The end of October marks World Cities Day – a a day set to promote urbanisation through government talks with other cities to address urban challenges and promote sustainable urbanisation. Yes, it is good for the economy and trade relations, but is it healthy to become urban creatures?

We should never discount the quality of life experienced by the rural communities. The sense of peace and calm offered to the body and mind within areas outside of the city remains unmatched. When
we strive to become an urbanised community, we automatically lack the appreciation for a simple living, and higher thinking consciousness.

In order to strike a balance, I make it a ritual to visit the Berg at least once or twice a year. I spend hours hiking through mountainous paths, reaching waterfalls and enjoying the crisp, fresh air – escaping the madding city.

City life adds a different dimension and many other pressures. Although our city sparkles through the glory of the superb coast-line and other attractions, we are often held backto enjoy these simplicities because we feel unsafe. It is sad to read media headlines thatare riddled with crime – heinous crime that extend from child rape to the elderly been trodden to death.

Victims of these crimes are innocent and helpless individuals, why then go to the extent of taking their lives?

Should this not just be in the hands of God or have we as human beings now taken on the authority of having the higher self-acclaimed power?

This is just one repercussion of an urban world. I recall one of my fondest childhood memories over the Christmas period where we would drive along West Street to look at the festive lights that brightened up the streets of the city. We would then park and get off to do some window shopping late at night.

The evening would not be incomplete if we did not indulge in an ice-cream treat on the beachfront. The air was fresh and clean, streets were litter-free, but most of all – we were free to roam around and enjoy a city that belonged to everyone who lived in it, certainly the tone of the preamble of our Constitution which was penned thereafter.

At that time urbanisation had not reached its peak, and I do believe that to date we are still growing in the trends of materialism – the peak still a distance away. It is sad for our new generation to be unable to experience or enjoy the city as it used to be. The reason for being so unsettled is that we have become consumer driven in a materialist world – and that just does not nourish the true inner-being.

Unfortunately, city life is becoming confined to sky-scraper buildings, environmental and moral degradation. The challenge remains that although I would love to move into a more natural environment, I do have responsibilities within the city. This is a challenge that most of us experience. I am fortunate enough though to find an escape and strike a balance right within my home. I do this through daily meditation, this brings solitude to my soul. It is possible to become “less urban” within the confines of our home.

I tap into the subtle beauty of nature in the garden, and take time to “time-out” on a regular basis. We can live in an urban city, yet consciously nourish our souls – ultimately that is what counts.

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