Rediscovering Our Nature by Lama Nicholas

We have become primarily mental creatures, controlled by and dependent on the function of the mind. But by using and relying exclusively on the mind, we have come to see ourselves as living outside of or apart from Nature. We do not let nature define us anymore, but instead we define nature. We are in control, not nature. In order to define nature we must be outside of what we are observing. In this way, we  have come to basically humanize nature, by giving it man-made labels and categories. This mentality has alienated us from our origins, because in order to objectify nature, we have to first separate from it.

But the price of this alienation has come at too great expense; not only to us and to the environment we live in, but to everything living on this planet as well. For in giving nature our version of reality, the one that can be proved with our senses and in laboratories, we have denuded nature [and our ourselves] of its most primary functions- the functions of spirit, mystery, order and balance.

We, like everything else alive on this earth, must follow the cyclical pattern of life, which means that there is no real progression of events, nor are there stages of existence, but just a series of cycles, ending in a natural reversal once each entity reaches its natural and most extreme state of entropy. Then it begins to atrophy. When we age our life reverses to its beginning, then things start all over again.

This process is not sudden; it is gradual. We all witness this gradual reversal in the ageing process, as the elderly begin to act like infants. We revert to what we were at birth. By the same token, death is not an end; it is the start of a new cycle. A fallen leaf does not represent the death of the tree nor does it represent the death of future leaves. It is a transformation that takes place and when the leaf has reached its zenith, then it begins to transform and naturally falls from the branch when it no longer has life as a leaf. But another leaf will be born! beginning.  

Since nothing in life really dies, but is rather in a constant state of transformation, we must not be exempt of the same natural laws either. We are just as much a part of nature and her natural ways as the leaf from the tree. Our body will surely die but it will not be the end, as it will go through a series of transformations.

But transform into what? Some may argue that he will be transformed into energy; others may argue that he will be transformed into a soul. But what will the energy transform into and what will the soul transform into? There can be no exceptions.

Unfortunately, few people ask these questions nowadays, because most people only see us in materialistic terms. Few people see us as an integral part of nature, forever going through various cycles of life and in the process, undergoing a series of transformations and renewals.

Instead, we see ourselves as the measure of all things, and nature is simply there as a backdrop to our ego and its purpose in life—which is either to find our soul in another land outside of the earth, or to kill anything in our path that hinders or impedes our survival on earth. Nature is there at our beck and call, to exploit at will. At the same time, nature is an enemy too, a force that threatens us, because we must eventually die, which is perversely seen as nature’s fault.

With both versions we are always fighting: We are fighting against ourselves, fighting against others, and fighting against nature. When we fight against others, it is politics. When we fight against nature it is science; and when we fights against ourselves it is religion.

In all cases we are fighting: we are fighting against people, because they subvert our ambitions to have power and to rule; we are fighting against nature, because nature subverts our ambition to live forever; and we fights against ourselves because our natural ways subvert our ambition to live eternally.

We are not living in harmony but in a constant state of conflict and the only way of removing the conflict, and the internal anxiety and suffering it causes us, is by removing the source of the conflict, that is, other people, nature, or man himself. Thus we have war and violence and in the process we come closer and closer towards the thing we fear the most-death. At the same time, it also brings death closer to the planet.

Because of our fight and fighting, hostile worlds and societies, which mirror and thrive on our propensity to create war and conflict, are springing up all over the planet, like a virus. In the process, our natural qualities are being repressed; we are becoming an aggressive, violent people, split and cut off from nature and, sadly manifesting destructive and schizophrenic behavioral patterns. 

Instead of living one with nature, in harmony with her cycles and natural rhythms, we are living outside of these natural processes and as a result becoming a ‘fragmented version of ourselves’, which is constantly repressing and destroying anything that is natural and vibrant, including ourselves. We do not know what life is anymore, and how to live it. He doesn’t know the joy and celebration of life. He doesn’t know that life is a gift. He doesn’t know gratitude. So he goes on being violent and destructive in every way- to other men, to nature and to himself. 

We do not know what life is anymore, and how to live it. We don't  know the joy and celebration of life. We don't know that life is a gift. We don't know gratitude. So we go on being violent and destructive in every way- to other people, to nature and to ourselves. Any day this planet can explode and plunge into utter annihilation. The entire intelligence of mankind- technology, politics, religion, and everything- is directed towards one final goal: how to commit a global and individual suicide.

