Zen and the Art of Nudism

Whether anyone has noticed or not, over the last couple of months my contributions to the nudist scene in terms of posts and comments have diminished significantly. There are two primary reasons for this.

In the first instance I started engaging in nudism because I was seeking a solace I had lost somewhere in the hustle and bustle of day to day life. I'd really lost touch with nature and wanted that connection back. Further to this I sought a spiritual reconnection.

Over a period of three years I found what I was looking for. First and foremost a reconnection with nature. Nothing reconnects you like a nude stroll through the bush or along a beach.
Much more significant than this I reconnected spiritually and have for the most part transcended the suffering and toil of daily grind and petty troubles.

What I now commonly observe is the great dilemma nudists tend to find themselves in. On the one hand people have relaxed their attitude on clothes. In many other regards nothing else has changed in terms of frowning upon yourselves and frowning upon others using the same set of standards you've always held.

People are frequently a bit apprehensive about being nude in different circumstances. "I might upset the neighbours," "Somebody walking might be offended if they see me hiking nude."
The only shame you feel in those circumstances is your own. Until that changes you're going to feel hemmed in, restricted and confined.

I personally have no body shame per sec. I openly change on public beaches because there really is nothing to be ashamed of. It's by degrees that anything becomes normal. So long as you're not prepared to act normally, normality is not going to take place.

I've seen many people cite the gay community as a good example of a marginalised group who have fought valiantly for their rights. I think the first thing that transpired there was that enough people overcame their own shame of their sexuality to openly celebrate it and turn the tide of public opinion.

One of the foremost problems I observe in nudism is the division between what's normal and what's not. There are at times lengthy discussions as to what is acceptable and what's not. What people should be doing and what they shouldn't.

The embittered commentary over Facebook standards really doesn't accomplish a great deal. At best you're fighting for the open distribution of pornography because there is no agreed standard of normality. "Non-sexual" nudity is in and of itself a huge problem that leads to double standards. On the one hand humans are quite sexual beings. Were that not the case, pornography would have no hold or sway over people.
On the other hand it's not uncommon for non sexual nudists to admire the image of a woman and comment how sexy she looks.
In all honesty a woman who is sexually appealing to males will invoke that reaction no matter how she's dressed or not. It's ingrained in the collective culture. So long as you're immersed in that culture, there's no getting away from the mental suffering it brings.

This leads me to the change that has transpired in my own circumstances. The way I see it is you can either get on with what you believe in and simply enjoy it. Alternatively you can get embroiled in the turmoil of conflict between what people should and could be doing and why they can't.

When you clearly define your limitations you are thoroughly hemmed in by them. You not only resent your own situation because you can't embrace the freedom you yearn, you also resent others, thinking they are the cause of your problems.
In all honesty it's the limits within your own mind and what you think is possible or not that creates all your conflict.
If you have no shame about your body, about yourself or your conduct, you will walk openly as you please.
It's the limitations you place upon yourself that stops you. In your own mind you tell yourself, "if I do this, that will happen." You convince yourself so thoroughly it will happen, as surely as a tribesman will perish if he's been cursed to death by the village witch doctor pointing a bone at him, the same conviction will condemn you.

You can't change the world. You can however change yourself. If you undertake to do so and just live your own truth, the world will come round little by little. Perhaps most significantly, it doesn't really matter if it doesn't. So long as you live your life the way you want to and don't frown on others for the way they live, people won't frown upon you for the way you live. It's really as simple as that. The moment you start creating rules for yourself and others, others will create rules for you and everyone else.

Simply live as you wish to without worrying what everyone else is doing or thinking, and you'll soon discover a freedom that is unparalleled, and quite independent of your state of dress.

Steve Gough perhaps summed this all up with his simple statement, "Be yourself"

18 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Nudism”

  1. You raise an important point that does belong within the context of this thread Gill. I'm inclined to say, irrespective of gender, attitude is everything. To illustrate that point, I'll give a couple of examples.

