Law of the jungle: as old and as true as the sky
“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted, like trees.” Rainer RilkeWhile in Iquitos, Peru, the largest city in the world inaccessible by road, my friend Netta and I met a friendly Peruvian who volunteered to take us into the jungle. So the three of us got some rubber boots and hammocks and then boarded a local boat.
We traveled a few hours down the Amazon and arrived at a little village. There we paid someone to give us a ride down a trail further into the dense ecosystem in the back of his mini-truck. He dropped us off where the path ended and we saw some indigenous kids playing in a water hole attached to a black river. At this point, we are already deep in the Amazon. We waited until one of them was done swimming and paid them to take us down the river in their wooden boat.
After about 10 minutes of winding through the black water and scenic vines, we came across a simple house structure on the left. A few local people were fishing out front. We paid the nice boy and got out to join our new jungle family who welcomed us with smiles and some Spanish words we didn't understand. Luis helped translate. Our primal jungle experience ensued.
In this basic wood home with thatched roofing and no screens or doors, there sat one school desk on the bare floor. As soon as I saw it I said, "Netta! Will you take a picture of me in this desk? I want to send to Victor because it reminds me of the Experience Institute brand - they use pictures of people in desks in the 'real world,' you know, like in the streets, to metaphorically depict experiential vs. classroom learning." So Netta snaps this picture:
I wanted to write a caption for the photo. But, I also wanted to use this piece to share more about my current experience. Therefore, I've written a course description of what I've gotten myself into here in Peru. If this was a class, here's what you would be signing up for:
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING IN RE-PRIMALIZATION
When self-awareness just isn't enough to dissolve the work-joy dichotomy
Leap from the 'pale of society into a zone unknown.’
Location: Remote Peruvian Amazon jungle
Professor: Luis Sanchez
Luis grew up as a jungle boy deep in the Amazon and brings the necessary skills to lower the probability of death in this environment.
Accompanying Shaman: Ron Wheelock
Ron has been leading traditional tribal jungle juice ceremonies for decades in Peru and offers primal drum beating to awaken your wild animal within.
Through this experience, you will develop a new understanding of both natural as well as unnatural selection, ultimately emerging with increased adaptability as it relates to the creative act of life's constant reaching out into novelty. The central theme involves discovering the meaning of your part in that creative unfolding. Evenmoreso, your re-primalization process will strip you to your core essence, while serving you a generous amount of humility. You'll know the next step in what you were born here to do and gain the confidence to wildly take action. You'll transform into the embodiment of living liberation through the process of infusing the descent of the soul into the ascent of spirit, dissolving internal dichotomies and tapping into undisclosed desires. (Note: Your friends and family may be concerned when you return hissing and growling at domestication and the shallowness of society, but you'll know these reactions are just based in their fears so it will not affect you.)
This is an experience in regression to the mean. A journey where your instincts and intuitions begin to override the programmed brain.
Equipment: knee-high rubber boots, water, machete, hammock and ropes (insect net optional, but will lose authenticity credit). Meals will consist of piranha fish caught in the Amazon river.
Pre-requisite reading: Soulcraft, Bill Plotkin (strongly suggested, not required)
Warning: Deep paranoia and consistent bug attacks both guaranteed; death possible. Bug attacks occur mainly during the night. You'll know whether to be concerned about malaria if the pygmy monkeys begin to leave the surrounding tree habit. You will encounter anacondas, monkeys, spiders, sloths, pink dolphins, caimans, and many other insects and animals - both deadly and non-deadly as well as intense sun and black water. The jungle juice is strong, but it just may be the potion you need to face up to and integrate the serpent within you, creating your holistic new self.
Important: Do not attend with a lifelong friend. Only attend this course with a friend you've only known a couple months or come alone.
For more information, consult your heart within.
To those brave beings with the curiosity to wake up and ignite your true purpose... a recondite family awaits.
***Note: If you've already completed this experience and are looking for more advanced experiences to accelerate your re-primalization process, it is suggested you experience a face-off with a lion or hippo in the Serengeti or trek alone 40 days and 40 nights in the Sahara desert.
For more photos of the adventure in Peru, click here.
Gareth thinks that it is inspiring when individuals and organizations value truth above consequence. This belief has led her on a spiritual search for the roots of both deception and honesty. Translation of her value-driven work is realized through deepening connections between people and missions by generating effective communications.