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When people during earlier times, became stressed out, or overburdened by their lives they had to find ways to cope with their feelings. There were no therapists, self-help groups, or Prozac to help ease their minds. Even though our world is busier now, people of generations past had stresses that would make us crumble today. They had to worry about thieves stealing everything they owned and possibly hurting them in the process. They had to deal with religious persecutions where literally they could be burned for wearing the clothes that they wore. Let’s not even talk about all of the wild animals that would love to make a meal out of any settler they could find.
So how did some of these people get in touch with themselves in order to better adjust to their world? Some went on what is called a vision quest. It was a way for the participant to clear their mind and seek guidance from a higher realm. Today it is thought that the guidance they received was really their own subconscious. They would wander out into the wilderness with no food or water vowing not to return until they seek the answers they were looking for. It is commonly believed that the lack of substanence caused their minds to open, and for them to think more clearly.
These journeys could take place anywhere in the world. The Incan Indians use to wander through the Andes Mountains in their hope of finding spiritual enlightenment. All they would take with them would be alpaca wool clothing and a scroll to document their journey. Upon returning, they would share their notes and drawings with the rest of the tribe in an attempt to spread the knowledge of spiritual enlightenment with their members.
To me that sounds like an amazing tool. When life gets a little crazy and hectic, you could just spend several days wandering and being alone until all the answers you were seeking were revealed. So needless to say, I tried my own version of this practice. I live near the mountains of North Carolina, so I decided to spend some time alone in the woods there, to see if I could find guidance from within on dealing with the complexities of life. I even went to a website called Inkasissa.com , and bought some wool sweaters for my journey. I felt like a true Incan.
Was I visited by spirits who guided me on a new path? No, not really. But being away from everything and everyone in the stillness of the wilderness, put things in perspective for me. I realize that I worry about things too much, and my mind wanders to aimlessly to be able to concentrate on any subject for very long. While amongst the trees, there was nothing to obsess over, or deadlines to be reached. It was just me and the outdoors, and the silence that goes with that.
So I think from now on, every year I will go on a trip by myself. I will go somewhere where it is quiet and remote with absolutely no phones or devices to keep me connected to modern life. I think that mental detox will be good for me, and I plan to make it a part of my life from now on.