Why the Desert Inspires Meditation

desert inspires meditationThere are certain environments that simply promote deep, meditative thinking, and the desert is definitely one of them. The desert is a place of stark natural beauty with an incredible amount of space and open sky. The isolation of the desert is what makes it ideal for meditation. Meditation requires extended silence, which can typically only be found in nature. Other natural areas can be popular destinations for hikers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts, but because the desert is a more harsh natural environment, fewer animals, people and even forms of vegetation are found there. The desert is a place of widespread silence; ideal conditions for moving the self far from the reality of the manmade world and back to the reality of the natural world.

The beauty of nature puts one into a meditative state, and it would seem that the landscape of the desert is especially strong for this quality. There is something about the other-worldly rock formations of sandstone, the horizon line of cactus and the unusual, drought resistant plant life that make us feel like we have walked into a different plane of existence. Psychologically, it seems there is something about the wide open space of the desert that gives us the feeling of broad scope. Compared to the looming high canopies of the Pacific Northwest that inhibit vision of the nearest hills and mountains, the open sky of the desert comes with a feeling of wide reaching vision, which enhances the meditative journey.

Because the desert is so stark, it also serves as an environment largely free from distractions. The colors, variations and shapes of the desert are largey subdued compared to a tropical or garden environment. This freedom from things that steal one’s attention help to aid deep meditation. The practice of stopping the flow of thoughts can be quite difficult, especially for beginners, so the more isolated the meditation environment, the more naturally one will go deep inside themselves to experience the world intuitively instead of attempting to break it down into disjointed thoughts.