How I Use Green and Blue Spaces For Spiritual Growth

I’m rediscovering the inner clarity I’ve been ignoring for years. I’m getting back to a state of pure, centred awareness

Thomas Oppong
Mystic Minds
5 min readJun 21, 2024

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Photo: By The Author (West Bay/Dorset)

I’m rewatching Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, a Netflix documentary on living an extraordinary life by author and longevity researcher Dan Buettner. “The series is the culmination of 20 years of identifying and studying the world’s longest-lived people,” Buettner told Netflix.

Buettner’s series confirmed everything I’ve learned about the value of getting close to natural spaces to experience pure presence, detachment from the mind’s clutter, and self-awakening.

Dozens of research state that the brain’s response to green and blue spaces is incredibly beneficial for long-term health.

“Depression, anxiety, anger, confusion, and fatigue are all psychological states that have benefited from green and blue space,” says forensic psychiatrist Melissa Piasecki.

It’s not just about living a long life for me; I’m also interested in how it takes me back to myself. I’m using both green spaces ((forests, parks) and blue spaces (oceans, rivers, lakes) to get closer to pure consciousness.

Lessons from green immersions

I live close to a forest reserve, and I take long walks inside the forest at least twice a week. I experience heightened awareness when on my long solitude walks.

City life is relentless. It can slowly take you away from yourself until the only thing left is a drained body separate from its core self.

Deep immersion in nature’s sights, sounds, and smells is one of the most practical ways I awaken my inner self and recover from mental clutter.

“The level of comfort and peace that I experience in the parks flows like a stream throughout my life, so that no matter where I am or what I am experiencing, there is a core of me that cannot be disturbed. It keeps me in balance all the time.” — Audrey Peterman

I use green immersions to take back control to live consciously. When I feel too overwhelmed by the noise of a busy life, I get back to basics. “Forest baths” is how I appreciate the simple act of being.

It’s also how I make time for mental and emotional clarity. It’s a return to the simplest version of myself, the one who existed before my self-imposed burdens. The version who finds joy in the pure act of just being conscious.

Spending time in green spaces is how I’m rediscovering my sense of wonder, the childlike awe I used to have for the outdoors. I’m using forest immersions to minimise mental chatter.

Pure awareness is the goal.

Any green space is a powerful reset button. Use it to slow down, breathe, and appreciate life in stillness.

Stephen & Rachel Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory (ART) also suggests nature retreats restore our very selves. They proposed states of attention we gain from nature immersion:

  1. “Clearer head, or concentration
  2. Mental fatigue recovery
  3. Soft fascination, or interest
  4. Reflection and restoration”

Most people have forgotten the inner peace that resides within. I can get back to myself if I’m quiet enough or slow down deliberately.

The wisdom of the sea

I don’t live close to the sea, but I like how it makes me feel whenever I spend time at the seaside. The pure sense of being it guarantees is worth every visit.

I aim just to be.

It’s a beautiful experience.

I’m considering moving closer to a sea town and immersing myself in everything it can guarantee to help me return to myself more often.

The sea is a gift of consciousness.

It doesn’t judge. It doesn’t care about my deadlines, to-do lists or my overflowing inbox. It simply is. And in its presence, I find a sense of peace. I mirror its state of being and remain at peace in the here and now.

I reconnect with my consciousness: the part of me that just wants to be. I let go. I deliberately get back to the part of me that wants to witness life as it is, not as I know. In the presence of the sea, I’m human consciousness in awe.

I use it to guide me back to the core of my being.

It’s not just about relaxation, though that’s certainly a welcome side effect. The sea inspires a good mood. Studies show a real connection between proximity to water and mental clarity.

In a few months, I will spend two weeks in the south of England. I will use two methods to reconnect with myself at the seaside.

I either focus on the sound or observe the nothingness of the water; I watch the waves roll in, crest, and crash without end. The sound of the sea is not just noise; it’s nature’s white noise that calms everything inside my head.

My thoughts slow down, and the internal chatter gives way to the same sound millions of people before me heard when they stopped to reconnect with themselves.

I become an observer, simply there in that moment of pure existence. And when it’s over, I become lighter, my mind unburdened.

In a “blue” space, I’m who I’m designed to be: pure consciousness.

I’m not deprived of awe.

At the seashore, the great calm remains.

“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”― Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Key takeaway

Our brains get overloaded. However, we can trigger relaxation or pure awareness in blue and green spaces.

At a park or near the sea, a shift happens.

Stress hormones like cortisol make way for feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. The mind slows down to take in the environment.

I’m using green and blue spaces to reconnect with myself, nature, and the simple joy of being. It’s doing wonders for my spiritual growth and mental health.

I’m rediscovering the inner clarity I’ve been ignoring for years. I’m getting back to a state of pure, centred awareness.

It has always been there.

Reconnecting with myself starts with awareness.

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Thomas Oppong
Mystic Minds

Making the wisdom of great thinkers instantly accessible. As seen on Forbes, Inc. and Business Insider. For my popular essays, go here: https://thomasoppong.com