Many great masters have recommended going into the forest or on a mountain to meditate. While those can be very effective, in our modern culture, we don't always have the time required to reach those locations with our busy schedules. It is often said that the perfect hermitage is our own body, wherever we are. Our own Spiritual Director, Khenchen Lama Rinpoche, advocates that we do "outdoor meditation". With that in mind, we have selected examples of places for this in our home of Tucson, Arizona. Take lots of water and sunscreen!
Your own back yard. You may have flowers or other plants that enrich your view for meditative quiescence. Quick and easy:
One central location is Reid Park (between Randolph Way and Alvernon, and between Broadway and 22nd Street). This large city park has several nice options for meditation from rose gardens to hills and waterways:
Himmel Park (Tucson Blvd a block south of Speedway) also has some nice locations with views:
Fort Lowell Park (between Ft Lowell and Glenn, and off of Craycroft) has a nice small lake with a fountain with benches:
Sweetwater Wetlands (west of I-10 off of Prince, right on Business Center Dr, left onto River Park Dr, right onto Commerce Dr, left onto Behan Venture Dr, then left onto Sweetwater Dr; parking is on the left) has two wetland areas with benches, some shade:
Fee-based locations - If you don't mind paying a fee to support the location, here are two that we like:
The Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson (off of Alvernon between Grant and Pima) hosts a variety of small Japanese gardens and small exhibits, but does charge a fee:
Tohono Chul Park (east of Oracle on Ina, north on N Paseo del Norte) has lovely gardens and trails with several water works, benches and shade, as well as a nice bistro and galleries; but it does charge a fee (free to Tucson Art Museum members):
Longer Tips - If you have more time, here are a few longer trips that are very worth the extra time (be sure to take lots of water and sun screen!):
Aqua Caliente Park (12325 E Roger, off of Tanque Verde and N Soldier Trail) is one of our favorites, Tucson's own oasis:
Sabino Canyon (N Sabino Canyon Road from Tanque Verde) is a Tucson favorite. Walk or for a small fee, take the tram:
Tucson Mountain Park (west from Speedway or Anklam) or Gates Pass has a different form of natural beauty with grand vistas:
Mt Lemon (Catalina Highway off of Tanque Verde) is the place to go when it gets hot in town with many places to stop along the way and cool pines and aspen near the top (there is a fee or National Park Pass required to access the higher elevations):
May all beings be happy!