becoming unbound: where's your zen?

an iphone photo of the forest in my backyard

i snapped this pic in the forest behind my home yesterday, a place so serene that my heart immediately opens, swells, and almost bursts upon its first sight.

this is my little piece of paradise, this is my zen.

this is were i remind myself what it’s like to be unbound.

do you have a special place where you go for a private retreat, where you go to recharge? do you have a place where you can be alone with yourself, at one with everything that’s happening all around, free from distraction, including that incessant noise and chatter echoing inside your mind? do you have a place where everything seems to be easier all at once, where your stresses just effortlessly fade away, where your shoulders loosen and relax, where you're able to breathe deeply and intentionally, and be rid of all the anxieties you bear?

for me, this is the smell of the trees. this is the scent of the immense energy of our existence, rising up from all the countless past centuries, from the freshness of the woods, and all the fallen leaves on the forest floor. this is the wet earth, the vibrant colours of the season, the crumbling old stumps becoming soil. this is the smell of the rains as they brew their eternal tea, with all the sticks and twigs, the herbs and moss, the climbing vines, and all the myriad mushrooms, crouching together, as one, with all the flora and fauna. this is where i feel at home, where i can listen and feel the planet breathe. this is the spirit of the mountain; this is the essence of the rains of life, as they fall down on the hills of the shores of the Pacific Northwest coast.

this is my zen.

the peace we find in a place like this is no different from the open, aware consciousness we already have within us. it’s there at all times. in fact, it's right here, right now, and it follows you wherever you go.

our problem though, is that we rarely see it. it’s obscured by all of our layers of thought, all of our assumptions and expectations, and all of the complexities in our lives that we cling to.

our lives can become easier. our struggles can end when we recognize this openness, when we uncover it and tap into it, regardless of where we are or what we’re doing.

this is living in the moment.

places like this forest remind us of what it’s like to be free. they return us to ourselves, unbounded, so that we can bring its peace and tranquility back into our daily lives.

so, where’s your zen?

brian thompson