We spent a day hiking in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. It was a very different experience for us. In Asia hiking or trekking is usually with a tour guide. The tracks are not well laid, there is usually little signage, no maps and your experience pretty much depends on how your tour guide is. But no national park or forest has ever left us disappointed or bored, even if we were not so much a fan of the guide. To the contrary, every minute spent in nature - walking on lush green grass, sitting under a tree, listening to birds singing, having food by the river, every bit of it has left us longing for more.
Strange isn't it?
And what is also strange is when sometimes you come across another person's words, poems or stories that leaves you completely speechless! That is what happened to me a month or so back. I came across these beautiful and powerful words. These are out of a passage written by Herman Hesse, a famous novelist, poet and painter.
"Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness."
WOW! I read this passage and all of a sudden it was all clear! Every time we have been hiking in a national park or forest or just been amongst trees in a park, their presence has had a magical effect on us. After hours of walking/hiking our bodies ache but our mind and heart dance with joy. I know I can sit under a tree for hours and not do anything and be completely ok with it. And this effect has been universal....well at least for us! After all we have been to a number of forests in past few years and all across the globe. And we have been to quiet a few parks as well.
So what is it about them? Is it their biology and chemistry that leaves us feeling more alive? Is it the feeling of strength and security that extends far beyond what us humans can even comprehend? Or is it a deep knowing of connectedness and harmony with everything surrounding them, the mutual understanding that we all need each other to survive and thrive....and that we ALL can CO-exist!
Whatever it is I am not going to complain :o) I feel FORTUNATE that there is something so pure, peaceful, inviting and harmonious that leaves me feeling the same whenever I am a part of it. I feel BLESSED to have found THAT which leaves me so connected with everything else that I feel so small yet so completely loved. I feel HAPPY that every time it teaches me something that no classes or workshops or courses ever taught me.
Honestly, I feel EVERYTHING which is not what today's world of competition, survival, greed and control wants ANYONE to feel. And the best part is....I KNOW I am not alone :o)