Fixed In Time
Article ID: 14492
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,227
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Posted: March 20th. 2011
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For the past few years I have been farming... Growing food because it is delicious, because it is a basic necessity we know little about and because it is an opportunity to be intimate with so many beautiful living creatures. Our farm operation is both urban and rural. During this time many volunteers have come out to participate and learn. With the term learning we usually think of that as gathering information on a subject. So the questions that are asked are about which method we use to farm, do we till or not till, do we use this technique or that technique, what do we do in this or that situation. Now there is some factual information that is useful, but that is easily looked up in reference books. The more important aspect to learn is that what works today does not necessarily work tomorrow, that what works here does not necessarily work over there. That looking and listening is more valuable than any factual information. That not knowing is more resonant with actual reality than knowing.
Nature is always fluid, moving. The trees sway in the breeze, the stream bubbles and the clouds transform from shape to shape. Even the stones, though seeming still and immobile, are moving in their own time frame. Life itself is an ever-changing dance of energy. Today, in contrast to Nature, the human mind has become obsessed with fixing its own constructs into time... “I believe this.” “My friend is like this”. “I like this color, food, clothes, entertainments...” We create 'meanings' and try to fix those definitions/ideas/beliefs onto life over time. Meaning in the intellectual sense, is time based.
With Nature, meaning is intrinsic. It is contained whole in the moment, not in relation to another moment. When we walk out in the forest, we feel this vibrating presence (present-ness) all around us. We can sense the innate health and rightness, but we also are uncomfortable with it because we have been conditioned to grasp and control. We have a mental process that creates an artificial structure within the psyche that gives the appearance of order and meaning. This conditioned behavior is the source of our attempted domination of Nature. This is the source of our alienation and suffering.
Nature is fluid, not static. Yet the mind is obsessive about gathering information to try and put together a map so that one can know what to do in a given situation. This is what the mind does in every facet of life. It makes maps, rules, behaviors, and refines them, adds to them, adjusts them. The thing is, no matter how well crafted the map, it is not the thing itself. We lose sight of this basic truth and start to believe the map is that which the map only represents. We put so much energy into crafting intellectual representations, that we forget to experience the reality itself firsthand. And those secondhand representations can never truly meet the firsthand reality.
Nature is fluid and ever changing and no matter how hard we try to update our internal maps, they are always a step behind. Our internal representations are based upon memory/thinking, which is the past. The past is forever playing catch-up to the present, but never gets there. As soon as it figures out the present, that immediate moment is already gone and a new present is there.
We have been conditioned with this as our first, second and third options. Only occasionally does the subtle, the intuitive, bubble up. And then it is quickly grasped and used by the aggressive mind instead of being left to move in its own intelligent way. As long as we continue to function this way, it does not matter what set of beliefs we carry. I can read a book about this path or that path, absorb and regurgitate various ideas, but if the basic way we function is the same, the end result is the same. So what is needed is a new basis... a new foundation.
Many people feel this to some degree. I would say this is a significant reason for the growing interest in recent years in Paganism. There may be some faddish element involved, but there is also some real hunger. The notion that heaven is above and that the earth is a place of sin as well as the notion of the physical universe as mechanistic system both open the door to the disrespect and abuse of and alienation from our living sentient home. Many people feel this and tentatively reach for something more visceral, more authentic. Yet it is not enough to just change the ideas and surface behaviors. We have to dig deep within and uproot the old conditionings and rediscover our actual living connection to Life.
Out on the land growing plants for food, for medicine, for beauty, it is a good playground for exploring this. All those plants are firsthand and if we go to them, approach them humbly, we can receive their teachings. If we approach them with open eyes, they will lovingly reveal their fragrant wisdom. Yet we are so stubborn and make such a tremendous effort to bring them to us. We try to learn all about Nature, but so we can use it for our own exclusive aims. We work our hardest to bend Nature to our will, and for a brief moment in the terrestrial scale, we fool ourselves into feeling mighty and proud. Yet all the while we are poisoning our world and ourselves because of our arrogance and ego. Our insistence on fixing our mental constructs in time and demanding that Nature bends to them has destroyed us.
Our society has become so ingrown that it is collapsing and it is past the point of stopping it. And still we will not see, we will not admit what we have done. Our selfish pride will not let us see. So we go on daily with business as usual, knowing deeper down just what choice we are making as we struggle to deny the truth that is becoming more obvious each month. It does no good to try and avoid this or fool ourselves about what we face. That is just the same mistaken belief that we are special and above Nature. Such exceptional-ism is exactly how we brought about the mess we are in.
I meet and talk to many people who feel depressed or despairing at the enormity of the challenges we face. Yet what I have discovered is that most of those feelings are the result of our denial, not the circumstances themselves. To see our circumstance, as it is, without denial or wishful thinking, is the beginning of intelligent living. Responsibility is not going to the job every day and paying the bills on time. Responsibility is the ability to respond to what is. In facing what is, we have opportunity to discover a fresh clarity, balance and path that we have not know before. This opens a door to new levels of perception, a fantastic world of magic and intimate beauty.
There is an irony in societies’ fascination with science fiction, fantasy and magic. This fascination is driven in large part by our denial of the truth and unwillingness to face our circumstances as we look for some magical escape from what we have sown. Yet the very fabric of the world we live in is intelligent, awake and mystical. The thing is, it can never come to us. We have to go to it and in doing so, we will let go of the rigid structures we have fixed in time at such cost and be changed in ways we cannot imagine. The Spirits of the Earth are calling on people willing to make such a journey.
Location: Portland, Oregon
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