Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Category: meditation

Something For Naturists to Meditate Upon

It’s day ten of my quarantine as mandated by the National Government of Canada. The day began as do most of my days – wake up early, put up the furnace [we put it down to 15 Celsius for the night], turn on the coffee, and then open the draperies before we sit on our love seat to enjoy our first cup of the day.

Then, as usual with out new reality, we both reached out to our kids and grandkids for chat opportunities. I then recorded my second part of a Science Fiction story for my grandchildren, a story that has all of them and their parents, as well as a few friends as the main characters. It is a fun activity for me, and one they are quick to tell me they like. Once the audio file was posted for them, I returned to my Post-Pandemic Naturist story. Before lunch, part two was completed. It is now up on the Patreon site, scheduled for release on Monday.

Then, with everything flowing smoothly, we got a message. One of our older nephews was airlifted from his town to a city. He is 60 and is unconscious and on a ventilator. There is no diagnosis yet, but all parties believe it is CV19. Two days earlier, another nephew was diagnosed with an aggressive case of prostate cancer. Suddenly, the world has caught up with our family which somehow had miraculously been spared much in the way of tragedy. This has ceased being a mental exercise and has become very visceral.

The Federal Government also released its tentative predictions for the effect of Covid19 in terms of infections and death rates. The best case scenario sees just under 5,000 deaths. The worst case scenario has nearly 50,000 deaths. No matter which way one looks at these numbers, this will forever change our country and its people. What is almost as powerful in generating a change in who we are as a people and how we are as a nation, will be the impact on how we will govern ourselves once this has passed, and how we live together as a people.

What will change? Will we become a kinder population [we are already noted as being a kind people on the International stage]? Will we become more tolerant of differences? Or, will we retreat into our clans with little trust for those not within our clans? I don’t have any answers or predictions. What are your thoughts?

Social Isolation Just Got More Isolated for This Naturist

No place to go

Well, I knew it was coming, but I really wasn’t ready for it. The Ecuadorian military has shut down all the beaches, parks, and recreational areas in the country. Everyone is to stay at home. And, they mean business. Break curfew, drive when you aren’t supposed to, be where you aren’t supposed to be – potential for three years in jail. Yesterday, a man broke curfew, plead guilty and was given 4 months in prison rather than the otherwise minimum of 1 year. There is also a fine option of US$6,000 for breaking curfew. Needless to say, this all makes me feel safer here in Ecuador that I would feel in the USA, Europe, and even Canada.

With no beach walking, my routines have changed. We created an exercise routine setting up outdoor stations in our yard and patio. At the end of our morning rotation through the stations, I sat for twenty minutes of mediation. This will now become a two-meditation sessions per day, both morning meditation in the shade, and as pictured above, afternoon meditation in the sun.

Sunbathing shifts from somewhere down the beach to a corner near the patio which is hidden from potential passersby. This is the same location as where I meditate.  This is how a naturist self-isolates in Ecuador when there is a bit of outdoor private space. We are lucky as the three-house compound is empty with the exception of the two of us.

I went grocery shopping, one of the few things allowed, this morning. I bought a few face masks so that I don’t cause the local shop owners or passing locals to worry about the foreigner they see passing them. Small shops don’t let you in the store, they get what you need and bring it to the front of the store for you. Knowing some Spanish is very, very helpful. The store workers are wearing face masks and use hand sanitizers before serving a customer. And in two stores, they squirt sanitizer on your hands before  you enter their store. In another store, they even offered sanitizer after payment has been made. Once at home, I went through the washing up using soap and water. I’m doing my part for helping control and contain the COVID19 pandemic. As our Canadian Health Minister has said, we don’t want to just want to flatten the curve, we want to “plank” it.

Now, with even more at home time in my hands, I have begun to rewrite the third book of my autobiographical series. Book two is now available at Amazon.

Problems Defining Self as a Naturist

There is a problem in the world of naturism. Well, the problem isn’t just in naturism, but more about the use of the word, naturism. Joy is not a naturist by self-definition. When I look at the many people I know in the face-to-face world who claim to be naturists, I am beginning to think that perhaps no one is a naturist. The word is too hard to define. That said, there is a consensus in the “naturist” community for what the word is supposed to mean. Nudity is front and centre. Add in the idea of being in one’s “natural state” whether indoors or outdoors, doing “natural” things while “au naturel.” Meditation, hiking, housework, reading, watching TV, a picnic, exercise, sunbathing … the list is long as it includes anything you can do clothed, normal activities in your life.

