Ramblings > Call of The Wild

Wilderness: a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. The word, "wilderness", derives from the notion of "wildness"; in other words that which is not controllable by humans. - Wikipedia
What is it about the blank areas on a map that so fascinates men? Is it curiosity, is it fear, or perhaps something long embedded in our souls? A longing to explore, to wander into the unknown? I think perhaps it is all of these! Wilderness has played a huge role in shaping the human psyche, the human being and civilization itself.
Anciently, wilderness has traditionally been recognized as a place of inspiration for introspection, spiritual enlightenment, personal growth and self-analysis. We find these roots in the formation of each of the worlds major religions. Heavy wilderness metaphors can be found sprinkled in the writings and teachings of Jesus, Moses, the Desert Fathers, Lao Tzu, Buddha & Mohamed. These "Voices from the wilderness" recognized mans "place in the natural world", as PART of the Spiritual landscape, NOT alien to it!
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” -Matthew 6:28-29
"Keep your mouth closed. Guard your senses. Temper your sharpness. Simplify your problems. Mask your brightness. Be at one with the dust of the earth. This is primal union....He who has achieved this state is unconcerned with friends and enemies, with good and harm, with honor and disgrace. This therefore is the highest state of man." -Lao Tzu 
“Standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world.  And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit,...And I saw that it was holy.”  -Black Elk
In modern times, wilderness and its prophets have played key roles in the formation of the United States. Early American writers and the Founding Founders saw in the untouched wildness the hopes of a "Land of Liberty: Home of the Free, Land of the Brave". The writings of Thoreau, Whitman, Emerson and Muir fueled the western expansion and the dreams and aspirations of explorers for generations.
In recent years, the industrial and digital revolutions have given birth to a new lifestyle, which has weakened our connections to the earth, community, our ancestors and OURSELVES! We as a people, seem to be moving farther and farther from our roots and with it we become increasingly unhealthy physically, mentally and spiritually. Our connection with the land is now remote, we seldom glimpse the source of our roots, our attempts to connect with our past include: visits to the zoo, city park or river-walk, Discovery channel, a ski resort or an afternoon drive through the closest National Park.  
Let us probe the silent places
Let us seek what luck betides us
Let us journey to a lonely land I know
There’s a whisper on the night-wind
There’s a star agleam to guide us
And the Wild is calling, calling – let us go.   
                                                       - Robert Service
However, All is not lost! Empty spots on the map still exist. Wilderness can change you and with it society. As in days of old, Wilderness can be a tool for personal growth and societal change. The following is a list of poignant elements that wilderness inspires and/or provides:
  • Reflection: Wilderness is a new experience, free from our daily routine. It provides an opportunity to "see" the world through one's own eyes. A chance to hit the "Reset button".
  • Ancestral Connection: Wilderness stirs longing for a connection to those past. "Modern Man" is a relatively recent moment in time. Our ancestors lived close to the earth for millennia. Wilderness stirs deep feelings and desires for a sense of belonging, tribal support and security.
  • Rite Of Passage: Used globally as a transitional event guiding one through the phases of life. Wilderness provides an effective form of "Rite", in a society which rejects the need for such initiations through life's stages.
  • Spiritual Connection: Wilderness is home to more than a plethora of "feral" creatures, each following its own life-path and instructions from the creator. Spirit permeates wild places. Without the ever-present digital distractions of modern life,  that Spirit can and will permeate your soul if you allow it.
  • Healthy Relationships: Wilderness is such a foreign setting to most, that reliance on others becomes a necessity. Challenges of trail life foster group support, a sense of belonging, interdependence and cooperation.
  • Self-Empowerment: Self-esteem and pride develop as challenges are confronted and solutions found. A sense of self-reliance emerges.
  • Mental and Physical Health: Wilderness living promotes the development of a healthy mind and body. Daily exercise, a clean diet and a great deal of fresh air provide a positive foundation for personal growth and lifestyle change.
  • Compassion: Wilderness can restore a sense of compassion. Most have forgotten the connection life has to Mother Earth, and that shapes our views of other life. Recognizing beauty in nature allows us to recognize it in others and ourselves.
  • Play: Play fuels the soul. Provides enhanced self-confidence, self worth and reliance, fosters sense of humor, increases quality of life. Quenches thirst for adventure! 
The power of wilderness cannot be known through magazine articles & books, the digital world or television, TO KNOW the Power of Wilderness is to experience it! Wildness is the Medicine for what ills us, Get Out There!!
"In wildness is the preservation of the world" - Henry David Thoreau



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