By Liva Olina

Slow and gentle steps in the moss, watching every inch of the forest floor. Tender touch to the new pine tree branches to see what hides beneath. Your whispers blend together with bird songs and wind playing in the treetops. With every step and every deep breath your mind becomes emptier and senses become more alive. Your vision sharpens and your intuition starts to speak. You become one with the nature, you feel what she feels, you see what she sees…

Mushroom hunting. There is no other feeling like it. So meditative, so purifying and fulfilling at the same time, you see nature under the magnifying glass. You follow nature’s cycles and watch one season turning into another. You notice when the forest is thirsty and when it has rained enough. You are present in the moment, you are right there, right now. All your problems, all your “to do” lists and big life decisions stay outside the forest. When you focus on mushrooms, nothing else exists. It’s like seeing the world again through the eyes of a child, where there is no past and no future, just the exciting moment itself. But really… If we would think of past or future, we would learn from our mistakes and wouldn’t gather so many mushrooms that need to be cleaned afterwards all night long…

I believe that there are many kinds of meditation and not all of us need to sit in lotus pose to reach inner peace. For one person it is long runs through the park, another recharges while fishing in the early mornings. Do you know that feeling when you watch the sun rising over the lake at 4 am and nature slowly awakening in front of your eyes? The ones who know it, always go back for it.

Statistics say that 10% of Latvians consider mushroom hunting as a Latvian national sport. It’s hard for me to call it a sport, but it’s also hard for me to name any of my friends who don’t enjoy it. I don’t know if it’s a particular age we have reached or if I have a very special type of friends, but we are all more jealous about each other’s mushroom hunting adventures then a crazy night out.

Depending on where you are in Europe right now, you may still enjoy a few meditative moments out there in the forest while hunting mushrooms!