The desire to live more mindfully and meditatively, is not only reserved for those fortunate enough to live in a peaceful, natural environment. Even for those who live in dense urban areas, the desire to reconnect to more natural surroundings bubbles up in the spirit. However, for these individuals it takes a little planning and conscious effort.
Why You Need a Break
Urban environments go against our biological grain, even if we do not realize it. According to a recent study by author Mazda Adli of LSE Cities research group, the high levels of stress caused by dense populations and crime which face urban dwellers can lead to sickness and mental health issues such as depression(1). In many urban situations there is no break from this onslaught of activity and worry. Because there is no break, the city dweller who wishes to maintain their sanity and thrive spiritually must make a conscious effort to break away and reconnect to a more natural space that is more biologically suited to the ancient soul in all of us.
In almost all ancient cultures solitude was a crucial ingredient in spiritual enlightenment as was seen through Shamanistic practices (2). Those wishing to achieve a higher level of spirituality must go away alone into the wilderness, the mountains, the desert, the coast or the cave. Today, this ancient idea of solitude is still one of the only ways for people to truly reconnect to themselves, clear the internal clutter and actually be able to think, reflect and ponder.
Where to Go
Regardless of how urban your living situation may be, state and national parks are usually only a quick day trip away. These locations provide the opportunity for hiking, camping and boating. Whether you can take an entire weekend away or only the afternoon, just keep going until you can no longer hear the city and then you will be able to hear much more.