The desert is an amazing place to become self-aware. The desert is sensual in its raw beauty by being completely exposed to its own nakedness—casting its body in the shadows. The reflection of its raw truth is unavoidable in its entirety. The desert showcases its powerful ruggedness as its rocks endure the intense searing heat of the sun. Escaping to the desert to hike under a blazing sun is a test of self-endurance and strength to persevere through tough times. Only then can we really appreciate a tree that provides protection from the heat, as well as a place to rest and reflect as we hydrate our bodies with clean water. Finding a spot to take a break from the glare of the sun is often necessary to take it all in. To be able to step back and view ourselves as a tiny speck in the universe can transform our experiences into a mysterious and exciting laboratory of opportunity. In The Gunslinger, Stephen King wrote, “Any thoughts of guilt, any feelings of regret, had faded. The desert had baked them out.”
In the daytime, the desert’s intense sunlight feeds us with unbearable heat, while the often-freezing nighttime temperatures are some of the coldest in the world. Every one of us has had to face a tough situation and overcome challenge. Deep reflection helps us understand and appreciate life, and how precious it is. It allows us to cherish the opportunity of life in front of us, because when we step out of the daily insanity of the world, we can stop and face what is truly going by releasing ourselves from the mental prison of fear.
Trekking into the desert and facing the barren, challenging climate can be conducive to developing self-awareness. Staying alert and being self-conscious enough to survive in a hostile environment can give us the confidence to know that we have the tools and awareness to truly see ourselves in meaningful ways. Imagine being in the expansive openness of the desert, looking at its sands. What do you see and experience? A woman gazes at the sand and sees the billions of people in the world who were raised alike, although this world hasn’t always been fair towards everyone. The expansiveness of the desert encourages her to pause and realize how precious life is. As she sees the sun rising on the horizon, her soul fills with joy and she gets closer to the reason she was born.
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