“For lack of knowledge, people perish.”
What is the single most important wilderness survival skill? There is a hint in the somewhat misleading title. Wilderness Survival. Wrong attitude! Right from the start there is a conflict. Wilderness survival implies that the wilderness is out to kill people. It is declared an enemy to overcome. Again, this is a wrong attitude which, at best, will cause one to misunderstand nature. At worst, it could kill you.
In our first blog, we discussed flowing with nature rather than hiding from her or battling against her. Now is a great time to review that post (see October 20, 2012). If flowing with nature is important when there is no threat, it is twice as important when conditions create potentially dangerous situations.
Nature is neutral. Sure, nature can dish out some amazing experiences and people do die when they do foolish things. But nature is no more out to kill than to nurture. All one needs to live and even thrive is found in the wild: food, shelter, clothing, clean air, fresh water, and spiritual nourishment. Humans lived in and from nature for hundreds and thousands, of years. Our modern world has removed us from the ancient knowledge and sheltered us from nature’s lessons. Nature seems foreign. But nature should be most familiar. Nature is family. Nature is our true home. Nature connects us with our source.
The single most important aspect of thriving in the wilderness is attitude. Attitude, attitude, attitude. If a person is scared senseless thinking that he or she is lost or about to die, then odds are good that person will suffer some real hardship. If one instead finds an inner strength of rest and a practice of observation in nature—a real attitude of working with nature rather than against her—then survival is almost assured. One can even enjoy and learn from the challenges presented.
What are some dangerous attitudes?
Lost. Lost is not a condition. Lost is an attitude. Lost is only a perspective. One is only lost if he or she has a deadline for getting somewhere and does not understand how to rest in nature’s arms. There is little harm in people not knowing their exact location as long as they can be comfortable right there, where they are.
And fear…. Wow! Fear is an emotion generated by what has not yet happened and will not happen as long as one keeps his or her scruples. Fear is the fruit of imagination and not reality.
What are some safe attitudes?
Restfulness. Rest in nature’s arms. Observe. Think. But don’t over think. Once relaxed, briefly ponder what next to do and listen to your intuition. If you feel tension or uneasiness about a course of action, then that option is not right. Take time and realize that we are not apart from nature. We are not foreigners there. Remember, nature is our true home. It belongs to us, and in a way, we belong to it.
Confidence. (But not prideful ego.) Rather, assert an attitude of confidence that all will be fine in time. Enjoy confidence that you have what it takes to thrive in the wild; confidence that good will come from your current challenges.
Attitude. Attitude, attitude, attitude. The correct attitude will save your life when you are in dire straits. But more than that, attitude will enrich your life and your communion with the natural flow.
In my next post, I will share how to work with nature to secure protection and safety. But for now, I leave you with a hierarchy of priorities that help not just to survive, but to thrive.
And remember, one is only lost if he or she believes it to be so.