“A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind.”
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Verse 76
I have never been religious, but I am definitely not an atheist. I am a very spiritual person when it comes to the connection I feel to the natural world around me. When I look at stars twinkling like glitter in the sky I don’t feel small and insignificant, but powerful and connected. There is something greater than me that I am a part of. All things are related by the breath of life that transects each of us and connects us in ways we have yet to discover. Even the soil beneath our feet is alive and vital to our very existence. From dirt we have come, and to dirt we will return.
I have a hard time envisioning a vengeful God in Heaven watching over every action, interaction, and happenstance. Even a caring God feels a bit far fetched. The atoms and chemical reactions that create our physical forms are connected. They date back to the common ancestor of all living things, and even further back in time to the big bang, when all matter in the universe was contained in a singularity. It was all touching and all started at the same instance, and that vibration still exists in each us. We are all forged from the unlikely coordination of stardust and ectropy, and a synergy that is not of a material nature. I don’t expect to understand it, but that does not mean I can’t appreciate it.
The Buddhas and other figures scattered through my garden help remind me of this. They remind me to appreciate my temporary vantage point of the universe, to give thanks for my luck and ability to walk and breathe and create a meaningful existence. Us sentient beings are like the nerve endings of the universe, here to take note and experience the wonderment that surrounds us. We should all take a moment to breathe deeply and appreciate our unique position in this wondrous, emotional, and temporary roller coaster that is life. Our consciousness may pass but the physical pieces will continue on.
The philosophy that I most associate with (and I have studied many searching for profundity) is Taoism. Here is a small part of verse 15 of the Tao Te Ching (as translated by Jonathon Star).
Through the course of Nature muddy water becomes clear
Through the unfolding of life man reaches perfection
Through sustained activity that supreme rest is naturally found
Those who have Tao want nothing else
Though seemingly empty they are ever full
Though seemingly old they are beyond the reach of birth and death
If you want to see God, look at the stars above. Look at the dirt beneath your feet. Look at the vibrant natural world around you. God is in the details, so make sure you pay attention.
Weekly writing challenge: Threes