Joy Nelson, a Canadian, is a person who doesn’t define herself as a naturist though so much of what she presents to the world in her images, shows a naturist idea or ideal. It is there where we need to look when in search of what exactly is naturism – the ideal. It’s a concept which seems easy to understand – no clothing, natural activity, no agenda for the nudity other than as a state of being. We can all get there from time to time. However, just as in meditation, one can’t stay there. Alan Watts basically said the same about not being able to stay in a state of Zazen as a Zen Buddhist. We basically are humans, needing no permission to be human as we stumble in and out of more than one philosophy.

I am a Buddhist … at times. I am a Jungian … at times. I am a naturist … at times. I am a normal textile person … well the normal part is iffy … at times. I am an author … at times. I float in and out of roles and personae as does everyone else. How do I, or you, put a label on who we are. I know that for this blog site, I self-identify as a Canadian Naturist. However, That is only one part of being a complex being. One thing that is central to the naturist philosophy, for that is in the end what it is, is the state of not being sexual, with a sexuality intent. It isn’t pop-porn. It isn’t for titillating others. It isn’t about hooking up with others. There are a lot of “isn’ts” and that is important to know.

Yet, those isn’ts are about naturism, not about being human. We are sexual beings, with sexual desires. We are individuals who need the interaction with others. There is a hierarchy of needs that need to be met as humans and no one philosophy: Christianity, Buddhism, Naturism, consumerism, or whatever – which can provide us with all of our needs. What we need to do is to become better aware of ourselves, make choices that allow us to be ourselves in our best version, and accept we are as authentic, unique humans. And somewhere along the way, have some fun.

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A Buddhist Meditating Naked

Meditation in China, 2011

Every morning I meditate when I am at home in a special spot, special for me. On the wall I have photos of lotus flowers that I took in Vietnam as well as an image of Buddha that I found in Thailand. On the small altar are books, incense, a candle, a silk scarf and name card that were presented to me when I took refuge as a Buddhist. There are more things in my special space, a sacred space. When I meditate here, I do so completely nude. Even the glasses and the hearing aids are set aside. This is the authentic self, not my ego self, daring to cut through all the illusions we create with our minds.

Why am I a Buddhist? I don’t know the complete answer as I am still discovering what Buddhism is after my introduction to Buddhism forty-six years ago, about the same time as I discovered the healing power of naturism. I didn’t connect the two for a long, long time. It wasn’t until nine years ago that I was pulled into sitting in a pool of sunshine, sitting naked and totally vulnerable. During one of my retreats in 2009, while in Mexico, I found myself searching for a secluded area and stripped off my clothing and meditated. It was the beginning of my present practice. However, it wasn’t until I was teaching at a university in China after having retired from teaching and school administration in Canada, that I made nude meditation a common practice.

With the decision to enter into a formal relationship with Buddhism, I took refuge in 2012, a year after the above photo. It didn’t matter that I had read about Buddhism, or meditated, or had my own little wooden effigy of Buddha in my home – the act of taking refuge took me to a different place, a place that I realise isn’t about Tibet, or Thailand, or even any particular school of Buddhist belief. I was discovering more and more about the bare facts of who I was. And that, is a journey that is still in progress.

Naked and Being More Holistic and Complete

Authentically me

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. Others such as Paul Z. Walker and Will Forest, two men who are both authors and naturists, lessens the sense of aloneness and alienation.

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!

Risking Authenticity as a Naturist

Healing is holistic

It was hard trying to begin today’s post. I found it hard to sit still at the computer and get started. My mind kept racing all over the place. I was making plans for all sorts of activities over the next several months in my head without recording any of these ideas. The time out I gave to myself to sit quiet in meditation helped for a short while, but even that peace began to be drowned out by the constant chatter in my head. Finally, I was able to sit down and begin. My mind, my ego was rushing around doing its best to avoid this sitting down and return to the work of soul healing.

