Learning, they say is a continuous process in Life – it just never ends. From the time we are born, we are learning from our parents, teachers, friends, books, media, internet, spiritual Masters and so on. Often we get bombarded with several viewpoints and advice in terms of how we truly need to live our lives in a world where we increasingly face strife, disenchantment, frustrations, inner turbulence, breakdown of relationships, stresses at the workplace etc. Experience, they say is a great teacher but yet we still find ourselves feeling helpless in terms of being able to cope with the complex challenges of present day living. If we just allow ourselves to de-clutter our minds, step back and just be a watchful observer of Nature, we will find a plethora of lessons to learn which can contribute to our inner peace, despite the chaos and turmoil which we may find the world outside to be in.
Let’s take a look at some of Nature’s phenomena and the corresponding lessons we could learn. The underlying principle being that we mortals being an integral part of this Universe and Nature need to be in sync and in total harmony with each of Nature’s way of expressing itself. So here goes…..
Just reflect on the Trees – the way they always give us their Fruits, Shade, Shelter and the vital Oxygen which is necessary for our existence. Further this “giving” by the trees is unconditional. They give because that’s their very nature. Moreover whilst giving they do not judgmentally discriminate between any living being – whether animals, a saint, a beggar, a criminal or for that matter a tycoon. Again when they “give” they do so without having any expectation about getting back anything from us. But the beauty is that without expecting, they involuntarily receive the vital carbon dioxide from us which is critical to their existence. Thus there is an unselfish, symbiotic and collaborative relationship at work here.
Now also notice that whenever there is a fierce storm, the tree instead of remaining rigid in its posture and resisting the storm, lets its leaves and branches “bend” and sway to go along with the storm. This is essential else its very foundation and roots would get shaken and compromised. In a sense therefore the Tree chooses to adapt itself to the changing circumstances by being flexible and therein lies its “strength” rather than “weakness”.
LESSON # 1 (From the Trees):
– Unconditional love is our very nature. Let’s learn to adopt this.
– Let us focus on “giving” of ourselves to others. Nurturing Expectations will only “kill” love and leave us hurt and bitter.
– When we “give” with purity of thought and intent, we are assured of “receiving” – natural laws of the Universe will conspire to make this happen.
– We should learn to adapt and embrace change. Remaining rooted in our state whilst resisting change will only pamper and fuel our egos whilst this becomes a precursor for us to get hurt and become the cause for our downfall.
When we observe the flowing stream of water we would notice some key aspects. There is certain vitality in the flow. And this flowing stream of water is uncontaminated and pure, unlike stagnant waters which become muddy, murky and unclean. To keep flowing is the very nature of the stream of water. There is a sense of detached harmony and melody in its flow and it remains unperturbed and unmoved by the scores of rocks, boulders, stones it might encounter during the course of its flow. Instead of stopping its flow, it merely rides over the rocks and boulders and continues its flow. In doing so it simply and gracefully accepts the existence of rocks and boulders passes no judgement on them, does not get into a struggle with them and only decides what it needs to do to carry on its karmic and natural flow. At times when it hits a dead end and is unable to ride over the obstacles, it does not give up but simply changes its course ( a bypass route so to speak) and once again continues its flow undeterred.
LESSON # 2 (From the flowing Stream of water)
– We need to learn to go with the flow of Life dutifully and lovingly carrying out the “roles” that the Divine Grace has ordained for us or our Souls have chosen to carry out as part of our karmic journey. Remaining stagnant would “muddy” our lives.
– The boulders, rocks and other such obstacles represent the problems we all will inevitably face in our lives. What we need to do is to accept these with a sense of awareness and non-judgement, in the realisation that we have the inherent capacity (just like the flowing water) to ride over these obstacles and carry on with our flow of our lives.
– Struggling against the forces of Nature and its rhythm only produces a resistance and what we resist only persists. So we continue to carry the burden of perpetual struggle.
If and when we do wake up early enough in the morning, we are unlikely to miss out the sweet chirping of the Birds which is music to our ears. It is as if Birds have woken up to welcome and “celebrate” another day in their lives. Their chirping seems to communicate a certain harmony with Nature and convey an “all is well” feeling with the world around. How diligently do they get on with their tasks – whether it’s building their nests laboriously, bringing food for their young ones or just flying with a sense of joy and freedom? Often their nests would have got destroyed but does that make them angry or do they play the blame game or generate in themselves a feeling of despair? No way. With a sense of detachment they go about the task of reconstructing their nests and move on. They remain focused on whatever they are doing in the moment without getting caught in a state of regret about the past or worry about the future.
LESSON # 3 (From the Birds)
– Success is not a final destination, it’s a journey, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue relentlessly that matters.
– As to what happens to us in life, we may have little or no control. But where we do have control is how we choose to deal with the situation and respond to it. Live Life in the present – the here and now to live it to the fullest. Drop your judgements and attachments to the details of your long term plans. Be available to what comes your way. And don’t worry if you stumble or fall. Just pick yourself up and carry on with a smile.
Many of us are overawed by the beauty of the hills and mountains – a sheer delight to experience the majestic marvel of Nature. Yet for many of us the Mountains seem to be intimidating given their sheer size and height. No wonder that many adventure lovers have tried to scale the highest of peaks round the world and even today we applaud the feat of Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norway who “conquered” the Mount Everest. But if we reflect on this aspect a little closely, a question will arise – Can mountains really be conquered? Are Mountains not what they just are – another part and parcel of Mother Nature? What then are we “conquering”? For that matter doesn’t anything that exists outside of us happen to be a pure manifestation of the Universal Life Force?
LESSON # 4 (From the Mountains)
– We tend to see the world not as the world is but the way we are.
– Nothing outside of us can ever be intimidating and mountains are not there to be “conquered”. They are just there. Period. What we need to conquer is only our fears, apprehensions, anxieties, feelings of inadequacies, doubts and lack of self-belief. It is these negative forces that pull us down and act as powerful barriers to achieving our desired goals in Life, It is these negative forces which we have to learn to overcome through our own determination and tenacity of purpose.
It would have been a common phenomena for many of us to have observed the way a swarm of Geese flying – they in variably fly in a “V” formation. The reason they do so is because it conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The bird takes turns being in front, falling back when they get tired. In this way, the Geese can fly for a long time before they must stop for rest. The second benefit to the “V” formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Flying in formation will assist with the communication and co-ordination within the group.
LESSON # 5 (from the Flying Geese)
– There is a natural “Interconnectedness” between all living and even inanimate matter. Just like the “family” of the Geese where each bird takes shared responsibility for maximising the potential performance of the entire “family, we human beings also need to reflect on how this “inclusiveness” with our families at home, colleagues at the work place, and every other interaction that we experience, could be used to create a “win-win” situation for all. Realisation of only vested, selfish interests at the exclusion of others can never pay off in the long term and each one of us would deny ourselves the potential we have for collective growth.
Ajay Sachdeva graduated in Mathematics from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. This was followed by a postgraduate degree in Operations Research from Delhi University. For securing first rank in this course at the university, he is the recipient of a gold medal. He went on to pursue a two-year Management programme from IIM, Ahmedabad. Of late, he has taken to writing on spirituality. Ajay is the author of Is Your Mind Really Yours? and currently lives in Delhi.