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Enchantment



"Even as we stand apart as observers -- strangers in the cradle of our genesis -- some part of us feels pulled back towards the place of our first awakening."





"To be naked under the out-stretched bower of expansive limbs reaching over us, or upon a meadow hillside where the light breezes of summer brush past is to feel the world in a way that we can't while clothed."





"By simply being more open and caring . . . we move the world inch by inch towards being a place more amenable to and tolerant of the freedom to be naked both bodily and spiritually."






The impulse to live has at its core a special feeling which energizes and draws us into the stream of existence. It is a feeling that takes us beyond the worries and cares of the moment and casts our life in an eternal light. This precious experience is not something which we can always call upon to rescue us from sullen despair or debilitating doubt, but it always exists potentially and can be called upon when we shift our minds away from petty concerns to more universal considerations.

In many ways it is a kind of return to the source or wellspring of life. There is some deep memory within each of us that resonates with the primeval chords of this world. Out in the wild places we sense some remnant of our origins in the play of light upon leaves, the sound of a gentle breeze or harsh wind, the trickling of a stream or the roar of the ocean. The color and music of the natural world is the stuff of which we are made. Even as we stand apart as observers -- strangers in the cradle of our genesis -- some part of us feels pulled back towards the place of our first awakening. If we meet this more than half-way we can drink even more deeply of the nourishing nectar that first gave us life.

To be naked in the wilderness is to know it in ways that are otherwise beyond are grasp. When we pull off our clothes in a primal place -- in a forest or on a beach -- we begin the journey back to the bright world of our beginning. We are transformed into something different from what we are when smothered under even the sheerest of cloth. It is not only the body which is choked by the coverings to which so many of us cling; it's our true nature which is suffocated by the falsehood with which we shield ourselves. And it is only that part of us which we hide and deny that can respond to and merge with the true nature of the world into which we were born.

To be naked under the out-stretched bower of expansive limbs reaching over us, or upon a meadow hillside where the light breezes of summer brush past is to feel the world in a way that we can't while clothed. The brilliance of the sky and the sun and the blessed coolness of the shadows in the deep places become somehow more poignant and true. The opaque layer of alienation which often seems to coat the world falls away with the illusions engendered by our self-imposed exile. The scintillating vitality of everything blossoms and dances before us. The creative loom out of which we emerged is somehow palpable now. We can sense a kinship with the otherwise elusive forces which swirl and mix about us. We see that there is a living, burgeoning spirit in the bright world that unveils itself. If we let ourselves we can fall under its enchantment and converse with it wordlessly as it reaches out to us. All is alive once we shed the dead skin which has imprisoned our souls as much as our bodies.

To live under this enchantment might seem to many a frivolous or naive state. There are many who would deny that there is a kind of heightened sense of being -- a magical world view -- which charges everything with a vitality lacking in the flat and vapid monochrome of what passes for common sense. For such people the mind must reign supreme, and the senses are often not much more than an annoying distraction. But the most profound truth is not a product of the mind but of the totality of what we feel. It springs forth from the heart and animates us, planting within us the impulse to live and love and be one with the world from which we somehow became estranged.

When we experience the world directly with the wholeness of what we are we enter a magical world. The euphoria which comes to us as our fears give way becomes the basis of a new and more creative way of seeing and expressing ourselves. We rise above the flatness of mere reason, defying the gravity which prevented us from soaring when we believed in its preeminence. We are lifted into a realm where we gain the potential to be more loving and creative.

And yet the time eventually comes when we must put on our clothes once more. The rest of the world isn't ready, it seems, for this intensity of freedom. The enchanted breath of expansiveness in which we reveled must be lost to us now. The dull, gray plainness we had escaped falls upon us and stifles us once more.

We don't have to surrender to this, however -- not completely. There is always hope for the next time we'll have the chance to reclaim what is rightfully ours: the freedom to be what we are. And there are ways we can bring some of this precious experience back into our daily lives. Though our day-to-day existence often lacks the wonderment of those rare, elevated moments, some of the enchantment still lingers and can actually grow. By simply being more open and caring -- and thereby helping people to learn to lower their guard and accept each other and themselves -- we move the world inch by inch towards being a place more amenable to and tolerant of the freedom to be naked both bodily and spiritually.

We can only hope that each time we dispense with the falsehood that separates us from ourselves that the cisterns of our hearts are refilled and somehow change the world, making it more possible and more likely that we will find a clearer, wider road back to the garden from which we have exiled ourselves. Perhaps a day might come when that road grows shorter or even disappears as the two worlds are no longer so far apart or even divided at all. Until then we must remember to revisit this paradise as often as we can and bring back the sweet fruits to enliven the drab, everyday world to which we have consigned ourselves.