“Laying aside one’s ego is the quickest path to unity with nature.”
– Masanobu Fukuoka
“Paradise is our birthright and can be claimed by any one of us. Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.”
– Terence McKenna
In this post, I will try to explain how I experience nature, which is fairly hard to do because the words do not truly describe it.
First of all, I experience nature as completely alive. By completely alive I mean not just biologically alive: of a plant that is alive because we have defined it so, or a human being alive simply because the heart beats. Completely alive is to have creative intelligence… A conscious mind that is not only aware but also creatively directs and focuses its energy towards its goals; exploration and self-discovery. Nature evolves and its evolution is not simply driven by random meaningless mutations that may survive or go extinct in a game of trial and error – Rather nature evolves dynamically or rather successionally, spiraling out, moving forward, reaching up in the never-ending dance of playful creativity called the evolutionary process.
The creativity of this joyful dance of evolution may come from nothing; or it may come from a creator; or a god or goddess; or perhaps from multiple beings; whatever case it may be I simply call it nature.
On the microscopic level, the creativity can be seen through the workings of DNA, the intertwined spiraling double helix also represented as the coiling of snakes. And with DNA comes the complex machinery of organic synthesis.
But those who get too obsessed with the microscopic become blinded by the amazing wonders of nature’s inner workings and they might conclude that life is nothing more but a bunch of molecules without souls, consciousness, or joyful creativity. The true obsessives go even deeper down the rabbit hole and find themselves in the world of atoms and sub-atomic particles. The crazy world of protons, photons, quarks, and bosons. As it is so often for human beings it is our obsessions that influence our world view and thus those well studied in particle physics believe nature and everything is just soulless atoms.
“Nature should not be taken apart. The moment it is broken down, parts cease being parts and the whole is no longer a whole.
– Masanobu Fukuoka
Then some go in the opposite direction of the macroscopic. As above, so below. And for those who obsess about the distant stars, the cosmos, and the faraway galaxies rests a similar fate to those who obsess about atoms. They are consumed by the void of space in a never-ending quest for an infinite number of heavenly objects. And quickly they conclude that we and everything else is nothing more than soulless stardust floating in space.
“Even were we to try, we would find that no matter how far back into the past we go in search of causes, these causes are
preceded by other causes in an endless chain of interwoven events and factors that is beyond man’s powers of comprehension.”
– Masanobu Fukuoka
But I like to keep myself where my senses are, right here on the earth. Neither microscopic nor macroscopic. I see the colors of flowers. I hear the humming of crickets. I can feel the breeze of the wind and smell the fresh-cut grass. This is the world I live in and what it constitutes for me…
Everything is alive. The rocks, the mountains, even the clouds, and river streams are completely alive. The soul of nature can be felt, heard, seen, and talked to.
Life is happening right now, becoming, dreaming, dancing, swaying, and moving. The flower slowly unfolds itself and once open shows its beauty to the world.
The bird spreads its wings and soars up high. Raindrops fall from thundering clouds. Nature is forever exploring new ways of self-expression and self-becoming.
And I am rightfully participating in it. Neither observing a lifeless material world; neither at the mercy of an emotional god; neither directing the whole as if I am god.
But participating in the community of intricate lifeforms to play out the grand orchestra of nature… Like an actor on stage in a theater playing my role as a human being together with my fellow actors the birds, the insects, the animals, the fungi, the plants, and trees.