The Ancients believed, the purpose of life is to unfold one's true nature. To unfold one's true nature is to synchronize one's inner nature with one's external nature, or in other words, to reach a perfect harmony between the nature within and the nature without.

True men/women are those who have merged their thoughts and actions with the ever-changing transformations of the universe. Once at one with their Spirit, such people act from their innermost being; they no longer deliberate or calculate about actions. They respond in the only way possible- the perfectly appropriate way.

When man can act this way, he is acting true to his nature, and as such, is one with his nature, which is as a REAL man/ as a REAL woman.  He/she is not acting as a kind of man, like a masculine version of a man or a feminine version of woman, or as an American or Arab; nor as he/she is expected to act due to social conditioning.

But he/she is acting in harmony with his inner and outer worlds, without thought or deliberation about how or why he/she should act one way or the other. It comes naturally- his human-ness. That is our purpose in life, to be a true man and a true woman, one with our true nature, which means bringing out our human-ness.

Unfortunately, artificial living and artificial values have been eroding our purpose in life, and, at the same time, have moved humankind away from his original nature and in the process away from his origins. Because of this continual association with what is man-made as opposed to what is made naturally, we have come to identify ourselves in terms of our materialistic, physical and social needs instead of in terms of our natural instincts and our spiritual roots.

This loss of our natural instincts, and the consequent inability to identify with our natural and spiritual connections, has led to a gradual decline in society in general and the individual specifically, which is witnessed by the ever-increasing rate of disease, drug addiction, incidence of suicide, loss of direction and an overall sense of disconnection, meaninglessness and unhappiness. It has also led to ever-increasing rate of cancer, diabetes, obesity, chronic illnesses and incurable diseases.

The decline in society and in the individual has come about because of the rise of artificiality. Since we are living outside of nature, we have lost any personal connection to nature, thus we are no longer able to identify ourselves as a spiritual and sacred entity.

Because we sees ourselves exclusively in material terms, we have lost any connectedness to the whole and any natural inclinations to virtue and virtuous living. This we can observe not through the acts of love, goodness, compassion and tolerance, but through the acts of greed, violence, anger, lust and attachment.

Because we have been robbed of our true nature, which is our 'human-ness', we have lost any sense of virtue and virtuous living, the very qualities that distinguish man from other animals. This ‘human-ness’, like ‘cake-ness’, can only arise when conditions are right for it to arise, meaning when we are able to live and act in balance and in harmony with our inner and outer worlds, i.e., when we are in harmony with our spiritual and material worlds, or when we are in union with our environment and our own original nature.

When these conditions exist, when we can act naturally, unaware of, or unconcerned with society’s view of reality and its artificial constructs, codes of conduct and definitions of values, we will act as is appropriate at the time, and in the exact moment- in relation to his conditions and our circumstances.

This is our natural state, and in this state, we will manifest our natural birthright and act accordingly- and our essence will come out, as it should. Thus, it is through the cultivation of self and the continuous study of nature that the principles of human nature are revealed, and we, as a product of nature, should continuously seek to understand and live in harmony with the principles and laws of nature.

If we can live in accordance with the principles of nature, and our own nature, our essence, then we will find ourselves free—free of the mind/ego and the grip it has on us.

To do that, however, we must begin to accept that nothing in the world is permanent—everything is changing and unpredictable and, as such, there is no absolute good or bad about the things in the world, nor is there an absolute entity, an “I’ observing the things in the world, either.

Everything is subject to change, including our perception of truth and reality. It depends entirely on ‘who’ is looking, and ‘how’ one is looking at things. Both life and death arise from the mind and exist within the mind. The human mind is the commander of all events and all situations and reality is relative to its interpretation.

What is true and right today may be wrong and untrue tomorrow. It is the human mind, which processes the ability to think, that gives life a meaning and a value, and it is the human mind, which processes the ability to feel, that leads us to suicide and takes away any meaning and value in life.

Thus, the way we perceive and understand things around us all happens in the mind. So, it is imperative that we take care of and get control over our mind and come to understand that the ultimate explanations for all things are not always fully understood.

We should continuously treat “birth and death”, “good and bad”, “right and wrong”, “male and female”, “Christian and Jew, and so on, each as relative to the other and complementary, not as absolutes but related to and connected to others.

