Monthly Archives: June 2014
I went for a prairie walk today as the sun came out and the temperatures told me to get out and pay homage to the sun. I drove out of town about seven kilometres to the south and parked the little Toyota on a dirt road just before the road ends at the entrance to the prairie hills. A walk, au naturel, for two and a half kilometres took me to this sign. “Road Closed.”
The walk allowed me to photograph numerous wildflowers and prairie scenes that met the eye as I walked down what used to be the road. If you look carefully, you can see the evidence of that previous dirt road that has now been claimed by weeds, mud and birds for the most part. There were deer tracks that told me of other visitors. However, there were no car tracks or footprints or even tractor tread marks. Some of the old trail has been re-claimed as farmland with a crop of wheat now growing in old ruts.
Naturism is like a “road closed” sign that warns us not to go this way. However, it is just these places that take us back to nature and allow us to find our own nature, our own natural way of being in our skin. I am not the best at following rules that deny one’s humanity, that deny the right to simply be natural. For me, the road that leads to naturism is opening more and more.
Yes, it is sunny. Today began cloudy and cool with few prospects for getting out in the sunshine. Yet, by mid-morning the sun was a welcome presence. It isn’t supposed to hang around for a long time, but it is simply good enough for a few hours of exposure. My tan from Mexico is just about all gone as it is.
Other than taking time to read a good book in the sun (I’m reading Barely Retired, by Adam Lawlor), I did get in my morning meditation and checking my social media pages. I was also on the hunt for a bikini bathing suit for myself for when I walk on the public beach back in Mexico this coming winter. Yes, it is like the first day of summer here and I am already planning on escaping the icy blasts of winter. Plane tickets have already been purchased as well.
I could be upset at cancelling my naturist retreat at Green Haven, but I am really not upset in the slightest. It’s not like I don’t get time to be nude as I still haven’t put on any clothing today. On the plus side, I get to continue hanging out with my wife who is working for the weekend, day shifts. We make a great pair once she is home. That said, I had better plan the menu for this evening’s meal. I love being a “kept man.” Retirement suits me just fine as I can write without worrying about interruptions such as having to go out and earn a living.
Brrr! I have to admit that I am getting tired of this un-summer like weather. If I was younger and impatient – well, that is less patient than I am in my senior years – I might be filled with anger and resentment towards the weather and life in general. The good news is that I am old enough to realise that there is nothing personal in the weather, no god of rain who is pissed off at me.
The cold and damp weather has forced me to constantly revise my plans so far this spring and summer to date. For example, this is the second time I have had to call and cancel my trailer rental at the Green Haven Sun Club that is four hours from my home. The forecast for there, as well as here, is for cool temperatures, cloud cover, and rain.
So what does a naturist do when the conditions warrant some other kind of activity? I can’t answer for all naturists, but there is always the warm comfort of one’s home. For myself, there are so many things that beg my attention, admittedly, mostly in a clothed condition such as attending the high school graduation of my first grandchild yesterday. There were brief interludes between rain squalls in which I got to take a host of outdoor photos with him and his girlfriend. Between the weather conditions and the mosquitoes, clothes were actually a blessing. After all, this is Canada, and I am living on the Canadian prairies.
Well, I am finally back home, done with camping for at least a week. I had very poor access to Internet and that didn’t bother me in the least as I was focused on other things such as writing, as you can see in this image, relaxing, and engaging in long hikes with my wife.
We walked all but one day in spite of it raining almost every day. The day we missed was raining too hard to even think of walking. So, we took in some jazz and then went to the city library as well as heading out for a coffee at Starbucks.
Our walking was a test to see how our equipment functioned, especially our rain gear. We twice walked twenty kilometres (that’s 12 miles for the metrically challenged), more than half of that in the rain. We got to stop about two-thirds of the way through each walk at a great coffee emporium called Broadway Roastery where we enjoyed cafe au lait as if we were stopping for refreshment while walking in northern Spain. Our goal is to walk about 1,000 kilometres when all is said and done in the fall of 2015 – the main part of that called the Camino Frances which will take us from Saint Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago del Compostele in north-western Spain. I will talk more about this Camino in future posts. For now, it is back to taking care of a few chores that have accumulated since we left a week ago for camping.
