With the juggle being nature’s most biodiverse region, you have to watch out for snakes. Costa Rica’s deadliest snake is the Terciopelo. If you happen to run into one, it could spell the end of your travels.
Jungle snakes in general tend to come out at night, and are often found near water, but you never really know where one may be lurking. As such, you’d be wise to watch where you step.
Leon, my good friend whom I was visiting at Mastatal Ranch, warned me about these snakes. He told me it helps him stay present.
I liked that way of thinking about it.
Staying present in the land of snakes is a practical requirement for survival. It also seems like a good metaphor for life, that extends far beyond the scope of the jungle.
Stay present to avoid the snake.
Staying present, while sounding simple, is in actuality an incredibly difficult task. We spend about half of our day distracted. Studies have borne this out.
This objectively seems like a horrible statistic about ourselves. How are we to make the most of our beings, if half of our waking hours we can’t focus on what’s directly in front of us?
Lack of presence is why we get bitten by the snake.
Raising our awareness and elevating our collective consciousness is something I hear everyone talking about. Yet, I don’t see people practicing it on an individual level. Personally, I don’t see how we can advance without starting individually, from within.
I don’t pretend to hold the answers, but I’ve found that by going deep within, I’ve been better able to presence my mind, and thus bring forward my best self.
Cultivating a presence of mind has helped bring me peace and order. It also allows me to carry on through hard times, and not allow chaotic or despairing thoughts to pervade through my psyche.
Meditating, of course, has helped with this. While it is in no way a panacea, it does challenge me to sit for long periods of time, and focus on just my breath. It might sound easy, but it isn’t. It’s one hell of a task.
Nothing exposes me to the chaos of my mind more than sitting still and trying to tame it. But practice stokes patience. And slowly I’ve noticed my brain muscles more capable of focusing on the tasks in front of me for longer periods of time.
Plus, meditation doubly has the effect of slowing me down and getting myself centered in this fast paced, over stimulized world. I’ve found dignity in thought again, by just sitting back and allowing thoughts to come to me as they may. No longer am I distracted by anything that comes my way, nor getting myself lost in portals of digital information.
Like a sensei, I like to think of mediation as my teacher, teaching me how to live, while strengthening my core, inner abilities. And the best part? It can be applied at all times, in all manners of life.
Another way to think about this is mythologically, whereby you are riding on the back of the snake of chaos. The ride slithers and whips around, and can be filled with peril. However, a present mind has the craft to enjoy it, on the edge of life. A riddled mind on the other hand is apt to be fearful and succumb to the spirally depths of chaos.
This myth is born from our coevolution with snakes. We’re biologically hard-wired to jump and run at the sight of a snake. They threaten our existence. Yet, in the civilized world, where snakes don’t concern us, we still find ourselves governed by the same snake-like, threat-circuitry from old.
So then, analogously, it’s appropriate to think of our potential threats in the world, as potential snakes that lie around us.
It’s for that reason that I’ve learned to presence the snake, and to be at one with it. It offers me the chance to cool my limbic systems, and acquaint myself with my fear-activated centers, so that I can carry on in this world with grace, and find the friend in the slithery foe.
It ain’t easy, but then, what worthwhile thing ever is?
It’s presence of mind that brings us vitality and life; vibrancy and sunlight.
You can inspect it with veracity, and discover its boundless flow.
And above all, you can love and value the life that endures through it all.
The bamboo hut I stayed in, all alone, me and my mind.