Six mindful encounters with spring

It’s spring in the northern hemisphere and we can all celebrate this renewal of life as it blooms around us. To enhance your experience of this magical time of year, we have compiled a list of relevant mindful practices, which includes sounds from nature, guided meditations, and contemplations. They can all be found on the Plum Village App, or on other Plum Village platforms. 

1. Spring meditation 

Any guided meditation can befit any season, as the energy of mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. However, this meditation, guided by Brother Phap Linh, will particularly help us to nourish joy in this season and to connect with its energy.

Find a comfortable position, either seated or lying down, which allows  your back to be straight and relaxed so that your breath can flow freely in and out. To make the most of this warm, fragrant season, you may want to practice this short, 20-minute meditation outside, or near an open window.

You can listen to this audio (with bells) on YouTube and on the Plum Village App (there is also a long version of this meditation). 

2. Robins

Longer, warmer days provide ever better conditions to practice meditation in nature. Focusing on sounds around us, especially sounds of nature, can become a mindful moment, enhancing our connection to the surrounding world. Birds, insects, the wind, rivers, or the rain: these sounds can be calming, bringing us peace in a world too often polluted with the typically urban noises of traffic, sirens, loud music, revellers, and industry.  

The robins chirping and singing in our audio clip were recorded by monastics in the green Upper Hamlet (Plum Village). Since robins sing nearly year-round – even at night, near artificial lights – we may find them, or other vocal bird species singing live in our backyard or neighboring green spaces. We just need to give them our full attention.

But, in case there aren’t any birds serenading you in your neighborhood, here is almost an hour of robins singing : 

3. Tangerine meditation 

“Take a tangerine or any piece of fresh fruit and find a quiet place”: rather than being about a specific fruit, this meditation relates to the simplest gestures, such as eating a piece of fruit. 

This particular four-minute meditation is guided by Brother Phap Linh, but many other similar tangerine meditations are also available, guided by other monastics, including Thay himself. 

“Our practice is to enjoy the kingdom every moment of our daily life. Whether you are walking, sitting, or having breakfast, you can always do it in the kingdom of God. This is possible, this is not a theory. With mindfulness and concentration, we can dwell in the kingdom where there is understanding, love and true life” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Memories from the Root Temple: Tangerines in Heaven.

4. Walking Tenderly: guided contemplation

Walking Tenderly is the third in a series of ten audio-guided contemplations on Mother Earth written by Thich Nhat Hanh, read by Sister True Dedication. Every time we place our feet on the earth, we have the chance to be in touch with all the wonders of our precious Mother Earth. Mindful walking is tender walking: an opportunity to bring body and mind to this encounter with blooming nature, and to create moments of happiness in the here and now. 

“Every step I take on you with love and tenderness. I will train myself to see the truth that I am you; I am the earth. And as I walk, I am walking not merely on matter, but on spirit.”         

Listen to this short guided contemplation before or during your mindful walk:

5. Spring retreat  

We can sprinkle all of the above practices throughout the day, rejoicing at this life-affirming season of renewal, abundant in the sounds and fragrances of nature. However, for those who need a more consistent approach to the practice, and to community, a retreat is a great way to be guided through the practice, while also creating an encapsulating, wholesome routine with sharing, meditation, talks, and physical movement.

Several online retreats are taking place in Plum Village this spring, with registration opening days before they start. These are announced well in advance, and some retreats cater to practitioners who speak different languages. Though, due to the ongoing global pandemic, retreats are currently taking place online only, they can still offer increased opportunities to connect to your immediate environment, while also interacting virtually with monastics and other practitioners around the world. 

Have a look at what’s coming this spring and summer.

6. Drinking tea

And last (but not least), however we embrace spring, drinking our cups of tea mindfully – a sacred practice of connection with nature – is always a good idea. 

The Plum Village App is here to support you; it is free to use and contains a range of guided meditations and talks.

If you can afford to, support us to continue offering it freely to the world.

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