Listening in Nature Meditation: A Simple and Effective Way to Be in the Moment

Nature meditation. I think most people probably find some kind of peace or spiritual inspiration in nature. Being in nature certainly makes meditation easier for me, and it has no religious overtones. Yay! That’s the kind of meditation I want! And there are many different ways to use nature as a spring board to a peaceful mind. Listening is just one of these forms, and it’s a lovely informal way of meditating.

Though when I first left Tibetan Buddhism, I couldn’t sit formally to meditate, I still found myself naturally doing this expansive listening as I walked in the forest. I’m lucky that I do have a peaceful forest close by to be able to do this in, but it can be done anywhere, anytime, even if you’re not in a peaceful situation. All sounds are, after all, just sounds. It’s only our mind that ascribes the concepts of peaceful or not peaceful to the sounds.

Of course, this listening-in-nature meditation is based on what I learned during my two decades of Buddhist study and practice. It’s also a kind of what some call ‘forest bathing’. For me, however, it’s really just what I do when I’m walking in the forest – at least when I’m not talking to myself!

Download my guided audio meditation practices here: https://tahlianewland.bandcamp.com/album/simply-being-guided-meditation

And for detailed instructions and written guided practices, see my book ‘How to Meditate Easily Effectively & Deeply.’ http://geni.us/9lbWIIf

And if you’re new here, don’t forget to check out the Imaginative Meditation page for another Buddhist derivative meditation.


Is there any form of meditation that you find yourself doing naturally, informally, without really trying? If so, please share it in the comments below.

Why I Revised my Book on Meditation

I published ‘How to Meditate Easily, Effectively & Deeply’ in 2016 before I realised that Sogyal Rinpoche was abusing his close students, and I immediately withdrew the book from sale.

Why?

Have the meditation instructions changed?

No, but the context in which I wrote the book has changed dramatically – as this website documents – and that subtly affects aspects of the way things are expressed. You won’t find reference to Sogyal now except in the introduction where I tell the history (briefly) of the reason for my disillusionment with Tibetan Buddhism.

Any major changes?

Yes. Apart from the background on the need for the revision, I’ve added two new sections: one on imaginative meditation – a practice I developed after leaving Tibetan Buddhism – and the other a section on awareness meditation that a senior teacher in Rigpa said I had to take out because it was going too deep! Her opinion doesn’t matter to me now, so I put it back in. And this is just one of the reasons why this book isn’t just for beginners.

Why publish a book on meditation anyway?

Because I still belive that meditation is a vital skill that people need to develop for their mental health and spiritual awareness. And if I can assist anyone to find a method of meditation that works for them, I consider that a worthwhile use of my time.

I’m also a natural teacher and have the ability to inpsire others and distill complex teachings into essential points, so writing a book like this comes easily to me. I’m also passionate about taking the religion out of the Tibetan Buddhist teachings I received because there’s a lot of value in those teachings; you just have to know what you can throw out and what is necessary to retain. This book covers what’s valuable to retain.

Not just for beginners

I cover essential points that even experienced meditators might have missed in their meditation instruction. One reviewer pointed this out, saying, “Its easy-to-read style makes it a must-have for beginners and a good jolt to the brain cells of veterans as well. I have already found several extremely useful nuggets of wisdom to incorporate in my own daily meditation routine.” Charles Ray, author.

Guided practices

Though most of you reading this won’t feel you have a need for such instruction, you may know someone who would benefit from the book as it really is easy to read and comprehend, and it includes evocative guided practices. There’s also audio guided meditations that go with the book (free or donation) on Bandcamp.

Free ebook copies in exchange for a review on Amazon

And if any of you would like to help counteract the 2 star review on Amazon left by a vindictive cult member after I published Fallout by leaving a review (hopefully more than 3 stars) just contact me for a free Epub or PDF. In order to leave a review, however, you will need an active Amazon account (a $50 spend in the last 12 months).

Does Meditation Help People with ADHD?

I’ve discovered that I have ADHD, and I’m not the only one of our community who has discovered this about themselves. I stopped meditating formally after the events of 2017 – which are well documented here and in my book Fallout: Recovering from Abuse in Tibetan Buddhism – but I’ve recently returned to a form of meditation practice after realising that I need it. And when you look at the research on ADHD and meditation, it’s easy to see why it’s particularly good for my neurodivergent brain.

When I look back at how my mind was before I started meditating – easily distracted, often overwhelmed with thoughts, low self-esteem – it’s easy to see how much it’s helped me. I can even see why the Vajrayana practice worked for me when other forms of practice didn’t. It simply held my attention better. When you take my autism into account (structure, repetition, stimming-style use of mala etc) I can see why it’s the perfect form of meditation for me – once you’ve taken away the feudal and blind devotion bullshit side of it of course.

Why meditation is good for people with ADHD

Research backs up my experience, and I’ve written an article about how meditation works for ADHD on my Psychemagination website. If you’re interested in the details pop over and take a look.

What isn’t helpful for people with ADHD in Tibetan Buddhism

I mentioned that Vajrayana practice was good for me, but I always make the distinction between Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism because they are not the same thing. Tibetan Buddhism is just one version of Vajrayana, and Tibetan Buddhism isn’t all good for people with ADHD. Parts of it are, and parts of it aren’t.

Since I practiced alone at home and avoided group practices, I escaped the aspects of Tibetan Buddhism as displayed in Rigpa that are not ideal for anyone but are particularly a problem for people with ADHD. Aside from abuse, these are the cult control and manipulation tactics of pressure and shame: pressure to conform, to complete a certain number of mantras in a certain time, to be able to parrot the guru’s words back at him and so on; and the shame people are made to feel when they don’t meet the guru’s expectations.

