It is a term I have borrowed from Susan Cain (more about her soon) but it has been at the centre of my own thoughts for a few weeks now. Go to the wilderness.
This semester my educational enlightenment is via the course Introduction to Environmental Management. Although this encompasses many fantastic tidbits of information (eg. if you stand on the equator the rotation of the earth means your moving at 16,000km per hour!!) we have been focusing quite a lot on environmental values. Maybe it is obvious that we are no longer living interwoven with nature and are therefore greatly unaware of our total dependency on natural resources. But what beliefs and values are driving us to destroy so much? Where do you sit in the scheme of things? Are you Anthropocentic seeing humans as the most important and valuable species? Are you Biocentric, believing nature and other organisms have just as much intrinsic value as humans? Do you believe technology will be able to rescue us from our environmental problems, are you a techno-optimist? Or maybe your more of a greenie and believe without major changes in lifestyle its a downward spiral to an apocalypse?
I consider myself as a Biocentric Techno-optimist Greenie. But hey its just a label and its all pretty complicated underneath. The element I believe our society is missing when it comes to connecting with nature is an understanding of value.
Two weeks ago I sat on a headland in Yuraygir National Park NSW and took a breath of natural wonder. Many of my good friends will attest to how insanely beautiful and rugged this place is. Deep red soil, cliffs of intricate rock formations, crashing salty waves, open shrub lands with limbs reaching away from the coastal winds. Its a place that grounds me, like many other natural places I have had the privilege to experience. Soon I will be a mum and as I sat there my soul warmed at the thought of sharing this place with my child. A place thats value can not be solely measured by science and economics, instead it has a “spiritual” value that is so hard to explain with the language we use.
My beautiful yoga teacher Georgie recently shared a great TED talk with the facebook community called The Power of Introverts. Susan Cain tells an amusing story of life as an introvert, and points out in our society of big personalities half the population is being suppressed. She also challenges everyone to GO TO THE WILDERNESS. Be a sage, a seeker, a contemplator. Like we have done for many thousands of years go into the wild and take some solitude with nature. It is here that many great thinkers have been enlightened.
So in the way that I like to do I have taken all these bits of my life and linked them back to a greater meaning. In Taoism there is a manner of being called the Uncarved Block know also as P’u (pronounced Pooh with emphasis on the oo). The chinese character P’u is defined as natural, simple, plain, honest. To understand this more and be tickled pink with a fantastic read please please please pick up a copy of Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh. In the mean time I will steal Benjamin’s words ” The essence of the principle of the Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity hold their own natural power.”
My revelation is that in our extremely complicated world of human creation and human problems maybe the simplicity of nature holds a power to clear our minds and enlighten our thinking. I love the added punch of meaning this adds to days walking in the bush, or surfing in the ocean, or sitting in a tree. It is this value of nature that I so want to pass on to my children, so they know, when everything seems too much and the world seems to be caving in around them, they can go to the wilderness and find some P’u.