The experience of the Amazon jungle can leave one lost for words. But the organizers of Bosque Medicinal begged me to write a few words about my experience in paradise. So I will do my best to bring to you, in words, what happens on a visit to the Amazon.
Paradise is something that human beings seem to dream about often – we want the mystical experience of the heavens. We think that we lack the heavenly aspect on Earth. But just a few nights in the jungle reconnected me with the element of heaven that lives right next to us on Earth. It seems like utter madness that there are people digging holes in the Amazon jungle looking for treasure. I could easily find all the treasure just walking around and sleeping under the stars of the Amazon. The treasure is right in our pockets, and to spend a lifetime without visiting the Amazon would be like leaving this life without discovering the treasure that lives right in our pockets.
In the Buddhist tradition there is a huge emphasis on the connection to God through breath. Although it’s hard to find Buddhist practices in the Amazon, it is certainly not difficult to connect with the Godliness of breath. I did not really wish to make religious references in this writing, but it seems impossible to ignore the element of air in the Amazon. Who would have thought that it could be so healing simply just to breathe? In cities, we are surrounded by tall buildings, car exhaust fumes and the chaos of the clock. They seem like things that are constantly trying to block out feelings of peace, relaxation and mysticism. There is no space for breath in the busyness of western cities. I never remember being so grateful for fresh air – in such a wild abundance – as I felt walking through paradise. You wouldn’t believe the difference it can make to your entire psyche to breathe fresh air that is not contaminated with toxic fumes or even noise. In the Amazon, the sound of the birds turns into air to breathe. Imagine breathing in the sounds of the Amazon and giving those sounds a chance to breathe through your own physical body. Stepping into the jungle is to directly experience the lung of this planet. The more trees we cut down from the Amazon, the more we are disconnecting ourselves from the breath of Planet Earth – our breath, our treasure, our Godliness.
Most of us coming from a western lifestyle have literally never had the experience of drinking water directly from its source. It seems like I’m getting really back to basics here, but it is what my body has been craving for so long. Did you know that water coming from the source is alive? It contains all of the minerals and vitamins that the body needs to function at optimum levels. No need for multi-vitamins. Not even such a huge need for food consumption. The water is containing so much life that even its taste is much sweeter and richer. I remember walking out from under a waterfall in the Amazon and feeling like I had just slept for days. I remember thinking – of course! That’s what water should feel like! It is the force that gives life to my body, and my body is composed almost entirely of water. Why is it so hard to connect with that feeling after having a shower in the city? It’s so clear that the water in the city has lost all of those living elements that literally make me feel alive. Drinking and showering beneath the water of the Amazon filled my body with a sense of wellbeing that completely trickled through into my emotional and mental health.
The Amazon jungle has the power to make me forget that there is any other place on Earth. It is so incredibly beautiful that it is hypnotizing. This piece of the planet holds inside of it so much of the love, the mystery and the peace that we are all so desperately searching for. When I am there, I don’t even need to be looking for those things. They are so easily arriving. I am utterly taken away by the Amazon, as if it, itself, is one of the powerful psychedelic substances that grow there. I once upon a time went searching for medicinal plants in the Amazon, but being there is enough medicine in itself. It’s no wonder that some of the most healing plants grow there – its vibration is completely about healing. In fact, when I am walking in paradise, I absolutely cannot help but develop this visceral relationship with it. I want to cry at the thought of people developing roads, digging holes and mining. I feel physically traumatized by the notion that some people are trying to hurt the Amazon jungle.
The crazy thing is that I’m not usually an activist! There has never really been a moment where I have wanted to fight for something. I’m usually the first person to shy away from activism, preferring to live in the school of thought of perfection. And I guess that I am not so much wanting to fight as I am wanting to protect – the same way a lioness protects her cubs. I entered the Amazon with open eyes and an open heart, and she sent me out with a maternal loving spirit that I didn’t really know I had. Paradise is a much broader term than our limiting minds want to accept. It is not outside of this planet, or even outside of ourselves. Paradise is the nature that we live in. It is the Amazon jungle. You don’t have to wait until after you die to experience paradise. You can have it right now, right here, in this very lifetime. And in fact, if you keep waiting for the afterlife, you will never get to experience paradise. Paradise is the little treasure that is hiding in your pocket the moment you step out into nature or stand under a waterfall. I am so grateful to Bosque Medicinal for the project they have created, that it gives me a chance to be a part of something bigger than myself. It gives me an opportunity to make paradise something like my home. With my heart in the right place, I can always feel safe to step into the Amazon jungle, knowing she receives me with love because I can see her for what she really offers to us – a taste of paradise.