“But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.”
- Alan WattsEvery once in a while I like to go for a walk in the forest for a lesson. Here I am not bound by the manufactured rules of human culture. There are no signs, no laws, and no authority other than nature itself. In the forest I am free to be and to learn.
This is the place that I feel the best, surrounded by stillness and quiet. I can think and relax away from busy, noisy crowds. Here I can discover everything I need to know for successful living.
I am in good company - just look at people like Henry David Thoreau, who lived and learned in the woods, or Vandana Shiva who started her eco-education and activism in the Chipko movement (the original tree huggers) that protected the trees from loggers in the forests of the Himalayas.
After repeated walks among the beautiful oaks and rhododendrons, the Indian activist learned that "the forest teaches us enoughness: as a principle of equity, how to enjoy the gifts of nature without exploitation and accumulation."
No species takes more than its fair share. There is no consumerism, no greed, and no accumulation for personal aggrandizement. There is a freedom to be and participate as a necessary and integral part of something larger to which we are all connected.
When we begin to learn the lessons of the forest, we will begin to live in harmony with nature and with each other.