The Buddha encouraged his community to meditate in the forest at the foot of a tree, beginning a long tradition of reverence for nature in Buddhism. Spending time in nature, we can sense the intimate connection between the natural world and our own nature. There’s a circuitry between the health of the environment and our own mental and physical health.
Even along city streets, by strip malls and parking structures, we notice the power of nature — blades of grass poking through asphalt, tree roots heaving up concrete slabs of sidewalk, banks of flowers inhaling the exhaust of the freeway. In Los Angeles, the ocean is our only wilderness. The beach is a liminal space where the untamable magnificence of Mother Nature meets our urban life of confinement in cars and constant connectivity. People flock to the beach around sunset, the mysterious threshold between day and night.
As the sun flames from gold to orange to scarlet, the waves move like liquid opal.
For a few moments, the sea is milky turquoise, luminous under a glowing coral sky. The vast pearly ocean slowly turns dark as light fades from the sky. Rays of incandescence light up the horizon where the sun slides down to the other side of the world. Scattered along the water’s edge, a few families and couples enjoy playing in the afterglow, silhouetted by the sea — ghostly beings dancing in the magical light before nightfall.
Why not try it one evening? Stay, linger on the beach at dusk as waves wash away the day. Revel in the stillness of being in nature. You might walk toward the Santa Monica Ferris wheel of ever-changing, ever-turning rainbow light. You can treasure the peace and magic of the natural world in your own mindful heart.