Going alone in wilderness was used as practice for spiritual rejuvenation and clarity throughout human history by many historic figures. Depending on personal development and readiness, some reported experiences of luminous clairvoyance, state of oneness and intense transformation.
There are plentiful examples of Jesus of Nazareth, Sakyamuni Buddha, Tibetan yogi Milarepa, Greek Orthodox monk Saint Simeon, David Thoreau and great number of others throughout history that used time alone in the wilderness as a way to clarify meaning of existence, to connect to the source of happiness within and shine a light on a path of individual evolution of consciousness.
Going along in wilderness gives a variegated experience of space. Our habitually internalized relationship with our immediate environment has a tendency to subconsciously retrain our ability to envision new perspective on out universe and our place in it. Going into wilderness alone has a potential for a new possibility to see yourself in the world.
External environment has a direct effect on our sense of well-being. As our mind makes sense of it internally through relational cognition. External space is a reflection of a space of the mind, which is experienced as awareness within which all appearances arising.
"The environment and experiences change our brain, so who you are as a person changes by virtue of the environment you live in and experiences you have".
Fred Gage, Neuroscientist — Sulk University at La Jolla, California.
OPEN MORE SPACE FOR LIFE.
Going alone in wilderness with intention of nurturing yourself and opening to reality of inner experience as much as outer terrain will result in perceptual shifts. Spaciousness of outer expanse experienced by being alone in the wilderness will translate into softening of the edges of rigid relationship to conceptual definition of personal reality and a place within your universe.
It may result in greater open-mindedness and more magnanimous attitude toward yourself and others. If you come away from a place of conflict or stagnation in not finding solution to whatever problem, being alone in wilderness may initiate a change. By nature of shifting environment it may cause you to abandon ardent attachment to focus on problematic position and let unexpected solution come.
Your perception, which is governed by mental habits might shift along with a change in vastness and serene stability of a landscape. It will affect your interaction within yourself by the way of slowing your mind down to let it rest in its natural state devoid of input for habitual reactivity.
When this happens you may see others in a slightly different light, more like diverse flow of events and not like single snapshots you chose them to see. It will give rise to mental spaciousness and tolerance.
There is a new branch of neuroscience specifically aimed at study of malleability of the brain, called Neuroplasticity. What long-believed to be true that brain formation is finished in early childhood was proven otherwise by researchers at Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla, California.They shown that the adult brain can change its structure, its connections and functions. Which meant that we can voluntarily transform our experience, by changing our minds and brains through the choice of environment, way of life and mental activity which we engage.
Enriched environments experiment on rats at the same university showed that by placing lab animals in rooms with play and exercise equipment gave rise to neurogenesis — an increase and survival of new neurons.
It was a striking discovery that exposure to an enriched environment leads to increase in new neurons by 15% along with improvement in behavioral performance
Going alone in wilderness for mental health has a positive effect of removing mental static, which is seeing yourself stuck in a particular situation. We get ourselves stuck by firmly believing and identifying with our particular mental construct of fragments of reality into a concrete view. Identifying with our view of life as truly existent reality, completely solid and unchangeable gets us stuck.
Going in wilderness alone may help to loosen up our attachment to our version of reality, our universe by offering an opportunity to quiet the mind and notice the stream of thoughts and emotions from a standpoint of neutral observer. It might happen through deliberate use of meditative technique or by being removed from environment that re-enforces our habitual way of being.
This is the opening into awareness - nature of who you are. Power of awareness is such that it is liberating from self-imposed limitations. The effect of the awareness on your thoughts, emotions and desires is detachment. You begin to observe emotions and thoughts as events passing through and not an intrinsic quality of yourself. You are not identical to these mental activities. As rigid structure of perceiving yourself and your relationship to circumstances in a particular way begins to soften up, there is an opening to become free to move forward.
INTENTIONAL PRACTICES FOR BEING ALONE IN WILDERNESS.
By the nature of simply being removed from continuous information input of ordinary life and going alone into the wilderness, there are naturally arising methods for gaining mental balance, awareness and sense of well-being.
Being alone in wilderness is naturally infused with opportunity for silence. In silence, there is a possibility to hear your inner dialogue and notice the quality of relationship you have with yourself. In silence of being alone in nature, there is a possibility to slow down and watch your mind and all its activity with detachment and realize your freedom from preoccupation with its contents.
Being alone in nature offers a great chance for self-awarenss through alert attention to your contact with earth, landscape and your body response to it. Walking meditation is about using movement of your feet and their contact with surface for bringing your mind into a present moment. Walking with focused attention on the manner of your body movement can lead to a sense of great relief from stress rising from obsession with bad memories, negative future fantasies and worries.
There is plenty of open sky usually available to cast your gaze. Method of settling the mind through non-conceptual gazing into the sky avails a possibility to experience deeper level of consciousness. The power of open awareness or settling your mind in its natural state results in increased capacity for focused attention and sense of well-being arising from presence in the "now-ness".
It is experienced by looking into the space of the sky without particular focus while internally observing and allowing all thoughts, desires, fantasies and emotions appear and disappear on their own accord, like clouds in the space of the sky without affecting it.
Going alone in wilderness has a vast potential for inner transformation and spiritual regeneration. However it needs to be done with preparation for safety, provisions and some knowledge of survival in the wilderness.