I always wanted to meditate but didn’t know how.

After my brother David died, I spent about two hours a day outside. Listening to leaves rustle in the wind soothed the aches in my soul. Walking on paths strewn with scented pine needles brightened my depressed state. Hearing bird’s twitter and caw distracted my confused thoughts.

I often sank to the sun-warmed ground in front of an ancient tree. As a kid, I loved climbing trees and frequently built tree houses where I would sit and listen to the forest sounds for hours.

As an adult reeling from David’s passage, I returned to the woods. Often I would lean against a tree and close my eyes. I breathed slowly and deeply while tears rained on forest moss. Gradually my pain lessened. My mind cleared and I relaxed. I sat for 10 maybe 15 minutes in quiet peace, breathing slowly until I felt ready to return. I gradually opened my eyes, bright and refreshed, calm centering my universe.

I had no idea this was meditation until someone more learned than I explained the concept. Wow! I was meditating!

Trees are filled with ancient wisdom, knowledge and love. Each tree has different energy. Trust your instincts. Open your heart to feel the energy of each tree. Once you find a tree that feels “good,” ask if you can spend time with it. Maybe you won’t receive an answer and that’s OK, just go with the flow. A gentle wind may blow, or you may receive another sign that encourages your presence. If you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason, don’t worry; just move on until you find your special tree.

Sit on the ground in front of the tree, or stand and lean against your chosen tree. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly, at least three times. Release stress with each breath, breathing deeper and more intensely with each intake and exhale. If errant thoughts enter your mind, keep breathing slowly, think about them for a moment, and then release them to the universe. Let yourself relax.

After awhile, when you feel ready, slowly open your eyes using “soft eyes,” so that you don’t just pop them wide. Thank your tree in a meaningful way.

Congratulations! You have just experienced one of the many ways to meditate!

Enjoy the peace.