John Muir said that the contents of the human soul contain the whole world. Practicing this meditation helps you consciously affirm, and intuitively experience, your oneness with Life. While doing this exercise in the California Mountains, one woman said, “At first I felt as though I were composing a picture; then suddenly I found I was the picture.”
- Find a pleasant place outdoors with a distant view and an interesting foreground. Look also, if possible, for natural movement of some kind — like a rippling lake or swaying trees.
- Sit down, close your eyes, and become aware of your body.
- Then open your eyes and extend your awareness beyond your body just a few feet to include the nearby grasses, rocks, and insects. Feel yourself moving and becoming alive in them. Try to feel that you are in everything you see, as much as you are in your own body.
- Do this for a couple of minutes. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to what’s before you.
- Now broaden your awareness to include the nearby shrubs and trees. Relax and allow your attention to flow spontaneously, from the closest grasses and pebbles to the nearest trees.
- Continue expanding your visual awareness gradually in stages until finally it reaches the distant ridges and vast blue sky. Feel that everything you see is part of you. Finally… let your awareness flow freely to whatever interests it… Feel inside yourself… the sky… trees… and grasses waving.
- End your meditation by repeating the following prayer by Swami Kriyananda:
I feel myself in the flowing brooks, in the flight of birds, in the raging wind upon the mountain, in the gentle dance of flowers in a breeze. Renouncing my little, egoic self, I expand with my great, soul-Self everywhere!
Practice Expanding Circles for as long as you feel inspired. I have used this technique for several hours at a time in places like the Grand Canyon. For your first time, however, I recommend trying it for fifteen minutes. To deepen your experience of Expanding Circles, first practice a meditation technique like Hong-Sau.