It is raining again. We travelled to Saskatoon for five days of camping with the intention of doing a lot of hiking on the trails along the North Saskatchewan River. We did manage to get in a ten kilometre hike an hour after we set up our tiny r-pod trailer and add-a-room (visible through the bedroom window of the trailer). We won’t be hiking this morning as neither of us sees the point of pointlessly and deliberately getting soaked and chilled.
Though we are camping in a public campground, I do continue to meditate and write while nude. It is just the way it is. Of course there is no nudity outside of the trailer and the add-a-room. I have no interest in making life difficult for myself and my good wife. Since the little trailer is still new-to-us, we are still learning a few things about it, and adding a few things to it to make it more “personal.”
The campsite has very poor Internet connections, so it is mostly a hit-and-miss experience for posting, checking e-mail, and using social media – mostly it is a “miss.” That means, I am spending more time simply writing, adding to my current body of work on personal and family history. That said, I will connect when I can.
In the beginning, as we know it in the modern western world, nudity was considered a state of holiness. The Creator only became angry when Adam and Eve tried to hide their nudity, angry at their shame at being naked. Now, we have somehow turned that around. God would be angry with us for a lack of shame for being naked. Humans are created / born naked. It is hard to dispute that biological fact. For the majority of human existence, clothing has not been a part of life other than when the human body needed protection from the elements or from the conditions created in work.
Clothing became a part of social life as a means of separating classes or castes. Peasants and slaves continued to live and work nude according to conditions of weather and workplace. The upper classes adopted clothing to signify their superiority, their distancing from the base level of humanity. Clothing then began to signify degrees of power and importance within these upper classes. Yet, at the level of religious belief and practices, nudity was still held as important.
In ancient Egypt, the attitude towards nudity was made official as found in “the baked-clay tablet archives of Pharaoh Akhen-Aton (1385-1353 B.C.). It was learned through the subsequent translation of these tablets that the brilliant young pharaoh and his exquisitely beautiful queen, Nefertiti, considered the sun, Aton, to be the true wellspring of life and thus justified the practice of nudism for spiritual and physical advancement.” [Goodson, Nudity, Therapy and Joy].
Nudity in worship, at least by the priests and priestesses, continued well into modern times as noted in both Greek and Roman histories. Even in our era as late as 1981, Pope John Paul II said “The human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendour and its beauty… Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness… Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person…The human body is not in itself shameful… Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person.”
It makes a person wonder why the great brouhaha over nudity that exists in the modern western world, the idea of nudity being immoral. It seems that there has been a shift in basic human understanding to allow the “shadow‘ or the unconscious to become the arbiter of human morality.
A person is naked – just naked – doing nothing immoral and without intent to cause either to him/herself or to others any immoral behaviour. Laying in the sun to sunbathe or to read a book is about sunbathing and book-reading, not about titillation or invitation for adulterous and/or licentious behaviours. A person who sees a naked human body, either in images or in face-to-face life responds to what is seen and either accepts what is seen for what was intended or that viewing person’s shadow is activated with thoughts that are adulterous and/or licentious. Needless to say that the “bad” behaviour is on the part of the clothed person who views and responds inappropriately – remember the original response of Adam and Eve? – and that inappropriate response is the real moral problem that we are faced with when it comes to nudity.
It isn’t often that I have seen an image of Shiva completely nude. I wondered about this, especially after having visited the Khajuraharo temples in India. The temple of Candi Sukuh in Indonesia also features nudity in the temple, especially male nudity. I did get to see other examples of nudity, male and female, in various Hindu and Jain temples in India when we spent a month there between teaching semesters in China.
More often than not, Shiva has his genitals covered while the rest of him is skyclad. Lord Shiva has roots going back likely more than 3,500 years ago. Shaivism is the oldest of the four sects of the Hindu religion, and it is in this form where Lord Shiva was always imaged as being skyclad. It is from these roots that the Naga Sadhus, or Holy Saints and the Digambara which are part of the Jainist religion that also sprang from the earliest roots of Hinduism.
Lord Shiva, as a god was skyclad. True worship of this god was done skyclad. It’s interesting to note that nudity was equated with holiness, with purity as it was at one time in the Judean tradition that forms the roots of modern Christianity. God created women and men in his image and this humanity was created skyclad. There was no sin in nakedness. Sin only came about when humans found this creation, this state of being nude, shameful. Yet, we moderns are so absolutely certain that nudity is as far from holy as one can get.