    Many years ago a close friend of mine who was a tradie told me something I'll never forget, and have kept in mind on many occasions. He stated, "if you look like you're meant to be somewhere, nobody will stop and question you."
    He was a young guy at the time doing an apprenticeship. As he worked for government, he was frequently on restricted sites where secure access was common. What he figured out really early on, is with or without a security pass, if you looked like you were meant to be there, you could go anywhere. If on the other hand you looked like you didn't belong, it didn't matter what security credentials you had, you'd be stopped and questioned. Armed with this knowledge, he walked around like he owned the place, and never got stopped once.

    Perhaps a little more relevant to your question, I've come across plenty of women you wouldn't mess with. It has very little to do with appearance and everything to do with how they carry themselves.

    The reality is, it doesn't matter what you think, it's more about your convictions. There was a time in my life when I jumped at my own shadow. It would be incorrect to say that I'm not afraid of anything these days, but it certainly takes a lot more to rattle me. I'm not easily intimidated because I no longer believe I am vulnerable. Perhaps more accurately I'm not so caught up in my own self worth to think that anyone or anything is going to go out of their way to harm me.

    There's a big difference between ego based self worth and non ego based self worth.
    Ego based self worth is fragile and subject to external factors. At any moment you could be hurt or harmed because your sense of self is derived from the world around you.
    Non ego based self worth comes entirely from within, and the foundation of that self worth is you as an individual are as much nothing to the universe as everything to the universe, which is a bit conceptually Zen.
    You are nothing, because in the grand scheme of things, you are a speck of stardust on a tiny planet in a small solar system within a galaxy of no great consequence within the context of the entire universe.
    On the other hand you are everything, because there is only one Gill in this universe, one Shane, one Richard etc.
    Each of us is unique, and we're made of the same stuff as the universe itself. How did we even come into existence?
    We are the center of our own universe, and our universe is unique. No other being perceives the world exactly like we do. We are creation witnessing itself from a single unique perspective.

    When you reach a level of awareness where you better understand your place in the grand scheme of things a great deal changes for you.
    Entangled within the complex vagueness of the world, it's far too easy to feel restricted to a role and position the world has thrust upon you.
    Have you ever encountered someone who doesn't fit the mould? I've come across maybe half a dozen women you simply can't peg. They're unique individuals who transcend gender. A couple have been stunningly beautiful, but tough as nails. A couple of others have had a unique beauty. At first glance they look nothing special, but then you notice a beguiling beauty about them and notice they're actually quite stunning.
    The standout attribute however is strong confident demeanor.

    You can't trick yourself into being something that you're not. Whether male or female, if you feel vunerable, open to attack, that is certainly what will befall you. If on the other hand you understand your place in the universe, you in fact know you are an integral part of the universe itself, you know nothing in the universe will harm you unless you allow it. You give that permission in your mind. When your life is ruled by fear, fear will dictate what befalls you. When you have completely released your hold on fear, it is rendered powerless.
    If you encounter others and fear them, just like a dog or wild animal they'll react to that fear and attack the vulnerable creature presented to them.
    If you understand your unique position within the universe nothing can come near you. It's almost entirely your own self perception.

    • I really appreciate your reply to my post Shane ,which was inspired by your own beautifully worded initial post above, but which I moved in response to Richard's suggestion. I was persuaded that I did not belong here in your thread I suppose :o) I will read your latest words more than once because they deserve that much. What I will say now is that it is challenging to recreate yourself in terms of vulnerability when past experiences have defined you as vulnerable despite your own self image. I will absolutely take on board all that you have said here. . . and get back to you, assuming I have your permission to continue our discussion here.

  2. You raise an interesting question, Gill, and I do realize it's relevant here. However, as it's such a distinctive point, I would suggest you make it a separate blog of your own, otherwise the answers will shift from Shane's basic thread here. You can always add a link to Shane's blog here as your "motivation".

  3. Thank you all for your compliments. It pleases me a great deal that at least some people get what I've been trying to convey of late. I think I've expressed similar versions of this in different forms and not always got the message across. Some of course feel as though they're being personally attacked or their values questioned. This is a symptom of relying on external validation. If you depend on others to agree with your perspective of the world, you're in for some bitter disappointment 🙂

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