Today we are going to practice an outdoor concentration meditation. The object we will focus on is a flower. With your teacher’s permission, find a plant with flowers to sit down in front of. Make sure that you are sitting comfortably. You might consider folding up a sweater to sit on, or finding something to sit on off of the ground if the ground is not comfortable. Cross-legged seating is usually a good way to sit, but adjust as necessary.
We will begin by sitting up tall, with the crown of our heads reaching up toward the sky. Imagine that you are growing so tall that you can touch the clouds. Place your hands face down on your knees and close your eyes for a moment. Let your next in breath fill up your belly, and roll your shoulders up to your ears. Let your next out breath empty your belly and drop your shoulders away from your ears. Repeat this three more times. If you’d like, you can open your mouth on the out breath.
Now that we are comfortable and tuned into our breath, we can begin our concentration activity. Gently open your eyes and find a flower to look at that is easy to see, and that you don’t have to turn your head to see. Once you’ve found your flower, close your eyes halfway and see how long you can focus on the flower without blinking or closing your eyes all the way. Try to take in every part of the flower, including its color and shape.
When you need to blink, close your eyes and imagine the flower that you were just concentrating on. Can you remember the color and the shape of the flower? See if you can keep it at the front of your mind as if it were a picture. Focus on the picture you just created until it fades away. Once this happens, you can slowly open your eyes. See how well you remembered the flower that is in front of you.
Teachers and Students: You can practice this concentration activity with other objects too. If you practice with the same object (like a flower), see if you can keep your eyes open a little longer each time. Then when you close your eyes, see if you can make the picture in your mind clearer than the last time you practiced this activity. Notice if the practice becomes easier or harder to do.
Teachers: can have students reflect on this process. Can also have students do drawing activities based on the meditation.