When I find myself feeling the weight of life from living in our so called "civilized world"; I know there is only one place that can really provide me peace and heal me. I go to where my heart, mind and body feel most free. Yes, where trees surround me and reach up to the sky above me. Where the silence is deafening to the noise in my mind. Where I am free of the distractions of humanity.... The wilderness!
Watching the news on any source of media these days has become a stress point in my life. On one hand, I want to be informed and on another, the volume of information to process is incredible and is emotionally draining. It saps our joy and love of life. It can make us numb to feeling even the best of emotions.
To this point I believe so much in the power and healing we can find in the wilderness. When we stand in the wilderness we make a choice not only to be vulnerable, but to allow ourselves a connection to our impermanence. Nothing can make us more aware of our mortality or the space we occupy on this planet and in this universe than to go where there is wilderness
I imagine the questions a zen master might ask their student. "What is this wilderness, and at what point does the wilderness begin or end?" When do we know we are in the wilderness? I suppose for me it is when I find myself surrounded by more of what occurs in nature and there is a noticeable absence of the things that are man-made or human.
Going into the wilderness takes a conscious effort for it an exercise in finding ourselves and our relationship to our place in the world. The wilderness is humbling. It can reminds us of our impermanence, and remind us of our relative smallness in the existence of everything.
Sometimes when I have been away from the wilderness too long, I have to relearn and rebuild my relationship to it. I have to find my place and know myself enough to become a part of the wild place. I have to listen to it and watch how I handle the moments provided to me. Am I listening? Am I watching? Am I connecting? What is the message the wilderness is telling me and what am I saying to it?
Now that spring is upon us, I pine for the pines, the streams, the animals, the mountains, and the elements. As we head up a trail, and into areas where human noises become rare if not heard at all for hours, is that the moment? Is wilderness just a state of mind? A place that exists only in our perception? Is it something that we take with us back to our man made world, held inside our spirit?
Can we find that same place when we are surrounded by man-made items, noises and distractions? Perhaps a little if we focus our minds while walking through a park, or sitting under a tree in our yards. We can build birdhouses to attract song birds, and we can landscape a garden to resemble the wilderness. But these attempts are meager at best. The wilderness exists with or without us visiting it. It requires very little of us to exist. And then again it requires us to leave it to its own processes for it to thrive.
The wilderness then is perhaps a connection we make with ourselves and our place on this planet. It is our place of ancestral origin. The place that we survived within before clearing spaces and creating a society. When we visit it we are put to judgement for our decision to abandon it. And it still allows us to come back to it but we will never belong again to it for very long.
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TENKARA AS PRACTICE
In this space I will continue to share my own musings, experiences and insights to tenkara as a practice that can help us live our best lives. Topics will range from minimalism, meditation and finding peace and lessons through tenkara.