“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals… We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod
This post is a bit of a departure from my normal style of article. Rather than laboring over the quality of this post, I’m taking a risk of simply going stream of consciousness and sharing because I feel so moved. I love authors Like Beston who write with a richness and grandeur that attempts to captivate the magnificence of the world we live in and the preciousness of life. I love watching nature shows because our world is truly amazing and awe-inspiring. When I view the grand design in Nature it stills my soul and reminds me that we are part of a mystery that is truly great, and truly amazing. The grace and wisdom in plants, animals, oceans, mountains, sunrises, sunsets, and the starry heavens, is truly beyond human comprehension. No wonder people have been awed and inspired by it since before time.
And yet, I look at the world today and I think we’ve forgotten how amazing the world we live in really is. Humans, in general, seem think the point of Nature is to be dominated, exploited and ravaged. We are consuming and trashing our world with such rapacious, voracious recklessness, it should alarm any and every creature that lives and breathes. And I think humans are the only ones who don’t realize that.
You see, most of Nature lives in harmony and balance with itself. Most animals eat only what they need. Plants live most peacefully of all, absorbing nutrients from the Sun and the Earth, taking no others’ life for their sustenance. All of life flows with an interconnectedness that humans have forgotten. Sure, science, philosophy, art and religion try to remind us of the greater mystery and design that connects us, but these reminders aren’t enough. Too few people are listening. For we are caught up in the narcissistic dramas in our own heads.
We are worried about money. Craving validation. Busting our butts to buy some new gadget or gizmo we don’t need. We’re bustling to and from work, or obsessing over our next selfie. We’re finding new, ridiculous ways to terrorize each other and tear each other down. Rather than respecting each other as spectacular creations of an Infinite Universe, we minimize and marginalize each other to nothing. Rather than sharing and celebrating the richness of life together, we rope and bind each other into our own, selfish agendas. Rather than filling our lives with meaningful, uplifting purpose, we crash around the world driven and overwhelmed by chaos and fear. We fill our lives with “bizziness” hoping to distract ourselves from the darkness that ever looms over us.
The preciousness of the gifts of life and time completely escape our gaze until, down the road when it’s too late, we look back and start wondering what it was all worth. Regret starts rushing into our hearts and bitterness poisons our minds for all the harm we did, and all the opportunities we wasted on frivolous, petty pursuits. We neglect to pass the wisdom of our follies on to future generations, dooming them to a similar fate.
And yet, I’m not musing about humanity’s follies because it is hopeless, but because there is still hope. Lots, and lots, and lots of hope. Every human who reads this article gives me hope. Every human that lives and dreams of a better world gives me hope. Every person with the tiniest spark of kindness or compassion in them gives me hope. For the spark of kindness can always be fanned into flames that consume the world. And that is what I hope for, a world that is consumed in the flames of human kindness, compassion, empathy, patience, forgiveness, gratitude, love and delight.
This is not one of those useless reminders I mentioned above, but a plea. A plea to empty your life. Empty your life of all the things that don’t serve peace and happiness. Empty your mind of pettiness and fear. Empty your heart of regret and envy. Empty your soul from the burdensome past. Empty your house of clutter. Empty your habits from things that destroy your body. Empty your shopping habits from plastics that will just pollute the world. Empty your diet from cruelty. Empty your psyche from thinking you know…anything.
When we empty our lives of all the things that are so, so small in the big picture, then Nature and Creation can fill our lives with the mystery. The Mystery of Life fills our mind with beauty, our heart with wisdom, our soul with peace. Creation’s grand design fills our thoughts with wonder, our body with vigor, our spirit with joy. As we let Life infuse us with its rhythm and balance, we flow through this world with light, love, goodness and deeply meaningful purpose. We are filled with humility and gratitude for every breath we are granted, for no matter how much we think we know, there are mysteries that stretch infinitely beyond our comprehension.
We are in this world, in this life, together. We are the ones who make and break this experience we call life. We are no greater than any living being on this Earth. In fact, it is time that we learned from their example, and rather than using our intelligence and technology to consume and destroy, we should be using it as Nature intended — to improve upon all things within our grasp.
So, in this moment, I plead with you to empty your life of “bizziness”. Empty yourself from all the things that drag you or others down. Empty your time from all the things that waste it, for time is precious. You can never get yesterday back, so make today a “yesterday” you can look upon with joy and peace, forever.