Intentions are powerful forces for the psyche. Setting an intention is like putting out a message into the Universe announcing your arrival at a certain point in time and space, instead of following the whims of randomness. When you set an intention, you participate in the Law of Attraction because you have already visualized the outcome of what you want, although you may not always know the path you’re going to take to get there. If you’d like to have a more soulful experience in nature, you will want to set an intention before you begin your hike. Setting an intention at the beginning can improve your experience.
Setting an intention before a hike can enable you to connect deeper to your soul, notice signs from nature, get answers to personal questions (inner-knowing) and expand your awareness. You can set a casual intention, such as, “I intend to relax fully and not dwell on my usual issues during the next hour.” Or, you can have a more serious, deeper intention that requires more of an awareness and mindfulness, such as, “I intend to open up to any messages, omens and signs from nature to answer a question that’s been on my mind for a while.”
I’m constantly amazed at the difference it makes to go hiking without an intention—just to socialize or get some exercise, for example—and to go with an intention. I have gone on contemplative hikes where I have had amazing and magical experiences, where animals seemed to communicate with me either directly or in an extrasensory way, or I’ve seen mysterious things, or have received signs that answered a personal question that was plaguing me.
Here’s how to set an intention for a contemplative hike:
- Get a feel for what you need in the moment. Is there a question that’s on your mind? A worry? Are you wanting a deeper connection to soul? Do you want to celebrate a transition in your life? Do you want to really notice something new on the trail that you haven’t experienced before? Think about what is compelling you in this moment in time.
- Form an intention around your desire and need by saying the sentence, out loud, before you begin the hike. “I intend to stay open to any omens and signs around the question or why I’ve been feeling _____ lately.” It’s important to say it out loud, to direct it at the trees, the sky, the mountains and meadows, and to hear yourself stating the intention. It doesn’t have to be loud so that others can hear. As long as YOU can hear yourself proclaim it.
- Ask the land, the trees, the animals, the plants to support your intention and to help you with it. Ask out loud. “Mountain, please send your positive energy my way and help me with my intention.”
- Give yourself a brief moment of acknowledgement and silence to allow the intention to sink in. Stand for a minute or so, eyes open or closed, feeling the ground beneath your feet and the sky above your body. Take a deep breath.
- As you embark on your hike, try to keep the intention in the back of your mind, but don’t dwell on it. You’ve put the energy “out there,” so now allow yourself to receive. Feel what the energy of receiving is like, versus asking or proclaiming. Trust that you will get the answer you seek, or the experience you need.
Most likely the experience you want won’t look quite like you expect. It’s always fascinating to see what surprises, both good and bad, wait around the corner, both on the trail and in life. The unexpected, the mysterious, and the challenging are all teaching moments from the soul.