Rules Learnt whilst “locked down” with a tough, but mindful Teacher on a Survival Course
He took us boys down the rugged coast for a week without food. Maybe 80 kilometers. He taught us along the way about life and spirituality without saying much.
Rule 1 – Live Mindfully
The foundational survival rule is to live mindfully -fully satisfied in the moment, fully aware, full of compassion for yourself and others and therefore with acceptance and without judgement.
Any other way, any other thought, will lead to a waste of precious energy and resources.
In other words, do not make too much of an issue of your circumstances. Acceptance is good.
Rule 2 – Keep to routines
As far as is possible en where possible, keep to your normal routine.
Rule 3 – The Third Day
If your survival course is a week long, by Wednesday you will experience the lowest point psychologically and physically. You will feel bad in all respects. But this point comes to everyone in a unique way, so we just say that you will have your “third day” when you really feel miserable- from that point onwards, however, things should improve.
Rule 4 – Drink a lot of water
You can survive a week without food, but not water. Within a short time your stomach will shrink and you will not be hungry – believe it or not. However, since you are not really on a survival course, keep on eating. This is just an illustration of your endless capabilities.
Rule 5 – Keep Energy Bars in the bottom of your Back Pack
That is what the assistants on the real survival course did.
Keep a little bit of the difference somewhere.
Rule 6 – Always under all circumstances maintain good Hygiene
As a barest minimum, brush your teeth regularly. Look neat.
Rule 7 – This is where you meet Your God
Open yourself up to it. Do not fight the spiritual awakening. Accept it. Sitting in the veld or in the garden helps. Or just in the sun in your room. Mindfully aware and without the normal clutter of civilization.
Rule 8 – Light and darkness are one
Accept each in an equal manner with equanimity. Night follows day. It serves no purpose to fight the night. Accept it and learn from it. Then there will be a daybreak.
Rule 9 – Take everything Step by Step
He took us without food down a rugged coast. Rugged. Along the rocks. Fording rivers. Finding paths far above the high tide. Running before the tide. Roughing it badly. Sleeping in hollows.
There is only one way to do this, and that is step by step.
Rule 10 – Lean in
This is another fundamental rule, there is no turning around. There is no escape route. Back is bad, forward may be better.
There is only leaning into the future.
Rule 11 – Respect Nature
Have you noticed how nature just continues on its journey even though we are locked down in home shelter? There is irony here and a lesson to be learnt.
Respect nature and her abundance of resources. We do not have a right to it, only the privilege. We must respect nature.
Rule 12 – Work Together
It was tough learning how to work together with boys you do not know. We came from a lot of places. Thrown together. A rough mix.
It was made tougher because we did not know how to survive. The teacher did not help, but he did talk about the Rules (excluding 5), not calling them rules, but discussing the themes.
Otherwise he just pointed forward, asking us to Lean In.