Intimacy with the Wild

When ‘the other’ is alive, it is constantly transforming. In the case of ‘the other’ being our natural world, it is an endless teacher for Satya.

To truly see anything for what it is, we must accept its constant change. In nature, we are aware of its continuous flux.  We understand that plants are growing or dying, flowering or seeding, sprouting or hibernating.  As the seasons pass each year we see the rapid changes occur, which we accept as natures course.

I feel that since our natural world is honest with us, we therefore reflect honesty in return.  When I was immersed living in nature for 8 months, I learned just this. I lived under an 8x10ft wooden shelter tucked into the crevice of a huge overhanging granite slab in the wilderness of a tropical jungle.

While living in such a peaceful setting, un-obliged to do anything, I learned that the honesty with which the jungle treated me, provoked a deeper honesty within myself.  This immersion urged a profound gentleness in how I engaged with all relationships; in the way I spoke, walked, cooked food, and even in thoughts towards myself.

The jungle, like any natural environment, is unforgiving. At times tiny creatures would feed their colony from my food stash, other times mold would quickly occupy containers. My space was shared with a volume of insects and animals, as well as the relentless heat of the sun and sudden monsoon down pours.  As an intellectual creature, I took wise precautions to defend my food and bed while causing no harm.

I had little ‘protection’ from the wild elements, yet I felt safer than ever because I felt whatever it was that the jungle may inflict on me was more honest than the concerns I’d have living in an apartment in a city.

I often studied endlessly creatures’ instinctual movements in survival.  I understood that where I rested my head on the platform to sleep, they too were resting their heads beneath me.  Had I impeded on their small space I would be reminded by a sting, they are present.

As a result, I felt more connected to my surroundings.  I walked with a trusting bare-foot and a naked heart.  I responded respectfully to the fully-alive wilderness as it did to me.  I felt a deep responsibility for my actions, since they so easily affected the wildlife around me.

Just when I thought I had nature eloquently figured out, proudly feeling that the jungle and I were one….the jungle would again astonish me in its own fearless way. I couldn’t contain it as a fixed ideal, nor could I believe it was “on my side”….though in a way it was through honesty. Nature also isn’t one thing. It is a myriad of different functioning and changing layers that make it what it is…..and is a constant mystery. My relationship with the jungle became profoundly intimate.  I felt like the jungle knew me more deeply than I knew myself, and therefore was constantly revealing ‘myself’ to me. The jungle gave me unforeseeable clarity.  I was in love, and it showed love in return through its allowance for me to be there.  I was grateful for that.  It was honest.

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2 thoughts on “Intimacy with the Wild

  1. The Buddha said that those that take seven steps toward the forest with a wish to attain enlightenment are already half way there …

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