I would consider myself one of the most fortunate on earth. Frankly speaking most of the readers of this essay could feel the same way about themselves. This is not an exaggerated view of the self and the opportunities bestowed upon us. Instead any one at any station in life, who has the capacity to think and reflect should consider oneself as the most fortunate.
To be fortunate can be defined as the outcome that beats the odds. The fact that our body functions well, despite the myriads of parts and the complexities in their functions is to be truly admired. The number of possible reasons for which anything can go wrong are larger than the limited set of conditions under which everything can go right. This is the good fortune bestowed on us. It is truly the miracle of nature. Our body has to operate within a narrow window of temperature, the heart and its complex functions, the lung, muscles, nerves, skeleton, brain… all have to function ceaselessly, well within a narrow set of limits. Yet, everything works in harmony, like a complex and well-oiled machine and we generally have a good life!
Despite these great fortunate circumstances we are occasionally de-stabilized. May be the body parts do not function the way they are supposed to. May be the emotional comfort and stability is challenged. Our knowledge and wisdom is shaken up due to events and information unknown to us before. We may never know certain information and hence ponder about them lifelong. For most of us, these are not long and enduring circumstances compared to the life time. Many of these are short duration events. Yet these experiences dominate our thinking and challenge our faith in our good fortune. These thoughts steer us away from the reality on how much we are better off than being worse off!
The other day as I was walking along the street in my neighborhood, out of no-where I saw this limb growing on a large tree. The limb was a fresh shoot, but it was growing squarely on a large flat surface created, where a rather large tree limb had been neatly sawn away (Figure 1). To be sure that I absorbed the full impact of what I had seen, I took a second picture, this one much closer than the one before (Figure 2). This resilience of nature prompted a series of thoughts, which I have penned as noted above.
This witness to the resilience and tenacity of nature truly surprised me. I became aware of the needless worry we go through when we face adversity. If I am part of nature and if the nature is so resilient, what is there for me to worry about? The laws of nature are eternal. A broken limb, a lost cause, a financial set back, an indignity from unexpected quarters – aren’t they all like the huge branch sawn off the old tree? Just as a new shoot grows off a trunk where a huge branch had been slashed off it, nature will find a way to rejuvenate itself. The outcome may take time. In the beginning the outcome may be small and insignificant, but nature will find a way. I may be unaware or ignorant of the laws of nature at work. Instead of getting affected and agitated by the events or happenings, I need to keep my commitment and my faith in the laws of nature and explore them as they unfold and foster the right climate for these laws to take root.
When I move away from that conviction that I am truly part of nature and fall into a false sense of belief – that I am something other than nature – then all the worries and concerns that shroud my thinking take hold. It is in those moments one needs to shake the traps of dis-belief and return to the unrelenting faith that we are all part of nature. Perhaps this is the meaning of the following verses?
The Lord (laws of nature) dwells in the heart of all things and all beings. Through the power or influence of the Lord, all beings participate in their life and activities like the components of a large complex machine. B.G. 18.61
It is by Surrendering unto Him (through total and unrelenting acceptance of the role of the laws of nature) and through His grace (through the play of the laws of nature, which are eternal and omnipresent) you transcend to a place of eternal peace. B.G.18.62.
Few more images:
Tree with roots above Ground Plant with its roots above ground
(Rain Forest, Puerto Rico) (White Sands Dunes, New Mexico)