Six Senses Bhutan
Six Senses Krabey Island
Six Senses Fiji
Six Senses Fort Barwara
Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali
Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Samui
Six Senses Yao Noi
Six Senses Con Dao
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
Six Senses Botanique
Wellness Pioneer, Anna Bjurstam talked with Friend of Six Senses, Boyd Varty, for a deep dive into what the wilderness can teach us about cultivating our internal navigation system, the power of nature to heal our modern lives, and what happened to Boyd's state of consciousness after spending 40 days alone and in the wild.
With a suddenly empty schedule, Boyd realized he had the time to do something he’d been dreaming about for years – disappear for 40 days and nights by himself into the wild to understand what mystics have been doing for millennia. In a treehouse on the banks of a river at Londolozi Animal Preserve in South Africa, he had an experience he’d only read about and he found out firsthand what happens to your state of mind when you’re alone in the wild.
Spending 40 days and nights alone in the treehouse was one of the most deep, transformative and powerful experiences he’d ever had. He shared that there were three clear stages to his experience.
For the first few days, there was a shedding. Boyd shared he would get anxious, problems came to mind that he felt he had to handle. He reached for his phone which wasn’t there. Slowly though he moved through all these layers of fear and anxiety and they were replaced by a different way of attuning.
What happened next was a shift in focus. Instead of being attuned to the news or technology, he tuned in to his environment. Even though he was alone, everything around him was alive. The trees were alive. Every morning, he’d look down from his treehouse and see the elephants drinking from the river below. In the afternoon the monkeys came and it was like being visited by neighbors. He started to experience himself in connection with everything around him.
Boyd went on to share that the third stage is where it got really mysterious. He felt the presence of everything alive around him. He said, “My eyes opened to the fact that everything happening around me – this mystery, this beauty, this enchantment, this wonder – it’s all around me and I’m a part of it. It’s an incredible feeling of connection and wholeness and I think this is why the mystics went to nature.”
Living in nature was not new to Boyd. He grew up on a wild piece of land in South Africa and apprenticed with a tribe known for its ability to track. They taught him this ancient artform of following faint prints of an animal across the land. At 16, he experienced violent trauma and by the time he got to his 20s, he was completely frozen and didn’t know how to move forward. He realized that the artform of tracking had all these tools to help him find his purpose.
The first thing a tracker does is go without knowing. When a lion roars in the jungle, you don’t know exactly where he is or what he’s doing. The process starts with acknowledging that you don’t know where you’re going. Building a comfort level with not knowing is a foundational practice.
Next is curiosity. What Boyd discovered from both his personal experience and coaching others is that your curiosity is a signpost leading you towards what is essential to you. Curiosity is the way life pulls us to a destiny beyond what we know.
Then, you have to learn how to develop track awareness so you can see your own tracks. This is about tuning your attention to the information that’s in front of you. At first, it will be difficult to see but as you practice and refine your skills, what may seem like an empty space will be full of signs.
Track awareness happens via your body’s sensations not from your rational mind. Boyd shared a simple exercise for starting to cultivate your track awareness.
We are all made up of two parts. We have a social self and we need that because we live in society. Underneath that is the wild self or the essential self. This is a core part of ourselves. Oftentimes, the social self can crush the wild self and we find our lives defined by what we should do. When you arrive at a place where you want more from your life, now you have to be a tracker of the wild self. But how?
Over the next few days, notice your energy around certain people. Does your body feel open or does it feel contracted? Watch what happens to your body when you’re doing certain activities. You may notice that certain activities are draining, some are energizing. This entire practice starts with awareness of your body’s sensations.
What about when you lose your track or aren’t sure what’s next? Boyd explained that what trackers do when they lose the track is they go back to the last clear track they had. What you can do is get out a journal and write about the last time you absolutely knew you were on track in your life. Ask yourself why did I feel on track at that time, who was I with, what was I doing? You’ll discover a lot about your wild self and what it needs to feel fully alive.
Boyd Varty is a major voice of the new consciousness. He engages audiences across the world on the subject of forging connections in ourselves, in our communities and with the earth. He speaks to those who long for a way of interaction, both simpler and more profound than the way most of us live in the world today. Boydvarty.com
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