I spent much of my childhood in Cyprus. I have memories of myself as a child of 8 or 9 years of age lying in the back of an estate car whilst my father drove us through the night from Nicosia to Limassol. This was in the sixties in a time before seatbelts and airbags. Lying in the back looking through the window, seeing the stars, I remember a sense of wonder, of floating, of peace. Even at that young age I felt a deep sense of awe.
Where I live now the night sky is very dark. What few lights there are come from the small village down in the valley. As I stare up into the blackness pierced with countless points of scintillating light, I still feel that sense of awe and wonder; it is just as fresh as the very first time. If anything, my connection is deeper, as I understand that we are literally from the ashes of stars. I feel the same sense of connection and wonder when I am in the countryside.
Most of the people that come to our retreats live in cities − places of permanent illumination, places where it never gets dark, where nature has been relegated to tiny squares of green, bathed in foul-tasting air, struggling in a sea of concrete and asphalt. It is where most of our species now live. Sadly, there are whole generations for whom the darkness and wilderness provoke fear rather than wonder.
In the city there is little connection to the living pulse of the earth, the breathing of the forests, the wonder of the cosmos. Without these things it is easy to become disconnected, to lose the experience of the deep inter-connection of all things, to come adrift. The sense of separation can be acute.
A human here can be surrounded by millions and feel lonely to the point of suicide.
Get out into nature. Get out into the darkness and just be there, in silence. Allow your mind to settle and re-connect to your birth right. Experience the sense of belonging to something much bigger than yourself. Feel that deep sense of inter-connection. Feel humbled, invigorated and in awe all at the same time. It is the very best of medicine. it is to take care of yourself.
If we can replace the illusion of separation with the direct experience of inter-connection; if we can experience that we are all part of the same whole then there is hope for us individually and as a species.
The COVID situation has reduced the possibility of getting out into nature. The probability of feeling disconnected is greater than ever. Restrictions vary from one zone to another and change from day to day. If and when you do get the chance to get out into nature, do take advantage of it.