Last week I was taking photos on my new i-phone at several beach sites on Shelter Island, Long Island. Sky and water were blue and clear and the near-deserted beaches sparkled with sunlight. The rock-strewn sand’s earthy hues provided nature’s palette at its best, along with surprisingly long “human” shadows of the photographer. Later, I pondered over these shadows–they were there but not really “real.” But then again, what is real and what isn’t? Are shadows figments of our imagination or tricks of the eye, and if so, what about all our thoughts and perceptions about “reality?”

Which goes to show where a simple walk on the beach can lead. Eventually I  redirected my figuring out brain to wonder at the delightful elements I encountered. Catching myself from the pull to describe, I could gently rest, free and uncluttered, in the embrace of nature. See if you can be, just for a few moments, in the free expanse of pure, conscious awareness.

Eyes open or closed, inhale and exhale deeply until you feel a shift in your energy or a slowing down of thoughts. You may wish to listen to your heartbeat or breath, or silently repeat the mantra “so ham,” breathing in “so,” and out “ham (‘hum’).” As you glide into being, let go of doing. Observe your thoughts without becoming overly interested in or attached to them. Guide yourself back to mantra, breath, or watching your thoughts as desired.