“I took to the crowded city streets, pondering the flashing neon lights in search of life’s true meaning,” said no wise man ever. Since the dawn of humanity, man has sought solitude in the embrace of nature, dwelling on the complex terrain of his psyche in search of answers, solace, and enlightenment.
Having roamed the Earth from pole to pole, treading paths that no one had ever walked before, Omar Samra has time and time again found himself returning to nature where he learns not only its wisdom but also the insights of his soul. From the lungs of our planet to the rooftop of the world, and the plenty that lies in between, here are some of the lessons Samra learned in the embrace of nature:
The Importance of Returning to Nature
“When we are in the city, or when we are in man-made locations for extended periods of time, we get disconnected from who we really are and we need to get back to nature to reconnect and to have that lucid flow from soul to spirit without allowing our minds to get in the way,” says Samra.
Growing up as an asthmatic child, Samra often found himself up against a challenge just to achieve what other children did almost effortlessly. Instead of giving in to a challenge he never asked for, young Samra was encouraged to commit to sports early on, which soon allowed him to climb his first mountain at the age of 16. He recalls his first encounter with the mountains saying:
“I was taken aback by the beauty of the mountains, the sense of peace and calm that I sensed when I was there, but also by the challenge – not against the mountains or the elements because they are far stronger than us, but against my own weakness of the body and mind. Up on top of that mountain in Switzerland for the first time I realized that if we’re totally present, if we work really hard at something, we can influence the cards we’re dealt in life.”
Nature and Spirituality
Almost 20 years later, although no longer asthmatic, the cards Samra was dealt were still pretty rough when he lost his wife Marwa shortly after giving birth to their baby, Teela. While the world watched as he ventured out, adding yet another feather to his adventure hat, nature had a lesson or two in store for the adventurer.
“In Antarctica, the long day, unchanging scenery, and desolation just completely tore my mind down. Every day I would start skiing and get hit by this whirlwind of negative emotions. I would start crying as I’m skiing as these painful memories came flooding in. And just as fast as they would come in, they would be replaced by this almost absurd euphoria, and then nothing at all. I remember sometimes someone would yell ‘Stop!’ and then I would realize that my mind had been just completely still and clear for over an hour. In those moments, I was totally in flow, and it felt like I could keep skiing for days.
“When you’re climbing, it’s somehow an act of walking or moving meditation. When you’re focused on anything and you give it your all, when you’re completely immersed in it, you’re blocking out everything that’s happening around you, and in some ways, that is a form of meditation – a very powerful one.
“When we think of spirituality and adventure – spirituality and exploration – I don’t think you can really separate the two. I think being in nature is a very spiritual experience by definition."
Finding the Meaning of Life and Soul
“Have you ever thought about how vast this expanding universe is? Or looked at your life and pondered how much control you actually had? Well, I have, and I felt completely helpless at first. But then I realized that through embracing this uncertainty and lack of control lies the source of infinite power, the ability to overcome any adversity and the key to answer one of life’s most important questions – why are we here?
“As human beings, we are here in this life to challenge ourselves. The soul before it comes to this world and after it leaves is boundless. It can travel with the speed of thought. There are no human emotions – there is no jealousy, and no hate – everything is completely angelic, if you may say. So in order for the soul to learn real lessons, it comes to this life in a mortal body where it can feel pain, hunger, and lots of different things. That’s how it learns the most crucial lessons in order to be able to go back and evolve as a soul.
“I’ve had a lot taken away from me, but now I understand that the universe ultimately has its own way of being benevolent and fair. And now I understand that we’re all here together on this Earth for the exact same purpose – to heal, and to help heal each other.
“Climbing, nature, adventure, and exploration have made me more of a spiritual person over the years. They have certainly helped me answer some of those universal questions that can be very challenging to answer if you just rely on your mind, because I believe that at the end of the day if you really want to seek true answers about life, about the universe, it’s not something that you read in books. I do believe that we all have the answers inside us, but we need to be able to reconnect with ourselves, with our true selves, our deepest self, in order to be able to find out these answers, or so these answers can present themselves to us. And nature and these forms of active meditation help us get there.”
On Letting Go
“To let go is one of the most difficult lessons that people can learn, because your brain is not wired to allow you to let go; your brain is wired to keep you safe and survive. But actually, we are not here to survive; we’re here to thrive.
“Often, we suffer so we can truly learn to let go.
“They say that even in darkness, there is light. And now I know this to be true. It emerges ever so slowly and grows even slower. There are no accidents in life. Adversity is just an opportunity for us to grow. We have to learn to let go.
“This is what happens when we let things go; they turn into light and they go everywhere.”