I Found God In the Jungle/There Is No God In the Jungle
A recent trip to the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica changed me in ways I could not predict. It was the most profound adventure of my life thus far (aside from giving birth).
I will tell you that I found God in the jungle and I will also tell you that there is no God in the jungle. Both of these statements are true.
After the initial culture shock, I let go, and everything fell into place in my mind, my being. Everything suddenly made sense to me. Life made sense. I got it.
The jungle opened its arms to me and invited me in, back to my roots as a primate, to the remaining heartland of life on earth. I stepped forth, naively, unaware of how easily and completely my mind accepted jungle life. It was truly as though I had come home.
I learned more in the jungle about life than in all of my eight years of university. I liken my experience to somewhat of an enlightenment. I did not return home feeling like a Buddha (although, I think I made a little progress on the enlightenment front); rather, I returned home feeling as though I met with God in the jungle and I understand the sacred truths about life on earth.
The God I found in the jungle is life—a fluid entity of undetermined proportions that I am a part of along with every living organism in the universe. Our energy flows as one—one consciousness, a life circle of symbiotic connections.
We are all one and the same. Every living organism on earth: plant, animal, fungi, one connected life flow.
In the jungle, I let go of my otherness (humanness) and felt the flow of life that I was living amongst. This is not a philosophical idea, but rather a real, raw, truth that I experienced and acknowledged.
If one of us is hurt, eradicated from the earth, we all are vulnerable. Together we thrive, alone we die. We are more than a tribe of humans, we are a connected tribe of mammals, a connected tribe of animals, a connected tribe of earth’s life.
Corcovado, the small untouched section of Costa Rican jungle, is one of the most biodiverse places left on earth. I felt earth’s vulnerability in that jungle. The jungle is the lungs of our planet; when a tree in the jungle falls, we lose as part of our vital atmosphere, our home.
Seduced By The Zen Jungle Days, One Forgets The Fierce Jungle Nights
Life takes turns sleeping in the jungle; at any given moment, someone has one eye wide open.
I lived for a short time, immersed in the jungle. Our home was protected only by screen walls. The sounds of the jungle and smells of the jungle wrapped around me tightly as I slept. Oh, what sounds and smells they were!—howler monkey roars, softer roars from other mammals, night calls from birds of all sizes and splendour, frog talk, unidentifiable grunts, snorts and repetitive coughing like messages, heavy jungle air full of oxygen and water, delicious scents of tropical flowers and musky jungle life…
Whereas, the jungle nights seem fierce in intensity, jungle days have a zen, calm quality about them.
During the day, life exists quietly in an organized ebb and flow of wondrously busy organisms and creatures: mangrove swamps alive with fascinating mammal-like trees (the placenta sacks, umbilical cords [not their official science names but I call them these mammal terms as they appear so animal like] and seedling are large enough to hold and see), the Corcovado jungle bustling with quiet (yet determined) mating ant eaters, new world monkey of all sizes moving through the trees overhead, giant tapirs, prehistorical looking birds, huge orb spiders sitting on indestructible webs and butterflies in celestial colours that never seem to land.
Greed, Not Intelligence, Sets Humans Apart From Other Earthly Life
It became apparent to me that humans are not any more intelligent than any living being on earth. We think that we are. We have our own human made tests for determining intelligence. But the tests are limited to what the human mind can discern as intelligence. We know nothing of what our mind cannot understand yet or perhaps never will. We are a limited species in our perception of intelligence.
Oddly, it is our intelligence that connects us to all other life on earth. It is our intelligence that brings us back to our fellow creatures in recognition that we are in this thing called life together; the earth is our shared home. Let’s make it work for us all.
What separates human from “beast” is not intelligence. It is greed. No other creature on earth is as capable of complete greed and narcissism as the human being. We want it all, we want it now and we do not want to share; even when we have more than we could possible use in our life time, we still desire more; we murder, rape, pillage and steal to get more for the me.
Sustainability Not Growth
What will it take to save the earth and its remaining life from extinction? I believe a revolution of sustainability, one that dispels the lies of our industrial revolution ancestors: that consumerism and growth are to be exploited (that is the greed in humanity talking).
We need change on a big scale. A few eco-friendly humans cannot save life on the planet at this stage of the planet’s destruction.
What humans need is a society that supports pockets of smaller, sustainable human cultures based on fairness, equality and sustainability.
We are overgrown, earth cannot sustain the number of humans that exist at this moment in time. Humans were not meant to sprawl themselves all over this planet, carelessly consuming and spewing out waste.
We need to step back, give back the earth to all the other life forms on this planet.
We Are Not In This Life Alone
Forget zoos. What the earth needs is many more massive, protected, national parks in each and every region on earth. Parks protected from all human exploitation (with human access limited to hiking with an official guide) so plants and animals can thrive where they are meant to thrive.
Join the Jungle Revolution: Sustainability Not Growth
Link to my jungle adventure diaries here: Jungle Adventures