If on the other hand, we continue letting the mind rule our lives, by dividing and separating, exploiting and conquering, seeing everything as outside of us and as an adversary, in terms of artificial and absolute values, fighting against others, fighting against nature, and fighting against ourselves, then there will never be peace and harmony, because we cannot see the big picture, which we can see in nature.

Nature is like a symphony, in which all aspects of life must work together and be balanced. For the orchestra to play a symphony in harmony, all the instruments must be tuned to each other. All the strings of each instrument and all the notes of each string must be played in tune. If a single instrument is out of tune, the whole sound is dissonant rather than harmonious.

By making sure that our lives are patterned in the same way, ‘in tune,’ with both our inner and outer worlds, we can find harmony in life, too, just like the musical instrument. If there is an imbalance in our lives, one aspect of our life that is out of tune, so to speak, then our whole life will be out of harmony and dissonant. But, unfortunately, life in today’s world is not defined in terms of harmony and patterns, but in terms of singular, discontinuous and unconnected causes. 

With the mind, we treat causes, not conditions. We do not look at life like a musical symphony, as complex interweaving patterns of form and movement, as a series of notes and sounds, all connected and interdependent, but as series of singular causes, which may or may not be connected. It is it any wonder our lives are out of harmony and ‘out of tune’?

Disease represents a failure to adapt to the environment, a disruption of the overall balance, a time when the body, mind and spirit are out of tune with the environment, either internally, externally or both. In other words, man is sick not because he has an illness but because he is out of harmony- this is his sickness. The pathological problem, the so-called illness, is simply a manifestation of the underlying problem, which is this disharmony.

In an artificial world, we don’t see things this way. Instead, we treat things in isolation and separate from other things; we treat symptoms, not connections or root causes. Organs are not perceived as connected to each other, nor are they responding to the external world, e.g., to the different patterns of the weather.

Instead, they are perceived as operating independently of each other and get sick because they are infected- invaded- from an outside or singular cause. So, if an organ is diseased, we simply remove it, and indifferent to the affect its removal can have on the harmony of the other parts and the impact this can have on the overall system.

By the same token, we do not see us connected either: our thoughts are not connected to his emotions, nor are our actions and desires connected to our thoughts and emotions. Our emotional and mental states are not connected, nor are the spiritual and physical states connected: The mind acts independently of the heart; the heart acts independently of the body, and the body acts independently of the spirit.

In this view of things, in the artificial world, everything acts independently and as a law unto itself- be it the individual organs, the individual thoughts, the individual beliefs, the individual acts, the individual people and the individual countries. Even diseases are acting independently! If one were looking at a symphony and listening to all the musicians playing separately from each other, with their instruments out of tune, would he stay around to listen?

In an artificial world, one that is dominated by the mind and its belief in singular and demonstrable causes, we do not see a world of connectivity, a world that describes parallelism and synchronicity of events in the inner and outer world of the human organism, as well as the world organism. We see static and material phenomena disconnected and responding to fixed laws of causality in time.

When we are living in harmony, we are living in harmony with life, which means we are living in harmony with nature. We are not acting independently from the world around us but in sync with it. The rhythms of our body, mind and spirit are in harmony with the rhythms of nature, that is how we play in tune and stay in good health both mentally and physically. Our life is an effortless flow because we can balance our inner world- our inner nature- with our external world—nature itself.

But most of us do not see life in this way, as an effortless flow because we are governed by the mind. The mind always sees things in parts, not wholes. And it does this primarily because it sees itself as separate from everything else. It sees itself as the experiencer and as such outside of that what it is experiencing- “Cogito ergo sum.”

It sees itself as the center of the universe, independent of the whole. That’s what it has been trained to do, what it has learned to do so well. The mind knows no other world but the artificial one, and no other way to act, but the way the mind sees fit and no other way to act- but in its own self-interest. 

Going back to our natural roots and being one with nature is our only hope. Instead of continuing to ‘humanize nature’, we need to let nature do its work on us and become ‘naturalized.’

In that way, we can become natural again, and in the process we can reverse the materialistic, egoistic and destructive trend that is leading us down the slippery slope of total destruction and annihilation. It is time to usher in a new period, and with it another perspective, one that can bring us harmony and balance.

Instead of humanizing everything around us we need to let nature save us, which it will do by getting us to feel whole again, to feel integrated to and apart of things, instead of feeling separate from and outside of nature’s natural rhythms and patterns. In this way, in rediscovering nature, we would rediscover our own nature as well, the loving- and spiritual- nature, and with it, some hope for the future of man.