Going in the forest is one of my favorite things to do. Not because it’s always pleasant, or because of fresh air, but because it gives me such a wonderful sense of potential of what life is like without all the controls and predefined judgments that make up the relative ‘safety’ of our society.

When I’m walking alone in the forest – usually at night, when my secondary senses take off where sight is left behind – I always get such a feeling of interconnectedness. It isn’t simply that the forest is interdependent with itself, though the energy of a tree blends perfectly with the grounds and bushes to the point that it’s pointless to think where one begins and the other ends. (The same thoughts can also me used for “what is myself” thoughts when pointing to one’s arms, legs, chest, face, etc.). It’s also that it is so incredibly welcoming, of everything. And by “everything”, I mean that. Death is accepted with the same equanimity as the increase of an afternoon breeze. Branches may fall and a gale may cause tall tree tops to tremble and sway many feet from side to side, and there is no worries from the trees of their own demise. Human presences are welcome, not as strangers, but as an increased blending of the energetic weave – even loggers come to empty the sky of leaves.

And because of this welcoming, this non-attached acceptance of any change that comes, there is subtle detachment from any form that comes. The result of this detachment is the complete lack of fear. Fear only exists because of attachment, hanging on, attributing meaning we don’t want lost to particular objects or symbols. With detachment, of which the flow in nature is a prime example, there is no fear. There is adrenaline and instinct, but no separation and shame, a basis for what we call fear.

I get quite a picture of what intelligence is when I’m there, as well. This isn’t referring to grades or mental processes; it refers to a process of surrender, of following the “natural way”, no matter what the form. It’s a non-duality in thought and action, in seeing that there is no “other”, in any form. There’s no sense of this concept in a forest; there is only the forest, which is simply life. It is this kind of perception which helps me act more with love; seeing another person literally as another manifestation of myself, not as I know myself, but as the fullest extension of my being.

This is the kind of experience I can have when heading into nature, and why I value it so much, especially going out camping where there’s no human influences. It often brings out fear being alone without the “safety net” of a community – which is to say it brings out all the blocks I have inside. Not a bad thing at all.