Away from city’s madness…
Living in a city is good and comfortable at times. But at times it drives one crazy, and I just long to escape into Nature’s lap. Once there, it feels so natural to be there, to live amidst greenery, lakes and forests. It makes me feel so alive and each moment feels sharper and crisper. It is like viewing a movie in HD quality instead of a low resolution one. And I realize how much happier one can be in the natural surroundings; one just blends into the overall picture, and boundaries start blurring. You expand.. This expansion (of the consciousness) becomes a spiritual experience if it’s felt for a sufficient time. It’s really hard to feel the expansion on a short weekend break. One needs time to shed one’s inhibitions and prejudices before merging oneself with the surroundings. You need time to let go certain things acquired by living in the city. The feeling of being “separate” from everything must go. The worries, the tensions, must go. And they do go! And then you realize how small and insignificant they can be when laid against the backdrop of majestic nature. It is not that the worries or problems do not matter for us any longer. It is just that they become smaller than us…because our consciousness begins to expand… Needless to say that, solutions to problems, insights, realizations dawn upon us in peaceful, quiet natural places. The mind slowly becomes peaceful like a lake with still water, reflecting only the surrounding landscape and beauty!
Later, gratitude comes into the picture. That is the next level. It needs time to get to this level: feeling gratitude for one’s life and blessings, for problems and confusions, for one’s dear people and so on..the list could be endless..
Once sitting on a rock in a very beautiful natural place, I was constantly bitten by mosquitoes. The sun was rising and the early morning air was still damp. After some time of battling the mosquitoes and trying to cover myself with some shawl, I finally gave up! I felt- “let them bite, let them be. I cannot afford to leave this great place because of them”! After some time, as the sun rose I was lost in the beauty and the mosquitoes left me in peace. They made me focus on my surroundings as I could not do anything else with them! It was a moment of bliss, understanding and gratitude. Such small lessons keep happening when you are in the wild, away from the “civilized” world..
Coming back to city feels like coming out of a dream. And those small things appear to be magical and wonderful. I start missing so many things when away from Mother Nature. I miss things like: walking on the sand, on big and small rocks; climbing uphill and then stopping to catch my breath; the rustle of autumn leaves under my feet (in Russia); the forest that smells of different plants unknown to me; hugging trees, touching new leaves; a swim in a natural lake; chirping of the birds especially in the mornings and evenings, the breeze blowing in my hair, the blue – blue sky and so much more..
When camping in a forest area there are other experiences full of learning and fun. Like many times due to rainy weather we could not light a fire because all wood became wet. Finally someone would light the fire with help of a kerosene tablet and old newspaper. Could there be something more joyful at that time than the sight of fire? So would be with tea, hot food or even plain biscuits.. All work is done differently than in a comfortable home kitchen. You have to make an effort for every small thing- starting from lighting the fire, bringing water and making tea over the camp fire. And then you savor and cherish every bite. And feel genuinely happy for each bite – amazing feeling! A forgotten feeling in our daily city lives, full of comfort and instant solutions for every need… To experience Gratitude one must go through difficulties in the materialistic plane (I am not suggesting to leave the civilization completely!))
Another magical moment when camping is putting up a tent and organizing your tiny living space. If you have seen a camping tent you know that it is packed into a small bundle. Once you install, it becomes your home – your home for those few days; a very delicate house that could be blown away by a strong breeze or could get wet in a heavy rain. And yet, with all its vulnerable properties it is a HOME. And inside you feel safe and warm. Once lying in my sleeping bag it dawned upon me that what a thin piece of material separates me from the outside world. And what surprised me was the fact that this thin piece is ENOUGH..just enough! I do not need bricks and wood or cement to make a wall around myself; because I do not need much protection. I am already protected, unlike when I am in the city. There are no real dangers amidst Nature. I trust my surroundings, they can not do me harm! I feel the importance of what the camping tent taught me – walls need not be THICK and SOLID to make one feel safe, they can be FLUID and FLEXIBLE! And if some day you decide that you do not need them at all it is easy to remove them.. A flexible home could lead to a flexible mind..)))
I would suggest anyone who wants to get rid of some fears in social life to try camping once. A very useful experience is to live in a thin camping tent and be close to Mother Earth for some time.
And so, it leads me to a thought that there must be something like “Travel Therapy” (TT)!!! I am sure it is a therapy or a learning course, training in life skills – whatever you call it. It is something anyone could do. It need not be a very far place from your home. But it must be a peaceful, clean natural place. It would greatly help to connect to yourself. Stay alone or take just two or three like minded people who feel a similar need. Give time to yourself. Travel not only for the sake of seeing new PLACES; travel also for the sake of seeing YOURSELF in those places blended in the surroundings. That might bring you to a new level of awareness. It will expand the mind and one’s perceptions of life. And only when you EXPAND there is more space. And, that SPACE can be filled with LOVE in your heart. I think, a journey is complete when it fills your heart with more love than before you set out! And thus, TT has served its purpose!
Text and photos: Copyright © June 2017 Inesa Sinha