05/16/2014 12:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Nature is the Doorway to Peace and the Key For Entry Just Might Surprise You

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

American contemporary spiritual teacher and author Ram Das taught us that the doorway to peace is through the now moment, yet most of us are left wondering: how do we get to now, from here?

Thankfully, finding this peaceful now moment is far easier than any of us might imagine.
So easy in fact, that most of us forget that this pathway to peace is available in every moment.

Too often we assume peace only comes through meditation, time away from work, or on two week vacations; but peace and this elusive now moment are found right outside your front door - in nature.

Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg uses time-lapse technology to show us hidden glimpses of nature we've all come to take for granted, from ocean currents to dragonfly wings.

Something funny happened between my ooh's and ahh's while watching his film, I found myself feeling deeply peaceful. The world around me seemed to disappear and my body felt relaxed as though I had experienced a massage.

I had a glimpse of this elusive feeling early one ordinary morning while sitting on my deck drinking coffee. The sun was warming my neck as the sudden song of birds caught my attention in a nearby tree. The scent of coffee enveloped me as I sipped from the steaming cup, and the sight of sprinklers catching sunlight caught my attention.

I found myself completely captivated in that single moment of time as deep peace flooded my body, and I realized every sense was heightened.

The warm feeling of the sun first caught my attention, followed by the unexpected bird song stimulating my hearing. This combination put me in such a state of awareness that I was acutely sensitive to the smell and taste of coffee as never before.

In that unexpected instant, I felt the power of the holy elusive now.

I was aware of everything at once - it seemed as though time had stopped. When the sprinklers came on, my breath was taken away by the sparkle of early morning sunlight catching each drop of water in what seemed to be miraculous prisms of light.

While I've sat on this deck on a regular basis, this moment was uniquely special because all of my senses were on high alert.

I wondered: did I just have a magical out of time moment, or is this what it's really like to be in the present moment?

Was it my attention to all of my senses at once that led to this feeling of bliss? I believe the answer is yes.

I've since realized, this now moment is easily accessible; yet we forget that our way into it is deeply tied to nature and accessible through our senses.

If we would simply step outside and ask ourselves: "What do i smell right now? What do I hear? What am I physically feeling or touching? What do I taste? What am I seeing?", we would arrive in a miraculous moment of peace.

Years ago while traveling solo on the island of Bali, I found myself alone in the village of Ubud. Never before had all of my senses been heightened at once and I routinely found myself just sitting, just staring into space, blissed out and far removed from time as I knew it. I felt beyond peaceful, I felt something I can only equate to a full immersion in the now.

One afternoon while sitting alone in the warm sun, I closed my eyes and counted the number of sounds I heard in the moment--the number hit 14. The more I listened, the more I heard: chimes, monkeys, motor scooters, children laughing, bells ringing, pots and pans being washed, honking, singing, birds chirping, dogs barking, roosters in the distance -- it was far more than my ears would normally sense, and I experienced incredible joy as my attention was single focused on hearing the sounds surrounding me.

Next, I turned my attention to the smells of incense, tropical forest decomposing, cooking in the distance, burning wood, heavy humidity and the exhaust from motor scooters. Each smell combined in that one moment created a perfume that can't accurately be described in words; I was in heaven.

I played with all five senses throughout my trip by smelling, hearing, seeing, feeling and tasting. Two weeks later I returned home feeling more peaceful than I had in my entire life.

It's been years now since that trip, yet while sitting in nature one sleepy morning, I was transported back through the portal of my own senses to a place of bliss, the "now" moment.

So the next time you're feeling stressed, step into nature and ask yourself: What do I see? What do I hear? What do I smell? What do I taste? and What do I feel?

Stretch your awareness and ask: Are there flowers in sight? How many shades of green do I see?Do I smell water or grass? What does the air feel like as it brushes my skin? Where do I feel the sun on my body? What do I hear? What are the clouds doing? Is the light changing? Does the air feel moist or dry?

We may not be able to view our world through time-lapse technology like filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, but we can slow down and tune into our senses while outside in nature. Our five senses are the keys that unlock the door to the now moment- and through that doorway, peace resides.

Via Tamara Star Daily

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