My experience in the jungle environment of the Pacaya Samiria reserve near Lagunas brought me to an awareness regarding the fragility of my own Life. We are mortals. We have a shelf life. There is an expiration date. (at least in our present form).
During my stay in Iquitos, I noticed how being in a city environment, where humans live in close proximity to one another… lends an odd sense of security. Perhaps that is because human activity seems to dominate the environment; and one can be lulled into a state of non-awareness regarding the imperatives that Nature imposes on all Living creatures.
Modern humans learn ‘science’ and the state of medical science gives the illusion that humans are capable of somehow controlling the world of Nature. What is really so, is that humans have only scratched the surface of understanding the grander context of Nature.
No one knows how Nature came to BE. That is the realm of philosophy, religion, and metaphysics. So called ‘science’… is based on actual observation(s) of phenomena and the behavior(s) of specific, individuated, identifiable parts in the pantheon of phenomenon.
We tend to think of Natural phenomena as being comprised of physical attributes. And we continue to probe into the characteristics of those physical attributes and how the ‘matter’ behaves in varying situations involving movement. How all real science proceeds; is that elements which constitute phenomena are measured in as accurate detail as possible. Measurements come in the form of physical dimensions; weight/mass/density, and how such phenomena move through space or local geography.
The word Mahatu is from the RapaNui language of Easter Island, in the Pacific. Mahatu means Love.
This was my second stay at Mahatu hostel. The name of the owner/manager of Mahatu is Rene Gustavo Alvarado Reyes. He is a very interesting man. Born in Boyaca, Colombia, Rene attended traditional church schooling offered by the Salesian brotherhood initiated by a priest known as Don Bosco. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salesians_of_Don_Bosco.
Later, Rene joined the Colombian Army and not long after was in the Colombian navy for a while. He sailed on one of the tall ships (two or three masted sailing vessels) that was a training ship of the Colombian navy. He sailed around the world. Later he determined that he did not fit in the military mode at all.
He came to the Amazon with the idea of becoming a guide. He was unable to continue that as a profession and the found an opportunity in creating a hostel for (mostly young travelers) people from many parts of the world. He created the Mahatu hostel.
Rene has a very unique understanding of Colombia and of this area in particular. Free wi-fi internet service is provided to all guests. There are kitchen facilities for those so inclined. There are no television screens and the preferred ‘music’ is that of the Natural environment itself.
I had a troubling cold, cough and fever most of my stay. I only left my room to walk to a restaurant. I stayed in my room, or in a hammock not far from my room most of my recent stay.
I can highly recommend the Mahatu hostel to anyone who values the experience of being in Nature and is not expecting a ‘party’ atmosphere.
Above 2 photos show that the road near the banks of the Amazon is at extreme ‘flood’ stage. Many homes and businesses were flooded. Makeshift planks were hastily erected so people could get around better.
To put it simply, all physical phenomena can be described in nouns… and all movement of the matter (physical phenomena… stuff) is described in verb form. Parts of speech; language; describes all known physical phenomena.
What is important?
It would seem that the purpose of Life is to survive and to create more Life. And yet the obverse is always present. So called Death is an integral part of Life.
Living things derive their Life Force from other Living creatures… (*until even those Living creatures derive their existence from atoms which aggregate into molecules… which interact with one another in a field of ‘energy’). Living creatures derive the energy required to fuel their Life from ingesting the constituents of other Life forms… usually involving the death of the creature(s) being masticated/ingested/digested.
We can only understand the relationships that exist in the world of phenomena that we notice. No one can say how any of the basic building blocks of phenomena itself came to exist. That is a mystery. Leave it to clever humans to speculate on potential answers .
Religion (as the word is most frequently used) provides plausible, yet completely unverifiable, explanations for the original creation of phenomena.
And to this day… no one can ever know anything for certain. One can only stop asking and begin accepting… one story or another.
That is how religion came to be, and how it solves the problem that some have ; that they are debilitated by uncertainty. Faith or Belief is an effective means to silence the questions to which there are no conclusive answers.
The experience of Life is just that: an experience. Language based humans forget that language itself is but a symbolic representation of the world of phenomena… language attempts to ‘define’ phenomena… and it cannot. It can only allude to or point towards (see Lao Tzu) the actual essence of phenomena itself.
Above: Early morning sounds on the grounds of Mahatu hostel
Life is an amusement park ride and can only be known as a series of experiences… hopefully interspersed with awakenings or insights or realizations, that are most difficult to describe in language.
Zen practitioners know that it is futile to attempt to describe the essence of Life’s phenomena using the ‘rational’ faculty. This is the purpose of deep meditation. Go inward. Be silent. Observe your ‘self’ observing your Self’.
The Amazon rainforest is inhabited by a profusion of Life. To experience it is to know your Self a bit better.