Stepping Back to Step Forward

There is something freeing about camping. All of your belongings in one place, no running water, not even a toilet. Everything is more difficult – from making dinner to setting up your bed, but that makes it all the more rewarding (in the end, at least). And once you’re back at home, you appreciate those things you took for granted before. Electricity seems so simple, yet without it you are left in the dark. At first, the dark may seem scary, for with its unfamiliarity comes potential unforeseen threats. But once you become familiar with the darkness, you regain the shadow side of your nature. You can hear the faint sounds of creatures emerging and settling for the night. Under the light of the moon, you dance with windblown trees. You crane your neck to look at so many stars that have been staring back at you your whole life, but made invisible by the city’s ambient lights.

You gain a fundamental shift in perspective, away from the man-made concepts and material things that society has deemed important. Strip that away, you realize the insignificance of the everyday monotony. You are able to survive – to thrive – without the constant hum of civilization and the heavy burden of the material. You re-shift your focus to drop what is no longer serving you and put your energy towards what’s truly important.

Most things we come across in our everyday life are made up by humanity ourselves. We’ve created this superficial world within the natural world from which we came. So much of our angst and anxiety, especially today, stems from our inability to see that fundamental truth. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to step away from those constructs and recognize that we are not the center of life on this planet, and our planet is a speck in this infinite universe. While that may sound overwhelming, it can be empowering. We are part of something much greater, much more powerful, and much more beautiful than just ourselves. We are a part of a precious web of living things and immense feats of nature that were created long before we existed and will hopefully withstand millennia more.

Our world, and humanity, are hurting terribly. It is vital that we evolve past our old, stuck, destructive, self-centric ways. We must adopt mindfulness and respect for ourselves, each other, all creatures, and for our planet as a whole. We must be willing to grow and learn and change. The future of humanity, the planet and all of the creatures that we share it with, depends on our evolution.

The fundamental flaw of humanity is that we think we know everything and we think that we are the most important living beings on this planet. That fact is disproved simply by looking at the past. We continue to evolve and to correct previously held notions. The next human evolution need not be agricultural or industrial. We need to switch from consumption-based progress to an enlightened period of awareness, kindness, and restoration.