It was always a pleasure as we would kick around in nature when my friends and I were growing up. The neighborhood kids and I had the entire world to explore, tucked away in a little one-mile radius of the city. We had a place called the Brickyards, which was a clay quarry. In the old excavated parts, a lake, cliffs, deciduous trees and overgrowth provided a paradise for us to constantly explore. There were many hills and trails that would lead to dozens of hidden natural treasures. In addition, we had another woods on private property that we would traverse. Someone had carved many trails through the property which led to train tracks under several hundred yards of tree canopy. The train tracks also led to other worlds.
In hindsight, the conceptualized world was always luminous during those days of youth. But then a change took place when puberty hit and throughout my early teen years. There were situations within those times that caused great anguish within, as one could see after reading my older writings. Unlike the time when days were embraced with a natural gratitude for life: the conceptualized and sensed; the observed and assimilated, those beautiful places in nature began to serve as places for me to escape and use drugs. Those wonderful surroundings not only became even more fascinating when under the influence, but they also helped to relieve the anguish that was developing because of what was happening to me at home. Dealing with pain was just easier as a teen with help from an illegal drug and those surroundings of splendor.
I believe that I knew God (Creator) as I used to stare off into the beauty of nature, both sober during youth and later, with a sweet cannabis buzz. I used to sit for hours during both times and just listen to the many sounds of nature. I would study the colors, patterns, processes and textures…
It was not something that anyone could manufacture, it just was. It was created by…? How it all ended up there used to boggle my mind, but the magnificence left me at peace.
I’m getting back to the natural high I used to get when I was young, and I’m finding it in nature. It is also becoming known that I am of the same wonderous creation that all life is. The understanding I am growing to know is a liberation. The past mental constructs are no longer how I define myself, or the world. I just, am. Is this what Jesus meant when he said, “I am?” Outside of what my brain tries to slap a label on or stake a signpost next to, I am of the same natural splendor. A conscious one. Deeper than what is on the surface, I am conscious. Consciousness is becoming the root of all understanding. The deep inner peace that I used to experience as a boy is coming through again, and it tames the conditioned mind that robbed me for all of those years. As I observe the surface–the ever-changing, tumultuous, conceptualized world in which we live–I observe the thoughts that form around it. No longer am I able to be at the mercy of the things that I think, for awareness of those thoughts is now just as natural as all of God’s created forms. Through nature’s stillness, and through the same stillness within the depth of me, I see God.
Religion was a rigid and, I believe, incorrect way of viewing the world. I never truly found peace in it, only more anguish. God is love, and when I threw that all away by believing that God would burn me in Hell, all of the rest of what I have just written was never an option. I’ll take peace over a mind-made construct of God. I’ll take the obvious love that I experience in nature and within the depths of me over the narratives man has constructed.