From early on we are “defined as a stranger in the earth, not as a symptom of the earth. Out of that we have the vast, terrifying social problem of alienation. A feeling that the world outside of human skins is unfeeling, fully automatic stupidity, which we have to fight, and dominate; otherwise, it will swallow us up and condemn us to the imaginary terrors of everlasting nothingness.”
- Alan Watts
To stop for a moment, take a breath. To place the penchant for savagery aside and dispense of the self importance and sense of conquest that has come to define this deceived race – to briefly pause and witness, and in this moment of armistice, just observe how she moves, operates, and unifies the ecological complexity of her domain with grace and perfection.
Stop warring, start learning.
We have opposed all which is us, and have long been fighting a losing battle. Set apart from nature as self-contained units of emotional distress, we are transcending the pinnacle of demoralization, inventing ever more bizarre ways of rationalizing our plight of self and flight from sanity. If reconciliation is to be found, ironic that our most potent guide could be a milieu that has been vandalized and misinterpreted. But monitor the instinctual animations of nature and it is soon apparent that valuable lessons are being taught without interruption and often without any awareness from our advanced race. We are a wayward people, perhaps seeking a new way, and tired minds and egos will not provide it – our path must be sought from outside, from that place we came from, and are destined to return to.
Many tales and parables from different cultures and traditions tell the story of different elements, animals, and other aspects of our natural world. The purpose being to teach the present and upcoming generations to avoid folly, to live in flow and in accordance to the laws of this cosmic dimension.
But then, why do we require tales and advice and the wisdom of elders? Should we not possess the innate knowledge and wisdom necessary for personal sustenance and collective evolution? What is it about humans wherein which we are so compelled to deviate from that which is beneficial and conducive to a positive future trajectory?
It could be argued that the ego as a driver of modern man has caused a flawed host of priorities to take form in the modern psyche. Or from our splintered and irreconcilable personalities, birthed from the canals of pain and trauma, all vying for a unique set of circumstances, pursuing discordant goals. It could be that we have become so attuned to material acquisition – after a few generations of incessant and uninhibited suckling at the teat of pleasure and self-gratification – that the notion of self-preservation has become an afterthought.
Whatever the origin or multitude of reasons, modern humans lack instinct and this is evident wherever one looks. This lack of instinct or inherent self-knowledge as to how one must act and behave for self and community advancement leads to an innumerable number of issues and situations. We are in a tangle, and when we try to straighten out we usually do so by listening to those who are equally distorted, but have developed the gift of manipulating your pain and desperation in to profit.
So, we return to that place which cannot deceive: ancient knowledge gained through an observation of and alignment with the great, steady and dynamic mechanism of nature. We return to what has been largely destroyed to prevent our own destruction. Like an abusive drunk stumbling through the door after the latest of many binges and escapades, we will be met with a rather brash and brazen sort of attitude. To the mother we abandoned and the father we sneered at, the prodigal sun returns – penniless, immoral, with no direction or understanding– no love, courage, pride, or purpose.
So here we are – some emerging trying to seek answers in the swaths of information and knowledge that tango about, and there it is: cold, austere, sustaining, yet always available, prepared to reunite with the most tangled aspect of modern creation.
This re-education phase has been preserved by a brazen and committed minority that has long sought to right millennia of erroneous activity, setting the foundation for the dispensation of a tradition and knowledge that their fellow brother and sister may one day develop receptivity to. Pain they say is a great motivator, and dislodging from the nurturing and occasionally satisfying womb off the social order requires either great foresight or a severe and mounting state of disillusionment and suffering. A state of humility may slowly roll over the beaten-down masses as fewer and fewer remain prepared to justify or stand by the society and social order that has left a crushing wake of disharmony and destruction.
With so many opportunities, where can one start? Simple observations and eventual re-integration of natural principles – of a way that is ancient and essential to our potential survival.
Perhaps we will begin with the powerful and contemplative buffalo:
Look at him, huddled on the plain, with his hooves folded up. He sits and monitors the environment – pondering the surroundings, forging the plan, no movements necessary. He thinks and is painfully present, observant of all that transpires within his immediate atmosphere. He is not flagrant or impulsive, switching from one task to another, absorbing or getting nothing out of a frenzied and uncontrolled pace. The buffalo is vigilant and still. Collecting all that is necessary for him to make the right move at the right moment.
When the time is correct, he knows, they all know, but we do not know. Their chronology is run by instinct, and moves are made. Eventually a herd of buffalo form in to a unit, but this all begins with a series of individual buffalo standing upright and beginning a process – maybe it is time to migrate, perhaps a source of danger is forming and a response is necessary, or a vital food source withers in the present location and only a transition will secure future sustenance. Whatever it is, the move is purposeful, directed, and sustained. So the problem has been determined and a solution is activated. The still and silent buffalo now gains momentum, in pursuit of its aim. Guided by intention and purpose tens and hundreds of buffalo form in to a collective that soon becomes an immovable and unstoppable force.
You look in to the eye of a stomping, marauding buffalo and see nothing but continual forward motion. There is no questioning of the path, or fear that maybe they are headed in the wrong direction. Individual aspects of the herd do not consider stopping, or turning around because in doing so they will be violently crushed. But they are not run by a blind populism. The buffalo are not following a leader, they are following instinct and self-preservation. They move like a river, suavely flowing over obstacles, towards conditions that will bring another day of survival, banding together to improve their chances.
In turmoil and amongst impositions, they persist because they decided to engage in the work, to lead from instinct, acknowledging or allowing themselves to belong to the tapestry of natural order and inherent progress, they follow the sublime and latent power that nature has bestowed upon them.