“Walking mindfully on the Earth can restore our peace and harmony, and it can restore Earth’s peace and harmony as well. We are children of the Earth. We rely on her for our happiness, and she relies on us also. Whether the Earth is beautiful, fresh and green, or arid and parched depends on our way of walking. When we practice walking meditation beautifully, we massage the Earth with our feet and plant seeds of joy and happiness with each step. Our Mother will heal us, and we will heal her.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
Feel the spring energy in the air? How about taking a meditative hike that takes you past a crystalline lake and the lowest-elevation stretch of the Appalachian Trail (AT) to one of the most dramatic scenic destinations in the Hudson Valley? Anthony’s Nose (900 feet) is only an hour outside of the city, and it will take you to fresh air, expansive vista, and blossoming trees. On this Earth Day (4/22) weekend, take a walk into the woods to connect with nature and ourselves. We’ll integrate sitting and walking nature meditation throughout the hike. Some examples of practices may include the following, but actual practices will vary based on location and weather.
- Sensory and Tactical Awareness
- Non-Conceptual Awareness: Letting go of existing concepts and focus on direct experience
- Expansive Awareness: Dissolving into the sky
- Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
- Tree Meditation
- Practices on Relating to Mother Earth
Most of the hike will be observed in silence. John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences. Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences. Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness falls away in nature. The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices. As we become intimate with the natural world, we become intimate with ourselves.
The hike is about 4 miles. We will follow the Camp Smith trail up that has a less steep ascent than the Bear Mountain Bridge trail. After lunch, depending on the group’s energy and comfort level, we’ll either hike back down the Camp Smith trail or the Bear Mountain Bridge trail. Please bring your lunch and plenty of water for the trail.
Who: Jon Aaron and Lin Gordon
When: 8:30am-5:30pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018
Where: Anthony’s Nose, Cortlandt, NY; trail begins in Bear Mountain State Park
Train Meeting Location and Time: 8:25am sharp at the clock, Grand Central or 10am at the Manitou train station, Metro North, Hudson Line. We’ll be taking the 8:45am train up. Once we all meet up at the Manitou train station, we will walk to the trailhead (about 1.3 miles).
Trailhead Meeting Location and Time: 10:20am at the Appalachian Trail head (Camp Smith trail) on South Mountain Pass Road.
Direction from the Manitou train station:
You will ascend Manitou Station Rd, cross 9d (0.6 miles) where it changes its name to Manitou Rd. In 0.2 miles it ends on South Mountain Pass Road. Take a right and ascend. In another 0.5 miles, or 1.3 miles from where you got off the train at Manitou Station, a poorly maintained turnoff will appear on the right. Opposite on the left side of South Mountain Pass Road, you will see the markings of the Appalachian Trail as 2 white rectangles, one diagonally above the other indication a turn in the trail. Follow the turnoff to the right and cross around the gate, where the cue sheet begins. We’ll meet at the gate.
Below is the picture of the parking space in front of the trailhead:
Registration Fee: Sliding scale at $35, $50, or $65.
No prior meditation experience needed.
- Your lunch
- Ample snacks
- At least three liters of water
- A backpack
- Organic tick repellent (optional)
- Organic bug repellent (optional)
- Sitting props if needed (thermal rest z-seat pad, light yoga block, etc.)
- Comfortable athletic clothing
- Hiking boots
Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York Insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitioner and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.
Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last seven years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she completed Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Nature Meditation Teacher Training in 2017.