I have asked for and received permission to use this photo of a man, a married man with 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 many years younger than I am and he lives in America.
The discovery that there are more and more people such as myself and my friend Will Forest shown here, who is also a writer of naturist fiction, was a gift. To know others 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 naked and 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, stripped of protective clothing and facing the world totally vulnerable and honestly is frightening in many ways, particularly in this modern world which is hell-bent on punishing those who dare to be authentic in any form. But as Pema Chodron points out, it’s our chance. I grew tired of darkness, of fear and of hiding. Now I dare say, This is who I am!