The Meaning of Pura Vida
Hypocognition: The lack of linguistic or cognitive representation for an object, category or an idea. To recognize hypocognition requires a major departure from the re-assuring familiarity of our own culture.
To understand Costa Rica you must understand “Pura Vida" the motto and national expression of the country. People say it every day, all day in basically every type of situation and conversation. The term translates to "pure life", and in essence, it signifies that things are not just good, or great, or amazing, but a higher level up, which is Pura Vida.
Pura Vida can be used in a variety of ways:
(as a question)
"How have you been doing? Pura Vida?"
(as an answer to a question)
"Si, Pura Vida!"
(as an adjective)
"That beach is so Pura Vida"
(as an alternative to yes or O.K.)
"Sir, would you like a cold coconut?"
(as a standalone)
I personally define Pura Vida as 'perfect happiness'. To understand the true meaning behind Pura Vida you must understand hypocognition which in plain terms is understanding that there were things out there that you didn't understand and didn't have the tools to understand. Pura Vida is something that must be experienced in person. These simple words, whose origins no one truly knows, represents an invisible magic spirit that is all encompassing when you're there and which is very real and extremely powerful, it's not just some words.
Pura Vida implies the existence of a permanent state of mind in which satisfaction with all that we have, who we are, where we are, why we are and how we are is perfectly balanced like a perfectly tuned guitar. Satisfaction is a term we like to use when we've had enough indulgence of anything in our life and this concept is an idea that as a society we've lost touch with. In the modern world, satisfaction is a big fake carrot hanging from a stick above us that keeps us always gunning for something we cannot ever reach. Costa Rica has sun, abundant natural beauty, coconuts, monkeys, no army, a great medical and educational system, delicious tropical foods, mind boggling beaches, a culture of respect and the best ingredient of all — Costa Ricans (they are sweeter than fried bananas). Costa Rica is not the richest or the most productive, but it's one of the happiest countries in the world. This is not because Costa Ricans have everything they need to be happy, but because they FEEL they have enough to be happy.
If the earth were to be dismantled and dissected one day by alien archaeologists they wouldn't take long in discovering with their advanced tools that Costa Rica was sitting on a time + space vortex on the mantle of the earth. They would probably dissect some incredible mineral or supernatural force that was causing "Pura Vida". I am absolutely sure of it because what I feel there is so real and tangible.
My guests fly from all around the world, from their fast-paced lives to seek peace and adventure in Costa Rica. As soon as they land they find themselves melting like dabs of butter on a hot pan as their realities begin to experience the power of Pura Vida.
Drinking a coconut on the side of the road with wild monkeys as company as you observe the miracle of the red hot sun burn the ocean into the most beautiful sunset each and every day becomes Pura Vida not just because it's so amazing, but because you know deep inside that you can have the same experience over and over and over again tomorrow. The rest of the world is accustomed to a world of cycles in which we have fun in summer and we internalize in winter. We work during the week to have fun in the summer. In the modern world we sacrifice months to enjoy a few days and repeat the rewards. In Costa Rica, Pura Vida comes alive when we realize that the most perfect day in your life is quite simply a track on loop which we can fine tune each and every day.
Adventurous spiritual cosmonauts who have experienced the powerful spiritual 'psychedelic compound' DMT have a hard time describing how the illusion of time melts away the very second you take it. Melting is a good word to describe it because it's like a coat of paint on our reality that goes away and lets us see the true reality of our environment and our existence. Even though the spiritual trip on DMT lasts only about 15 minutes, what you experience in you body and reality feels like an eternity. Time can be bent and our every day reality can be substantially different depending on what frame we are in.
Time is a tool that can be played with. In Costa Rica I put this into practice every single day. An hour of Pura Vida will feel like 3 and a day on tour will feel like 4. Your body notices the changes right away too. The shift in latitude affects your body and mind instantaneously. You'll begin to wake up earlier and earlier and you won't feel groggy or tired in the mornings. Alternatively at nights, you'll feel sleep take you over much earlier than you're accustomed to. This happens as a result of the changes in the way the sun rises and sets. Costa Rica is in the equator and the sun rises and sets very dramatically and fast and while it's a very subtle difference, it's got major effects.
Pura Vida is a state of mind that will give you something you might not have experienced before; peace. Once you're in it you'll be saying Pura Vida several times a day and each time the words come out of your mouth you'll feel warmth and happiness, I know it sounds poetic and exaggerated but it is very true and very real.
By the time a trip is over and I have to drop people off at the airport, they feel so at home that many of them cry even though they've only been in Costa Rica less than week. Pura Vida is like a feeling you've been searching for years but you didn't know you were searching for, making its find even more precious.
Pura Vida is a strange phenomena and it has the implication that unlike what people think, time doesn't fly when you're having fun. It actually goes slower (at least that is the case in Costa Rica) which makes each day even more amazing. When I am there I get reminded that Costa Rica IS the fountain of youth, it just works differently than in fairy tales. It's not about living forever, it's about having more hours in each day not just to accomplish more, but more importantly, to enjoy more out of life. It's like a lemon you squeeze and squeeze and squeeze and more and more juice comes out.
Pura Vida has the power to change people's lives. This is something you feel, notice and miss the very second your plane leaves Costa Rica.
The rainforest has many unique and delicious fruits that never make it to supermarkets, even the local ones, because some fruits are too ephemeral and delicate. Take it off the tree and within an hour the fruit has lost its texture, density and quality.
Pure Vida is like these fruits.
It can be hard to keep Pura vida in our life post Costa Rica but it's not impossible - it just requires closing our eyes and remember just how happy free and alive we were when we last visited. If the memory blurs then clearly a return to paradise is necessary.
If you want to experience Pura Vida just let me know and I'll make it happen. Our next trip is December 1 and it's going to be Pura Vida!