What happened with my last post? Usually I get around 125 visitors here at the blog site daily. Some days are better than others with upwards of 200 visitors and some days just slip under a hundred. Yesterday I had just over 500 visitors for a typical post in terms of content. So what made the difference? Did I somehow hit on a topic that caught the attention of a larger reading public? Or, was it the image of an erect penis, or the older image of a man being led by his penis? These are serious questions as the answers say something very important about our modern world. If the image draws the attention, do the words get read and thought about? Or, is it just the image that counts, an image that perhaps is downloaded for future viewing?
I don’t have the answers, nor do hope to get any answers. I am simply noticing what seems to be present in terms of the collective unconscious as well as the personal unconscious within myself and you, my readers. I am realising that I know less and less as the months and years go by. It seems that no sooner do I acquire just a bit more awareness, then the universe becomes exponentially even larger making what I think I know, shrink in comparison. Now, back to my regular writing.
It’s slightly depressing out as far as weather is concerned and I have a cold adding a level of misery to the situation. Of course, this means that my approach to the world is tinged with a sense of grayness rather than the clear light of sunshine. As a result, this post reflects my mood – and in a way, that is honest as it can get.
This image is an old image that I found a number of years ago, stored away in my archives of psychological images and promptly forgot about. This morning, as I turned to Twitter and Facebook in order to see what my on-line community was up to, I met with a few images that at first made me mad, then changed to sadness.
So many images of men, posted by men, featured the penis. It was as if for many, the male identity has been reduced to the penis. The images which elicited this response showed male penises standing up proud, more often than not, but with the faces of their owners, for that is what the men have become, owners of a separate thing of power. Clear sight has been compromised. By empowering the penis, men have become blind to what they do as they follow the will of instinct, blind to what they do others and themselves in service to primal instinct.
I have heard too many defend the images of penises without the critical identifier of the faces of the men who now belong to these penises. What was troubling at first was the defense that these were natural images of a man, rather than a psychological statement of importance of how some men, perhaps too many men, have unconsciously stopped looking at the whole picture of themselves and the world. By following their dicks, men become blind to what is happening to the world around them.
I am not offended by the sight of a penis. However, I am saddened at how men have lost their sense of self as they use their penises as their avatars, use them to tell the world that they are real men while hiding their faces as though ashamed of being discovered. For, if discovered, the world would then learn their lie – that they are victims. All men have a penis. Real men have consciousness and awareness of their responsibility to the world. Real men are compassionate, thoughtful, insightful beings who make the world a healthier, safer, and better world. Real men aren’t servants to the penis, the symbol of power of body over mind and heart.
Yes, I take my study of dharma outdoors with me. And yes, often that study is done while I am not wearing clothing. Buddhism isn’t just about meditation or the wearing of colourful robes by Tibetan monks or monks of other Buddhist paths. For myself as an individual studying in private places and during private moments, being naked is a reminder to me to give up any and all ego games. I refuse to hide behind ego built personae. I deliberately challenge myself to bare my psyche as well as my body, to set aside my truths and see what then appears to me, see what resonates within me from the words of a dharma teacher. Taking refuge, there are three changes that take place. First, there is a change of attitude. One becomes more sympathetic, or kind to both oneself and towards the world as a hole – not just others, but Mother Earth, animals, plants, even the very rocks that we meet on our journey through life. The second change is one of mark. I guess this is close to attitude, but an attitude that is about behaviour – non-aggression. One loses the need to prove anything to anyone else, or to oneself. I guess you could say a person becomes more sane, more gentle, and considerate. The third thing that changes is one’s name. Everyone who takes refuge is given a dharma name. My dharma name is Mingyur Tenzin, which loosely translates into “unchanging dharma holder.” One’s dharma name is more about reminding a person about something they need to concern themselves with rather than as some sort of ego identification. As Chogyam Trungpa so aptly described the process of becoming a Buddhist, one joins a group “of lonely people” a heroic act where one is with others where all are dedicated to work with their loneliness. After all, if one is honest, there is no off-loading of the responsibility to deal with one’s shadows and one’s ignorance and one’s darkness. Being able to be with others who dare this work is a means of finding a secure ground for growing.