What does work particularly well for people with ADHD are the structured practices with the use of imagery and imagination, mantra, chanting and the physical repetitive nature of flicking mala beads. These things just help to keep ADHD minds focused.

Has anyone else discovered they have ADHD or any other form of neurodivergence, or think they might have? Has it changed how you see your meditation experience?

My story of looking at myself through the neurodivergent framework is documented (illustrated with animated AI art) on Psychemagination: Journey into the Psyche. Do pop over, the site is changing and growing all the time.

A Guided Imaginative Meditation: A Modern Derivitive from an Ancient Tradition

After two decades of enjoying vajrayana-style meditation, I dropped it all when I discovered that institutionalised abuse was rampant in the tradition. I no longer wanted to have anything to do with visualising gurus.

However, I couldn’t forget the incredible peace and power that the practices gave me, and I found myself turning to an essentialised form of the practice, one free of the cultural and religous issues documented on this website, but that nevertheless includes all the elements of the original. I use my imagination to connect with my own guru, my own wisdom mind – which, after all, is exactly what the guru/lama represents in the Tibetan tradition anyway. I just cut out the middle man.

I can imagine the kind of response something like this might get from the traditionalists, but it’s actually not watered down. It’s just essential. It has all the core elements of Vajrayana without the optional extras. And actually, one of the things Sogyal Rinpoche was good at was essentialising the practices, so I thank him for leaving me with a clear sense of the core elements. Ian Maxwell also contributed hugely to my understanding of how the practices ‘worked’.

I finally created an actual guided practice using my animated AI generated art to help those unused to visualising, and also because it’s just so easy to put aside 6 minutes and listen to myself tell myself what to do!

You’ll notice that the practice as I’ve laid it out could be used for a refuge, healing or loving kindness practice. It can also easily go into tonglen. So it’s a very flexible practice, one you can be creative with depending on your needs on any one day.

Anyway, here’s links to the guided practice with visuals and music. Give it a go and see how it feels. I figure that it might appeal to the ‘younger’ generations – that makes me sound very old!

Is it far enough from the original to not trigger aversion and close enough not to lose its power? Let me know what you think.

Guided Imaginative Meditation with Visuals

If this video is all squished up, you can watch it on You Tube or on the Psychemagination Meditations page – fourth from the top.

More advanced versions will come later in a book on the practice.

If you download the written guide, you’ll also get the key to the Growing page of my latest passion project, the illustrated webbook at https://psychemagination.net/. Do pop over and see what I’ve been up to. It’s animated art illustrating a psychological and spiritual journey.

A 6 Minute Meditation Without Meditating

Meditation without meditating. What a great idea. Meditation practice, is, after all, practice for having a chill mind all the time, so anything that calls you back into that space, or any time you take a moment to breathe consciously. there it is, meditation without meditating. And that’s what I love about this video. It inspires me into a meditative state.

I combined a track of my husband Kris Newland’s inspirational chill music and my animated AI-generated art to create what I hope is an inspiring and soothing meditative experience.
Take 6 minutes to relax and enjoy it.

Do you like it? Does it give you a calm spacious feeling? Or is it only me?

Buy the music and find all music by Kris Newland here: https://krisnewland.bandcamp.com/

More meditation without meditating

The ‘Meditations’ page on Psychemagination has this video in vertical format if you want to watch it on your phone. It also has many very short videos with evocative music and imagery to help you take a mental break anytime.

While you’re there I hope you’ll read my webbook Psychemagination. It’s an animated AI art gallery in a webbook, the story is of an imaginative, contemplative and archetypal journey into mind and spirit.

Meditation Beyond the Temple

My take on meditation beyond the temple of religion, cults, and capitalism.

AI generated art by Tahlia Newland

One of the challenges for those who left a meditation / yoga / religious group disillusioned after revelations of abuse by our teachers was knowing what to discard and what to retain from the teachings and practice. Now 6 years after I walked away, my meditation practice (what little there is of it at present) has settled into something non-religious, based on vajrayana but pared right back to essentials, and that is a powerful tool for well-being.

What ‘works’ for me may work for others, so I decided to share what I know in an easily-digestable format, particularly in a place where I might help young people seeking meditation instruction in a world in which misconceptions and predators abound. So I’ve have a TikTok channel now https://www.tiktok.com/@simplybeingcreative. I also share my discovering-I’m-autistic journey and other aspects of my unique life in the rainforest. And I’ll be posting just the videos on meditation on the Beyond the Temple You Tube channel as well. You’ll find them on a playlist there titled ‘Meditation Beyond the Temple’.

This is the approach to meditation I take after 20 years of meditation practice & Buddhist studies followed by intense disallusionment with anything religious, cultish or dogmatic.

My emphasis will be on active and imaginative meditation, particularly with nuerodivergent people in mind – I have discovered that I am one!

I don’t think one can avoid the relationship between meditation and spirituality, given that the process of meditating uncovers that generally hidden aspect of ourselves, but it can be divorced from the worst excesses of religion and commodified dogmatic ‘spiritualiy’.

So watch the videos if you’re curious to see where I’ve landed in relationship to meditation, if you’re struggling with your meditation practice or it needs some extra inspiration, or if you’ve never meditated and are looking for some form of meditation that isn’t boring.

See all the videos in this series here.

(Note that there’s only one there at the time of posting this.)

And as time goes by I’ll be sharing resources for visualisation on the page by this name that I’ve added to the website, like this image I created by prompting an AI art generator.

To see all my AI Art
follow @TahliaDreaming_AIArt on Instagram