Thursday, May 26, 2005

Nature and Love

I have this theory about why we like nature so much. The theory goes like this: when we look at a redwood, we don’t say, “Damn, you should be an oak.” We don’t say, “You’re okay, but I’d like you a lot more if you were about ten pounds lighter.” We don’t wonder, ‘What is that redwood thinking about me? Am I living up to my image around it?’ We don’t worry that the redwood might not like us. So we don’t have to jerk ourselves around to try to figure out how to fit ourselves into some sort of mold that we imagine the redwood would like more.

So, life becomes a lot simpler around the redwood. We don’t want it to be any different, and we don’t get into the mode of thinking it wants us to be any different. So here we are at love, paying attention without demands and thoughts, either demands and thoughts about how the redwood should be better, or demands and thoughts about how we should be better for the redwood’s approval and appreciation.
This is slavery, isn’t it, this energy we put into trying to get others to like or admire or respect or approve or appreciate us. Wow. And out in nature, the sky is just the sky, the rose is just a rose is just a rose, the ocean is the ocean, the thunderstorm is just a thunderstorm. Rain is rain, sun is sun, the moon is the moon. Every time we are in nature and aren’t bitching and moaning that it should be warmer or cooler or something-er, we have a great opportunity to just sink into appreciation of the tree and the forest and the water droplet and the creek and the soil and the plants in the soil.

Another plus to being in nature is that we are closer, I believe, to our real selves, because we aren’t cramped up inside a box. We have a ceiling five miles high, not a couple of feet above our heads. If the weather is good, we can look out for miles, instead of just a few feet. We can move, walk, run, skip, run. We like to move. Humans were designed to move. Many a poor fool burns off this heritage in a gym, busy trying to “get fit,” which has a lot to do with “looking good,” which has a lot to do with sucking up for outside approval. In nature, if you want to build muscles, create a garden, build a rock wall, scythe some weeds, plant a bunch of trees, prune the trees you planted, build some housing for yourself or the needy, raise some food for yourself or the needy. There is plenty to do to get “in shape.” Do it outdoors, I say, sow your energy in the fresh air, around plants and sky and birds and people you like.

Don’t like anyone?

Look at them as if they are a redwood or a rose or a creek.

Can’t do that?

Oh, well. We all have those grumpy days when we think so and so should be more this or less that. Remember the redwood tree. It’s just fine the way it is. If that doesn’t work for you, go take a walk outdoors, or do the Work of Byron Katie, or best of all, do the work outdoors, with chances to roll around and sniff the earth and lap in the sky, feel your feet connecting to grass or sand or soil. This is good for you, good for the soul. I think so, anyway. You go on outside and find out for yourselves.


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