The emptiness of deserts eventually drifts the mind to a meditative emptiness of thoughts.
When people look for places to relax, many imagine paradisiacal beaches or perhaps mountains with beautiful lakes. Even better if there is a resort to provide all the possible comfort. In any case, water and an exuberant nature seem to play a key role.
I was therefore quite surprised when I noticed that, among all the places I have visited so far, those that gave me the greatest boosts of life energy were actually characterized by an absence of such usual things. They were deserts! More specifically, I visited the deserts of Atacama (in Chile), Uyuni (in Bolivia), Nazca (in Peru), Parakas (in Peru) and Patagonia (in Argentina), as well as dry areas in the interior of Iceland, and I am always looking for opportunities of visiting other deserts.
How can it be that deserts, inhospitable places that usually lack basic comforts like water and consequently bathrooms, have such a positive relaxing effect on me (and I guess they should have on other people as well)? I got intrigued by this and it took me some time to reach a conclusion. Now I believe the power of deserts lies essentially in their minimalism and isolation, which makes them a great refuge from the information overload of modern life. Within the abundance and speed of modern life, deserts are oases of relieving absence. There is no pressure for decisions, choices and attention, because deserts are everywhere approximately the same. There are no worries (assuming that you carry enough food with you, of course!). The emptiness of deserts eventually drifts the mind to a meditative emptiness of thoughts. Self-awareness rises. Gradual changes of colors and shapes of the desert softly guide the contemplation of the environment and eventually give a feeling of connection of the self with the surrounding world.
Deserts can sometimes be physically tough, but they can surely give us peace of mind and reinvigorate our spirits.
This article has been submitted to the featured theme “Rejuvenation.”
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