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NamKhan Ecolodge
Ban Donkeo, Luang Prabang,
06000 Laos
Email: book@thenamkhan.com
Phone: +856 (0)30 999 7327

A man is enjoying the benefits of meditation in nature.

The core benefits of meditation and being in nature

General overview and introduction to meditation

Here we will explore two powerful tools for healing and taking care of the human psyche. We will begin our discussion by first illuminating the key facets and benefits of meditation before moving on to exposure to nature and how the two can complement one another.

Let us begin with the key insight that whichever emotions or mode of perception we feed the most is reinforced and over time it becomes increasingly difficult to extricate ourselves from it. In this way our suffering becomes a vicious circle.

Through meditation in whichever form, we are training ourselves to adopt new and healthier habits of mind that will gradually overpower and eclipse our negative mental and emotional tendencies. In this way, every meditation sit adds up, similar to incrementally adding interest to a bank account.

Overview of 2 main types of meditation

Before we dive deeper into the details of the key benefits, we should first distinguish between the 2 main types of meditation.

The first is concentration based (Shamatha): It involves focusing on some object (such as the breath, on a candle flame or on a feeling such as lovingkindness), and then returning our attention to that object whenever we become distracted.

The second, more subtle type of meditation is resting in awareness (Vipassana) and then simply observing any thought or emotion that may arise, without grasping at it or making any judgement. We treat all thoughts with the same degree of detachment and then simply return to being aware of being aware.

The ultimate result of both practices is that we are able to live more deeply in the present moment, allowing us to more fully enjoy the richness of life and see things more clearly. It should also be pointed out that both types of meditation mutually benefit one another and both should be practiced diligently.

Concentration is king

‘For him without concentration, there is no peace’ -The Bhagavad Gita

Our ability to silence our minds and focus on anything whatsoever, not just the breath, is critical for living a full life. This is because with increased attention comes a heightened ability to experience, to notice and to understand. If you continue developing your focus, every area of your life will begin unfolding with increasingly deeper levels of richness and clarity.

With increased concentration, you will notice a corresponding increase in the quality of your life. Your capacity to experience pleasure as well as your ability to contemplate and articulate will increase, revealing to you deeper reservoirs of intelligence that you never knew you had.

If you’re doing something that requires deep contemplation, then it is imperative to your success that you develop your concentration. If you’re ever tongue-tied and don’t know what to say in a conversation, it could very well be that your concentration is too dull. If you’re not able to fully attend to a lesson, movie, a book, or any daily activity, it is surely your lack of insufficiently honed concentration that is preventing you from reaping the full benefits. A sharp focus is vital for our relationships and virtually any pursuit in life.

Mindfulness- your guardian angel

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather” – Pema Chödrön

Vipassana presents a way for us to purify our minds by training ourselves to, whenever a thought arises, take a step back and rest in the awareness that is behind the thought. This creates distance between ourselves and the thoughts, which reverses our unconscious habit of constantly adding one thought on top of another. This unconscious habit exacerbates our mental chatter, which causes us to suffer, waste precious energy and depletes the vividness of the present moment.

Through the power of mindfulness, we can catch our train of thoughts before it travels too far down the rails and thus bring some consciousness into the dynamic instead of being blindly led astray. We can stop or divert the train before there’s a trainwreck.

By extension, we would also be in better control of our emotions; we could be angry or sad less often or for not as long, which could mean the difference between total failure or success in virtually any domain of human endeavor. We will be better able to respond rather than react.

Mindfulness also teaches us to be in closer touch with our feelings and intuition by paying close attention to your feelings. In a world that over-glorifies cold hard intellect and cerebralism, you would gain a huge advantage by tapping into the power of intuitive intelligence. If you find yourself disconnected from your heart because of trauma or upbringing, then mindfulness meditation can help you reclaim what you have lost.

Nature as a therapist

When we are in unnatural environments such as cities, offices and crowded places with a great deal of commotion, this increases our stress levels over time because our minds are always operating on hyperdrive. We are always on alert and trying to keep up with the demands of such an environment. Then, our ability to feel at peace eventually becomes compromised as our body’s stress responses work overtime.

A stressful environment can make it easier for us to feel depressed, sad or hopeless, which can lead to a variety of health issues such as high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.

We are biologically programmed to find natural scenery captivating. Also, when we are in nature, we are living more in tune with our evolutionary heritage. It brings us to a place where we were ‘meant to be’ physiologically speaking. As such, it is an environment that is perfect for facilitating the deepest forms of healing.

A study done out of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter found that those who spent 2 hours a week in nature enjoyed substantially better psychological health than those who didn’t.

Experience the powerful combination at The Namkhan

With all that has been said, you can see how the synergistic benefits of combining meditation with a natural setting can be so powerful. Indeed, it can end up being a full-fledged spiritual experience for many. If you’ve been accumulating tensions from being in a stressful environment for a long time, then meditation in nature is one of the best ways to help you cleanse and heal your mind and system.

The Namkhan Ecolodge is the perfect place to experience this synergistic combination to the fullest and give your mind a much-needed reset. Through the meditation retreats that the resort offers in the heart of nature, you can discover deeper levels of serenity, bliss and clarity that you never imagined was possible.

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