I have asked for and received permission to use this photo of a man, a married man with three children like me. Like me, he is on a spiritual journey and has embraced meditation, nudity and naturism as part of that spiritual journey. He is ten years younger than I am and lives in South America. I would like him to speak for himself:
“My nudity was an inward and spiritual necessity, it joined the naturism. My process was initially meditation techniques in nature. From then on, the search was and is continuous. [And] since I left my clothes [to] live nude [it] is not [to] live without clothes, but [to] live with different eyes, with [a] different mind, with continuous healing spirit, with the soul in continuous search – the paths are the same, the hike is different.”
The discovery that there are more and more people such as myself who are looking beyond, beneath and within for meaning as humans has given me greater courage to be myself, to dare being fully myself. A long time ago I wrote about how Sydney Jourard’s book, The Transparent Self, had been a part of the influence that helped explain my personal shift to consciously becoming vulnerable in the external world. I have also frequently referred to Jungian psychology as “peeling away layers” to reveal an authentic self. And, I have frequently spoken about how meditation au naturel has served to connect me with a larger sense of the universe, a spiritual dimension that cannot tolerate disguises, masks or false images.
In our religions we are taught that humans were made in the image of their Creator, perfect creations, created naked and vulnerable and beautiful. Somewhere along the way we have lost that innocence and learned to believe that the Creator made a mistake in creating us naked. We have learned to that to be naked is to be sinful, even evil. Our holiest garb has us so covered in cloth that our bodies have disappeared within the coverings so that we become sexless beings.
Learning that I am constantly changing with each breath, each moment and interaction with the world, teaches me to be more gentle with myself and the world, as well as it teaches me to cling less to old habits, beliefs and false security. I was surprised earlier today to find these words that led me just a bit further along my journey to being an authentic and transparent being.
“We are given changes all the time. We can either cling to security, or we can let ourselves feel exposed, as if we had just been born, as if we had just popped out into the brightness of life and were completely naked.
Maybe that sounds too uncomfortable or frightening, but on the other hand, it’s our chance to realize that this mundane world is all there is, and we could see it with new eyes and at long last wake up from our ancient sleep of preconceptions.”
Waking up. Stripping off the clothes and facing the world totally vulnerable and with honesty is frightening in many ways, particularly in this modern world which is hell-bent on punishing those who dare to be authentic. But as Pema Chodron points out, it’s our chance. I grew tired of darkness, of fear and of hiding. Now, like my friend from South America, I dare say, This is who I am!