You can get high for free here!

17th Mar 2019
Photo of You can get high for free here! by Siddharth Varma

You can get high for free here!

Okay, so I might have lied a little bit here, but it is not really the kind of high you expect. It’s more like meditation. But wait, don’t close this window yet.

If for nothing else, stay for a super cute GIF of cute bunnies kissing bunnies. I mean, you would have to be dead from inside to not want to see that.

Hi guys!

Today I am gonna introduce to you the idea of Shrinin Yoku, a Japanese word that translates to forest bathing. And no, don't think of stripping nude in the forest under a waterfall – that will get you into trouble for indecent exposure. Trust me, I know.

Now forest bathing is a relatively new phenomenon of healing that originated in Japan. It is based on the Zen philosophy, of healing the mind and soul through connecting with nature.

Photo of You can get high for free here! 1/6 by Siddharth Varma
Trying forest bathing & feeling like the Buddha.

Now some of you might probably roll your eyes, and be like ‘uhh this is gonna be about god or something’ or ‘I bet this doesn’t even work, and I am skeptical about this’.

First, don’t assume. I am not religious. This is more on the lines of spirituality. Which is totally different. Secondly, all I can say is, you are right in being skeptical. Yeah, you heard me right. Don’t be a blind reader who will believe anything you read. Now for all my skeptic mates, this is a science. The underlying principle is of biophilia and for your perusal; I’ll even link a few academic papers at the end.

How to do it?

Now one doesn’t always need a heavily dense forest to do this. In fact, any area works, given you can’t see buildings from there. For this to work, one has to ditch their phone and iPod and connect with nature through one's senses. Find a nice, peaceful place to sit. You don’t have to sit in the meditation pose; you just need to be comfortable.

Photo of You can get high for free here! 2/6 by Siddharth Varma
Forest bathing can be done even in a park.

I would advise that you close your eyes. Try listening to any and every sound in the area, be it from man, machine or nature. Try identifying the different smells around you, feel the wind move through your hair, gently touching the back of your neck. I am not gonna lie, but for someone like me, who has a very short attention span, it was very hard. But it was not impossible.

Photo of You can get high for free here! 3/6 by Siddharth Varma
Exploring the forest with my senses.

My Experience

My experience was in Sanjay van; one of the few places that have an abundance of nature. The initial walk to find a spot took 25 minutes. While that walking was happening, I could feel some initial effects.

I was getting happier and more relaxed; my strict body language was loosening up a bit. Once I found my spot, the initial concentrating part was hard. My mind moving ater than a white man running to the toilet after eating indian food. I trued to concentrate on the wind, which was ruffling my perfect hair or the sunlight hitting my face, or the sound of bees buzzing. I felt distracted and I tried to focus on one sensation, which didn’t work.

My thoughts were jumping more than a baby kangaroo, till I did something counter-intuitive I let my thoughts go wild. I didn’t control it, since any way controlling it wasn’t working. After 5 minutes of jumping around, my thoughts slowed down. And I was able to focus better. After 20 minutes, which I didn’t realise, passed, the effects took place.

I felt calm and content. It was calmness like I was high, without time being fucked up. Instead of feeling like an idiot I felt like I was in control. I felt like the Buddha.

As I walked out of that forest, I felt fulfilled. A lot of my insecurities, which I am battling on a daily basis, didn’t feel like a big thing. I always have a fear that people will leave me, but in that moment, I didn’t feel that I should be worried.

I often pretend to be someone I am not in the hope, people would like me. If they left it was always my fault. The panic and anxiety that follows this thought didn’t come. Even my narcissm, which is nothing more than an over compensation for my low self esteem felt ridicules. Rather in that momemet I felt so genuine so vulnerable yet it felt great, so free. Hell, I even felt good looking, and that I deserved happiness, which was not something that I feel often.

Photo of You can get high for free here! 4/6 by Siddharth Varma
leaving the forest with my anxiety, fear and stress.

That feeling of security was like a perfect trip that I am craving for again. The only shortcoming is this feeling didn’t last long, it was there in my system for 30 minutes, but once it vanished reality crashed back. Suddenly anxiety and fear took their place. If you are wondering why I am writing this now, well its cause I like talking about the truth of my experience and that comes with the good , the bad the ugly and there is no running away from it.

Photo of You can get high for free here! 5/6 by Siddharth Varma
that stress, anxiety came back in 30 mins.

In fact, it felt like therapy and just like any therapy, it is not a one-day process. For long term results you gotta do it again and again. My advice is to go try it; you never know how experience changes you (and it is not like it is a paid experience, what have you got to lose.)

Now if you read the article, I hope it helped or inspired you to try this, if it didn’t, I hope this brings a smile on your face.

Photo of You can get high for free here! 6/6 by Siddharth Varma

Links to Read

-The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan

-Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function

-Trends in research related to “Shinrin-yoku” (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) in Japan

-Effect of forest bathing on physiological and psychological responses in young Japanese male subjects