Within Indian culture, the forest was considered the ideal place for spiritual practice because in the forest there are no rules and no presiding authority. The only authority is the chaos of the forest itself. The only rule is what awaits there for each practitioner, uniquely, to discover.
Increasingly in this world of ours, there is no longer any geographical forest for a practitioner to retire to. But there is a new wilderness, a new trackless waste, a new unknown and limitless territory, a new terrain of chaos that calls us. This is the “forest” of the human body.
In this, I am speaking not of the body we think we have, the body we conceptualize as part of our “me” or self-image. Rather, I am talking about the body that we meet when we are willing to descend into it, to surrender into its darkness and its mysteries, and to explore it with our awareness. The body is our forest, our jungle, the “outlandish” expanse in which we are invited to let go of everything we think, allow ourselves to be stripped down to our most irreducible person, to die in every experiential sense possible and see what, if anything, remains.