Relationships and Growth

December 13, 2015

No relationship can truly grow if you hold back mindlessly. If you remain cautious in the beginning to safeguard your well being and to protect your core. Then I say you are indeed wise to do so and I would even encourage you to always do just that….in the very beginning. But if you just stop there and never move on to discover the next level, then I say, you’re holding back mindlessly without rhyme or reason and that by every definition of the word holding back is essentially self defeating.

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My two and half years of prolonged solitude of living all alone in the wilderness without electricity, piped water and technology – comprised of long bouts of introspection, a growing awareness of my new surroundings and learning more about myself.

It’s a missing piece life that I’ve kept hidden from the world…till perhaps now.

Along with possibly what I am only willing to describe politely as a rigorous process of self interrogation that dismantled every aspect of who I am or who I thought I was at least.

The need to qualify the process of self discovery with that word ‘polite’ was perhaps due to my my militant refusal or inability to cope with the sudden transition from the creature comforts of flabby city life to the often violent and at times destructive harsh life in the field.

In the beginning after the novelty of field life had waned just around the fourth week. It would not be an exaggeration to say, I was constantly battling against crushing loneliness. My only solace then was the radio which was always tuned to the BBC world service. By the third month or was it the fourth, when the batteries konked out along with most other things I had long since learnt to live without. I found myself descending deeper and deeper into the essence of my being for solace. I read mostly to pastime and when I had finished the few books I had brought along I read them again and when I finished that I imaged the characters being played out somewhere in a movie theatre in my mind. I had began to shed so much weight by then, I had to punch new holes into my belt. I wish could say the experience was nothing short of life changing….but all could recall was the awful sensation of feeling hungry and lethargic all the time.

By the sixth month deep into the rainy season. I was bed ridden with Malaria. I don’t know how long how long I lapsed between moments of sleep and stupor. That I believe was the point when I became conscious of how mystery was furiously at work in the jungle changing me – change began innocuously. It’s one of those languorous arcs where I ceased completely to be bothered by creature comforts such as clean sheets or whether they were damp or dry. After my recovery when I was strong enough to hunt. At some point I immersed myself so completely in the jungle that even time ceased to exist completely. Or maybe I just didn’t see the need to wear a watch any longer. As since I wasn’t beholden to the concept of civilized units of measurement of time where one would track the passing of periods in months, days, hours and minutes – this soon gave way to a larger construct of jungle time, where it made far more sense to track time by how one season would bow out only for another to step in.

During this period in the wild which could have been anywhere into a full year or possibly longer my attention shuffled between deep moments of self introspection and outwards into the depths of the wilderness world.

By this time I learnt to hunt in the night. I had by then ceased tearing bits of myself to the bedrock of my elemental being to cope with life in the field. I had grown fond of my life as a wild jungle man. So fond that at times I often wondered to myself would I ever be able to rejoin the cacophony of world again, the ever spinning world? Would I even want to? A world that seemed so faraway and alien.

But that doesn’t mean what I experienced during that period which I’ve never seen the need to put down on paper was completely self annihilating and nihilistic – I did encounter great mystery like the time when the river turned opalescent emerald green in darkness on a full moon. Only to shudder in terror when I saw my own reflection. Felt the presence of the jungle gnawing at me in the night when she comes alive as I lay there in darkness.

Till today It’s not even clear to me why I persisted in this way of living for so long as I did without ever once considering the idea of returning back to civilization – perhaps what they said about me was true after all….I had gone too far of the edge. Like one of those mythical ships of antiquity that sails beyond the horizon only for everyone to believe it fell off the edge of what could only be a flat world. Gone so very far to the outer reaches beyond the stream consciousness spreading all of myself out like the roots of some majestic tree, drawing upon all the powers of nature that the duality between my conscious being and the wilderness had somehow merged and collapsed into each other where I vanished completely giving way to new stream of consciousness.

When I emerged from the wild and rejoined civilization. I experienced a terminal state of detachment from everything I once never felt the need to question – the prospects of ordinary life acquired a terror. I never once spoke to anyone concerning the extremities of having lived in the wild. I never told a soul. Neither am I certain whether my slow and painful osmotic reintegration into society might have constituted a form of subconscious repudiation and disdain for modern living which I now considered alien. I much preferred to return to the jungle where I belonged. Perhaps having traced the curve from before, during and after the last thing I ever wanted to do was to recount the arc of my average memoir of having lived in the wild in total isolation simply because I knew no possibly understand me.

It’s a fitting allegory how till this day all that I can ever seem to recount with uncanny vividness at the end of my prolonged two year absence from civilization was sitting all by myself in McDonalds and wondering how I would make it thru the rest of the day while savoring a hint of the wild still clung to the back of my throat while wolfing down a Big Mac.

I realized then. I was in a very alien and strange place that I didn’t belong any longer…all I wanted to do was to go back home to the jungle….you see it’s really a matter of commitment and where I see myself. I don’t expect anyone to ever share my conviction…how can they possibly understand how far I’ve gone…how? Where do I even begin to explain?

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