When you actually spend time alone in nature with yourself, be it walking, meditating, praying, seeking stillness, an amazing thing happens. You find that you really are not, nor were you ever alone.
I don’t know why people are so afraid to be alone? Usually people need to have noise or some background fill with the audio spectrum to “fill” a space or void in ones life where there is a sense of comfort, a sort of security blanket in our modern world that says life is OK. About the only time you get a moment of silence in the normal world is when you are flying on an airplane. It is the last bastion of quiet outside of nature and a monastery for modern man.
A few days ago my mother in law went on an adventure that had me wishing I could go along. It is a pilgrimage that is known more in Europe and only recently gained traction in the United States with the movie with Martin Sheen called “the way.”
The actual journey is called the way of st. Jacob when you are in Switzerland. The idea is that one time in your life, you leave from your front door of where you were born and walk across Europe sleeping in churches continuing along a network of paths that lead you to the way of St. James aka: the Camino de Santiago, which has its finish point at the Catherdral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.
The cool thing with my mother in law is that she was a combination of fear of the unknown and complete excitement. She had her backpack adorned with various trinkets and patches and at early 60’s was setting off on a big new adventure upon returning to her homeland from many years in Brazil after the passing of her husband. The process reminded me of a phone call i had with my grandmother asking what i thought about her going with my one aunt to Atlantic City. "It's OK grandma, go have some fun for a change."
For the past several months, my mother in law was buying fashionable outerwear and weighing all of her possessions to get around 6-7 kilos in her pack. "
Her journey was not to leave from Switzerland, but to do what many do in starting at the French/Spanish border. In her case, she flew to the city of Pamplona where the final legs of the path network converge. I think she has 500km to walk in the next weeks, about 300miles. The running of the bulls happened a few weeks ago, so i don't have to worry about her thrill seeking that idea, although that would make for an interesting photo, (mother in law running with bulls)
Before the movie, very few people knew about the pilgrimage walk in the USA. Today, the amount of people walking has increased dramatically. They even give you a cool little passport card that gets stamped as an official pilgrim. I think you need it to verify you can stay in the various spots to sleep as well.
What seems funny today is that with cell phones, you don’t have to take time to wonder, “Where is she? I wonder how far she got today? Did it rain?” Instead with cell phones, she can share pictures in seeming real time.
While I am thankful to get information from her, it just doesn’t seem as interesting from a spectators view. Your mind really can’t work on any vicarious thoughts. Instead, in our ever-increasing audio/visual world, the written word seems to take a backseat more and more.
Now, technology allows each of us to literally broadcast every 5 seconds of our lives on the planet so that we can seemingly tell the world
The problem with all this is that there is so much data being generated, can anyone really watch anymore? Does anyone actually see?
Perhaps that is why pilgrimages, spending time in nature, and getting out of all the noise levels that you can’t see moving through that audio visual spectrum's of modern life is so important. When you unplug, after a few days, your body seem to adjust to a different pace of rhythm. Call it your natural rhythm.
This is what is being lost as our technology progresses?
The rhythm of simply being a human in nature is increasing lost in modern society. We tend to build superhighways from urban center to urban center and forget that the real pleasure in life is when you get off the beaten path and take some time to look around and see.
To take some time and actually be “alone” and realize it is not a bad thing.
You are never alone.