Am I a certified 100% Organic Free Range Human Being?
It’s the land that time forgot, full of lore, mystery, and legend. It’s where monkeys swing through the trees and nature is in full play.”
~ a quote from Ulpotha’s website.
I just came back from teaching at Ulpotha, a retreat site in the heart of Sri Lanka. The land is beyond incredible. It is wild, serene, majestic, simple, non-linear, magical, soft, fun, beautiful, mysterious, …I can go on and on listing the wonder of this land.
There is no electricity so when night comes, there are lamps, and lanterns to light the path, the dining place, the bathrooms, and the mud huts. Yes, I slept in a mud hut of an open design that has no door or enclosed windows for two weeks. There is no refrigerator in the kitchen and the kitchen staff use open fires to cook. And the food was amazing! There are monkeys (some with red faces, and some with grey mohawk-like hairdos) on trees around the land. I would meet many of them on the path to the Yoga Shala where I taught yoga and dance.
During my stay I saw three snakes, a big lizard, cows, buffaloes, goats, spiders, dogs, ants, fireflies, fish, millipedes, squirrels, frogs, many monkeys, and other unusual looking insects that I do not have names for. I tasted and frolicked in the wild waters of the stream after a day and night of heavy downpour of rain. I climbed rocks and boulders so I was on higher ground and closer to the vast sky as I taught yoga. I visited the local temple, bowed to the Buddhas in the cave, and saw a real skeleton that was donated to the temple and the monks use it to contemplate on death and impermanence. I slept in the tree house, and took naps in the swing bed by the beautiful lake. And every night, before I fell asleep in my bed surrounded with a mosquito net, using my flash light as a source of light, I began in my journal with the same question, “How did I re-wild myself today?”
What does re-wild mean?
To me, it is a conscious practice to balance my interaction with nature and the modern world. It is a conscious practice of taking time off from looking at the screens of my computer and iPhone and to look at the screen of nature. It is a conscious practice of not measuring the worth of me according to how many things I achieve or do within a day. It is a conscious practice of training the mind to slow down and see the radiance and beauty of what is around me. It is a conscious practice of making choices out of love instead of out of fear. It is a conscious practice of noticing and stopping any domestication of the Self coming either from me or society. Just two weeks of living without electricity and sleeping in a simple mud hut have given me time and encouragement to have direct experiences of being one with nature. A quality of being that words cannot fully describe. There is a rhythm in me that resonates with the rhythm of the natural world. The more I move and be in nature, the more present and peaceful I become.
I am a wild thing like nature. There are no straight lines in me. I am inherently organic and free. There is a natural creative process in me that facilities growth, injects vitality and repairs brokenness. I am a unique creation like everything else under the sun. No box can contain me as I am unpredictable and my evolution is full of surprises. The same universal principle that governs nature governs me. That is the teaching of Tao. As the year comes to an end, perhaps this is a good time to reflect on our lifestyle thus far. What can we do to return to the natural way of life more? How do I simplify my life so that I have time to hear my own breath and feel the dance of divinity moving in me? How do we learn from nature to bring creativity, harmony, mystery, beauty, and unconditional love back to our own beings? To me, these are worthy quests for the sanity of our wellbeing and the preservation of our human race.
My evolution as a human being and a teacher would have not been possible if you have not shared so generously with me on this path of awakening. I am eternally grateful for your companionship.