As the year draws to a close it is always a time of reflection, to take stock of what has been accomplished, what can be planned for the future, expectations full filled and desires unmet?
This year-end is particularly difficult because of the concerns due to acts of terror across the globe, the recent floods in Chennai, India, the unending wars in the Middle East, etc. These are also times to reflect upon the fact that we are all inextricable parts of nature governed by the laws of nature.
We are part of nature says the statement from the Upanishad: Thath Thwam Asi (You and the Universe are integral in each other). Since we are part of nature, everything we know is already contained in the nature. When we become aware of it we become informed or knowledgeable.
There are also individual circumstances, when our life appears to be torn apart into pieces. This may be due to a loss of a loved one. Or you are accused of something that you are not even remotely connected with. An ailment of serious magnitude threatens ominous outcomes. Peace and stability is challenged through floods, war or other calamities. Progress in life does not seem to match the effort and/or skills. At times like these I find it is comforting to look around. We find remarkable evidences of resilience, survival and growth against all odds. https://sipractce.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/adversity-and-faith-in-nature/
Following are a few more examples – a random collection from my travels – from the plant kingdom. They serve to re-assure us and promise that despite all adversities there will be a different and hopefully better outcome. Such re-assurance keeps our energy and motivation high to seek the higher ground, like the eternal blossoming of flowers of all shapes and colors.
There are also evidences that defy our expectations. They remind us that life need not be what we define that to be in our mind. It can have myriads of diversity. It is all part of nature.
The images below can be our voices from the nature to seek out such questions. They can be the symbols for the change that we can be part of?
We see positive outcomes in unexpected circumstances (like the desert grass and a flowering plant that grow in the sand dunes).
Sometimes aspects of life seem to be out of place (like these roots forming the trunk or the trunk well above ground like a palm tree before we see the branches). But they are all parts of nature too!
Sometimes people perish but their legacy lives on; at other times despite struggle and hardships there is a ray of hope within a life time (like what we see in nature: trees die but the trunk survives; at other times the trunk grows sturdy stunted by constant pruning, but small shoots find their way to grow out of its thick barks and the distorted and knotted surface).
Flowers come in all shapes and with many features.
While each flower has features and belong to a species, we instantly recognize them all as “flowers”. Their very image conjures up thoughts of vibrant energy, growth and harmony.
While we look at nature and its remarkable diversity we can also ask, “What can I do to help the forces of nature towards a benign and positive outcome? How can I help a flower to blossom even in a desert like barrenness? What can I do to help in a situation and for people that appear to be abnormal (disability) to become normal enabled with their own potential and opportunities?”
Year end and the holiday season is a good time for such reflection, which in turn can lead to seeking out volunteer opportunities for social good and contribute or donate to charities where we can. Perhaps these are also examples of Spirituality in Practice?
Wishing you all a happy Holiday Season, Merry X-Mas and a very Happy New Year!