The Spirit of Being Yourself

Nature is not only our best teacher, it is also spirituality personified

WaterfallWe had waited in anticipation for the wet spell for the whole of July. When it finally arrived in early August, we didn't waste any time and set out for the eagerly-awaited annual trek in the hills.

We were six of us, each an ardent lover of adventure, hungry to grab a slice of nature. We hopped inside a bus that took us to the village, where we left all our belongings, except for one haversack that contained food and water. The sky was overcast, creating just the right mood for a trek. We could feel the vibes of the wilderness from the moment we began our long walk towards the forest.

As it is with friends, we were cracking jokes and laughing our way to the waterfalls. Yet, as we progressed towards our destination, I began to feel disconnected with the rest of the group. While I continued chit-chatting with my buddies, a sense of quiet comfort enveloped me. I sensed that there was delightful enchantment in the air.

The path cut through dense forest. All through our journey, we could hear faint resonance of several streams. After walking on the muddy terrain for about 45 minutes, and crossing one forceful channel of water, we could finally sight the spot where we would be camping. But, to reach there, we had to walk through a broad stream of clear water, and several mini-waterfalls right in the middle of the forest-hills, over thousands of pebbles, rocks and slippery soil.

Since we had started out early, the place was deserted. But, I knew that soon there would be other trekkers arriving. So, I urged my people to search for another spot. None of them agreed as they thought it was too risky to venture into the unknown jungle, especially since there were reports of many deaths in the area recently. I wasn't deterred and decided to go surveying the place all alone, despite my friends' admonition.

Explore to discover

Soon, the explorer in me took over and I found myself delving deep into the forest-hills. After navigating for a while through the uneven, slimy rocks, I got to a place that I call perfect setting: two streams flowing from opposite directions merging into one, enclosed by tree-covered hills on all sides. I was now witness to a compelling spectacle: nature at its best. I decided to spend some time in quiet contemplation.

As I observed the beautiful surroundings and inhaled the fresh air, I could hear the reverberation of many different sounds. Birds chirping, water rushing through the rocks, splashing me frequently, and the cool gust of wind. I felt in touch with that Universal Energy, the source of all that is, the divine intelligence, that we call God, or by any other name. It was a blissful experience - so serene, yet so energising. As I sat on one of the rocks, the words of Dr Wayne Dyer flowed through my mind: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

My retreat was soon disturbed by the calling of my friends, who had begun to get worried about me. I saw them approaching. But, I still had some time with myself and I decided to savour those wonderful tranquil moments before I left the backwoods and returned to the humdrum of city life.

I spent the rest of my trip with my friends, but there was a feeling of detachment. I had simply left a part of me in that perfect setting - a part that is my invisible, spiritual self.

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