this morning while sitting outside, a brisk rustling noise caught my attention. about a hundred yards away two squirrels were chasing each other around the trunk of a large tree. across the street, directly behind these guys were two blue birds, darting around yet another tree in a similar pattern. whether these animals were playing, or vying for territory i don't know. but something clicked in my head.
all i could see was the beauty in their dance. i saw the raw creative spirit of the universe playing with itself. i thought to myself, this is art.
art beyond words. art beyond thought.
all is, just as it is, for the sake of nothing & yet, everything. we too are this wonderful nature, and nature is everything.
nature is a holistic process. these animals didn't know why they were born, or how they had gotten to los angeles, or why they had run into this other animal with whom they were dancing - and it didn't matter. they were dancing all the same.
why then do so many people take this beauty for granted, or worse - take advantage without respecting it as an extension of themselves? because a vast majority of us are oblivious to this perspective. we do everything we can (unknowingly) to separate ourselves from nature (from which ironically, we are inevitably inseparable) for our own selfish reasons.
we see ourselves exclusively as this body, which is in this world - yet separate. perhaps we also see a soul within this body that is essentially and eternally "who we are" which can exist in some form without this body, after our body dies. and we see other people out there in the world who are, in this respect, the same as us. we watch as animals chase each other around. and we hear the wind dance through the trees. and we smell pine needles in the air and feel the sun on our skin. but as humans, it's very difficult to just exist with these sensations. we are cursed (and blessed) with the cognitive ability to take experience one step further. we can watch ourselves watch all of these things. it is this process that creates the illusion that there is a separation between us, and everything else.
we can think about thinking. this is an amazing gift, one that we struggle with every day of our lives. did we think the right thing? should we have thought a different way? did we act according to how we think we should think? we get caught up in this infinite loop.
maybe we aren't as smart as we think we are. or maybe, as smart as we don't think we are.
the good news? we can free ourselves from this mental trap. how? merely by recognizing it for what it is!
ok, to be honest, it really is that easy in principle...but much, much harder in practice. we must open our minds to a great degree. we must open our perspective to a point where our perspective is indistinguishable from that which we are perceiving. just as the squirrels are at one with their dance, we are one with ours. (zen practice can help you realize this way. for some it may come overnight. for others, many years. but it will come. you will see.)
as humans, because we have the conscious ability to debate our existence we have the tendancy to separate ourselves from nature - and just about everything that isn't "us", whatever that means to you. and while that is true to an extent, it isn't exclusive. we can be both "out there" in the world and "here" in our bodies, with no separation in between.
as our conscousnes expands, we see that we "are" more and more things we previously thought were just "out there." and as we realize we are these things, we soon realize that they are us. and while on the surface, it might sound as if these concepts were one in the same, they are certainly unique.
the realization that we are truly one with nature gradually deepens, until even the realization itself is realized, and disappears.
then suddenly. all that is left is nature itself.