Now that I have my ego back under control, I can begin today’s post about respect and about values. Of course, as a naturist, I have learned that society, as a collective, has no respect for naturism, nudism, nude activism or just the simple enjoyment of occasional nude activity.  As a result, there is a growing underground collective of those who want to be naked, nude, au naturel, etc. It is understandable, but it doesn’t solve the problem of having the general population be respectful of a sizable group of citizens who pay their taxes, contribute to their society in various enterprises and work positions.

Respect is a difficult term. For the general society, it really isn’t about respect at all, it is about obeying and conforming, or else. And to back up the “or else,” laws and religious edicts are continually put forth to enforce compliance. And where there are no laws, communities make up unwritten laws in order to ensure that differences are not tolerated. Why? Being different for many is viewed as a negative criticism of the group. In response to one’s being “not like the others,” a defensive response, the group reacts with demonizing, humiliating and shaming. As I say this, I want to make sure you understand that I am talking about groups, not individuals. In every group there are some that are more aware than others. And because they are more aware of themselves and others, there is more tolerance and respect. They have already learned that no human is either good or evil, but that every human is a complex blend of conscious and unconscious behaviours and attitudes.

Now, I realise that there are so many gray areas here. There are people who, on an individual level have reason to be “naked wary.” There are too many who have suffered sexual assaults, too many who have been humiliated about their bodies. I respect their position of being extremely discomforted by nudity. I have also seen how nudity has been abused by corporate industry through advertising all the way to hard-core pornography.  That has left even more people unable to separate personal nudity from the evils of a corporate world determined to make addicts of every one of us: addicts of sex, addicts of fear, addicts of whatever it is that they have to sell none of which is good for our heart and soul, and often our very bodies. So how do I show respect for these hurting individuals? Obviously, I don’t become a threat to their well-being by getting into their spaces and getting nude. Do I expect a response of respect back from them? Well, yes I do – but I don’t expect it or demand it.

Like almost all naturists, I just want to be left in peace, to not have to worry that if I get seen in some peaceful nature setting, or even in my own yard, naked, that I won’t have to deal with the threat of law, or be harassed and bullied. My getting naked is about my feeling good about who I am, it isn’t about trying my hardest to offend or traumatise anyone. My getting naked is about making peace with my body as part of my own journey of healing of soul.

Mental Buddhism and Skyclad Depth Psychology

Today is starting off as an introspective day. After my morning meditation along the sea where I could feel the breezes and see the sun rising to bless this body with its first rays. Back at the casa, I continued to sit relatively still on the balcony with only a few stirrings. My mind was still and that was a blessing. Stripped of all of the normal chatter in my brain, it was as though my mind decided to embrace naturism as well, to dare being bare of all of those illusory thoughts that preoccupy the mind. For the hours from rising until the start of writing this post, I would say that I was a Buddhist Mental Nudist, a term coined by Domo Geshe Rinpoche, an American woman who is not really what she claims to be, a Rinpoche in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Be that as it may, I saw the expression “mental nudist” and knew that the term fits the experience of this morning. It is also a term that accords with what I would call skyclad depth psychology.

With this discovery of Buddhism and Nudism, I continued my search on how the two do become one. I know that as an organisation, Buddhism is not supportive of naturism or nudism based on the early teachings of Siddharhta Gautama (Buddha). Today, Buddhists are wrapped in robes and those robes serve a purpose of defining roles so that all will know who is a lay person, who is a monastic, who is a dharma teacher, who is a Lama, who is a Rinpoche. Buddhism is invested in the world, a world that doesn’t have much value for naturism and nudism. Yet, when I say that, I am talking about the container of Buddhism, not the stripped bare heart of Buddhism. At the heart of Buddhist philosophy, not Buddhism as a religion, everything is stripped bare leaving one fully exposed, leaving one without illusions.

It comes down to some basic facts. One is a human. One has a body. One has a mind. One has a soul. And perhaps most importantly, one is connected at all levels with the universe which is One. There is no shame in the body each human is gifted with at birth regardless of what the collective decides is beautiful or ugly or sinful – the body is the purest physical expression of who we are, an honest physical portrait, a temple for the mind, spirit and soul.

“The gods made our bodies as well as our souls, is it not so? They give us voices, so we might worship them with song. They give us hands, so we might build them temples. And they give us desire, so that we might mate and worship them in that way.” [Martin, The Clash of Kings, p. 210]

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