From being out in the wilderness, I’ve awakened to the reality of how fragile life is in all its form.
During the day, I’ve seen bears cause deer and squirrels to flee into hiding.
At night, I’ve heard the cries of hungry coyotes and wolves.
As one of my teachers once said, the images used to depict nature today are rather tame.
Many people are familiar with the enchanting photos of pristine lakes and friendly moose.
There’s definitely beauty in nature, but there’s another darker side of nature that shouldn’t be ignored.
In much the same way, there’s a darker side of the mind that’s often ignored.
Before I stayed at forest monasteries, I had little understanding of these two aspects of nature and the nature of the mind.
And compared to the forest monks who live in the wild, I still have a lot to learn about the actual wilderness and the wilderness of the mind.
Braving the emotional and psychological wilderness can be as frightening as braving the physical wilderness.
Just ask anyone who’s started seeing a psychotherapist or begun a serious meditation practice.
Encountering anxiety, agitation and anger in the mind can be as unnerving as encountering a scorpion, snake or bear in the forest.