend more time with myself, whether it is indoors or surrounded by the inexhaustible beauty of nature.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to throw rainy weather at me just as I was about to embark on my daily meditation routine.  I desired to venture out of my comfort zone and meditate in the rain on a Saturday afternoon.  To be completely honest, my initial thoughts upon going outside were to go back inside because it was cold and windy.  Despite these desires, I decided to continue with my meditation.  I began to take notice of the trees that that were swaying back and forth and the vastness of the sky.  I contemplated about how this time next year I will be committed to a college and transend familiarity on the new chapter of my life.  This meditation in the rain made me realize that despite feelings of insecurities, unhappiness, or disappointment, nature will continue to exist and the trees that extend beyond my deck will continue to sway back and forth, regardless of my current troubles, which certainly impelled me to put matters in perspective.

Make meditation a part of your daily life because although the positive feelings it will bring you afterwards are ephemeral, mediation will become a constant in your life and help you feel more confident with your inner self.  Through meditation, you will become more acquainted with yourself because meditation enables you to reflect on your thoughts and gives you an opportunity to embrace your inner confidence and allow negative feelings to, at least, temporarily subside.  I don’t believe there is an ultimate cure for happiness, but meditation does serve as a portal to an alternative dimension away from reality for the time being.  I have noticed that every time I immerse myself in nature and truly look at what is in front of me, I feel more in touch with myself and become less concerned with how others perceive me.  I hope that after reading this article, you feel inclined to dedicate more time to yourself and to make more of an effort to spend less time looking down at technology and more time being surrounded by nature.