A Guide to Forest Bathing: Part 1 – Awareness of Sound.
Here is a sound awareness exercise that can be used anytime you are in a natural environment. It could be an urban green space or deep in the secluded bush. Take a few minutes to connect and come back to the earth. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments! Happy ‘forest bathing’.
Wherever you are, make yourself comfortable. Have a journal and pen close by if possible. Close your eyes and become aware of your breath. Can you hear your breath layered against the external sound of your environment?
Concentrate all your awareness on this subtle vibration that comes from within you. Contemplate how this is constantly there, whether you are aware of it or not.
Notice how the sound of your breath compliments the sounds of the natural world; the breeze in the leaves above you or the hum of the sea churning against the sand. All of these sounds are sustaining life within and outside of you. Your breath is in sync with the breath of Mother Earth.
Start to widen the circle of your awareness. Begin with the most obvious sound present right now. Notice the vibrations coming in to your ear drums, creating thought and association. What effect does this sound have on your physical, mental and emotional body?
Now move your attention to the second most prominent sound. How do these sounds layer against each other? Is it harmonious or jarring? Are the sounds continuous or sporadic?
Now move your attention to the most subtle external sounds. Maybe there’s a distant sound of birdcall or human voices far away. Maybe these sounds were not immediately obvious when you started your deep listening.
Slowly return your attention inwards. Listen intently and curiously to your own breath – the constant pulse of life that sustains you, just as the external sounds sustain our Mother Earth. Feel how you are part of all life and all life is within you.
Take a few minutes to journal about your experience, noticing how you feel now compared to when you began.