Meditating in Nature

July 5, 2024

By Andi Chatburn, Conservancy Volunteer and Spiritual Companion with Chatburn Companioning and Rewilding Retreats

Meditation is the moment of noticing, without judgment, that your thoughts have wandered away from the present moment. This can happen anywhere and at any time throughout your day. Walking among the trees and birds is one of my favorite ways to meditate – to be present in my body in each moment. Here are three of my favorite exercises that bring me back when my monkey mind starts to run away with the circus of modern life.


There are several ways to get back into the present moment in nature with your breath. One is through a walking meditation. Here you can match your inhale and exhale with a steady number of steps at any speed. Maybe start with taking four steps for every phase of breath and play with your cadence, lengthening the number of steps per exhale or shortening your inhale.


The late Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh uses the phrase “kiss the ground with your feet.” Walk slowly and tenderly, maybe even barefoot, moving your heels and toes in a way that reflects the soil, the body of the Earth, as a lover. How might you move if you were kissing the ground with your soles?

Heart and Imagination

Talking across the species barrier is a meditation that comes from the work of psychologist Bill Plotkin, PhD, in his books on nature and the human soul. As you walk through wildish lands, begin to introduce yourself to members of the more-than-human world, greeting them as friends. Listen as you wander and pay attention. Notice with all your senses and intuitive knowing. This knowing is like a gut feeling, one that is not based on direct evidence or reasoning.

About the Author: When she’s not working in ethics at area hospitals, Andi (pictured left) volunteers as a hike docent with your Conservancy and guides personal rewilding retreats honoring the turning of the seasons over the equinoxes and solstices. Learn more at