How Should We Approach Life?
edited: Friday, October 03, 2008
By Regis Auffray
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, October 03, 2008
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An article by friend and local writer, Sha'Tara.
How Should we Approach Life?
[thoughts of ~a burning woman~ Sha’Tara]
The problem with opening one’s mind to the Cosmos is to realize that even though we obviously are little more than the nut that fell from the tree, we are all the trees in the forest. If you don’t think about it and go about parroting some new-agey jingles or pseudo-Tao like “all is one,” “I AM,” “I live in the now,” then this cosmic awareness doesn’t seem a big deal. You might even say, hey, that’s the truth of it. And remain just as unenlightened as the one who sees life ebbing in the bottom of a beer glass.
But when you think deeply and seriously about it, you can see the craziness of it. How do you approach such a thing? How do you draw near it without being overwhelmed by a sense of personal insignificance or overweening pride? Most deal with it either by putting that questing part of themselves on blocks for the duration, or they go running after other peoples’ gods and creeds, creating patchworks of their own in the process. I’m very familiar with the second approach: it was mine for many years. The problem with those approaches is, the nut remains a nut: it doesn’t germinate, doesn’t grow, doesn’t become a tree; doesn’t contribute as a part of the forest. It is stored and will be eaten in time. It will not develop a working sense of selfhood.
When I am alone on the River or the remaining wilderness, far enough from the endless hell of man’s motor world (did you ever notice there’s hardly ever a time when you don’t hear the drones or death screams of some motor, or siren, in the air, through the water or as vibrations through the ground?) I hear the wind through grasses and leaves. I can hear a leaf suddenly detach from a branch and float its way to the ground. I can stand on a gravel bar near the River and feel her passage, ever coming, ever ‘there’ and ever flowing down to the sea. I can feel the changes of temperature in the air and match them with the cloud designs in the sky. When a cloud of certain density approaches the sun my body can already tell how much the air is going to cool and it automatically prepares for the change. I can hear many birds (there are always birds) in the bushes and trees though often they choose not to be visible. And the busy and teasing hordes of insects. I smell the changes, either in rising waters or drying mud flats as the waters drop with the season. I smell flowers, herbs, ripening berries, flowing sap and the breath of leaves. I hear and intuitively sense the sigh of the wind – it’s not as impersonal as I used to think. And finally, I ‘see’ the Watchers; lonely sentinels watching over the land and the waters, collecting information, and when they are done, disappearing to be replaced by others. Chameleons they are, disguised as stumps of burned down trees, or pieces of driftwood; sometimes as clouds or hilltops; sometimes showing their faces in clumps of grass or bushes or stone faces. As a child I was afraid of them, for they were always alive to me and I could see them move. Now I know them and respect their place in the scheme of earth things. They are beautiful to me and I love them though to them I’m just a ‘thing’ to observe and catalogue. In all of that, I try to really understand, but it’s like being suddenly blinded and trying to move about in a world designed for sighted people.
When I enter man’s world I follow the same process of observance and awareness although here it is very painful to me. This particular society is totally brutalized and brutalizing – by looks, by attitude, by the visual atrocities and revolting sounds it produces and by its boundless gratuitous violence it calls exercise and entertainment. Only a totally desensitized brute – I use that word deliberately – could accept such a way; could fit into it, or worse, find enjoyment in it. This place that was once so serene; so peaceful; so pretty; has become a man-made hell. Why? Primarily a quest for money, profit. Secondly, a quest for physical/material comfort, convenience and endless pleasure, as if such a thing could ever be achieved; as if it could be a good thing. Even Pinocchio discovered, when hanging out with the Lost Boys that endless fun could never be. There is always a price to pay.
In this man-made world I see much that is sad. Of particular pathos are the Old People walking along noisy streets, their faces closed off, clutching shopping bags or pushing buggies. Too often I feel their pain in the way they walk, hunched over or limping, and I sense their terrible, unquenchable, loneliness. They sometimes come across as aggressive and rude to those who would help them and so they cannot be helped for in their time they didn’t care either and they really never learned to share, or to trust. Now it’s their time to limp along, bodies propped by drugs and costly surgeries, to deteriorate, disappear and be swiftly forgotten. What is their legacy in the community? What have they done during their short, self-absorbed life? They believed and never became wise. And they brought forth the current generation of hedonists bringing down what’s left of their world through self-indulgent perversions.
Do I sound more angry than saddened by this downfall? Yes, I am angry. I am angry at a lying system based on money and power that has ‘educated’ these masses into a morally bankrupt morass of ignorance and stupidity. I am angry at those who advertise and sell their useless trinkets produced from the blood of the working slaves in ‘developing’ nations. I am angry at government and all its bureaucracies but particularly the misnamed ‘education system’ and I am past angry at every religion, every church, every lying mouth that preaches a gospel it doesn’t live by, or ever intends to live by.
But here too, I strive to understand so I don’t allow myself the luxury of remaining angry. I believe there is a possibility of some solution to man’s problems. If I did not believe that I’d be the ultimate hypocrite to think as I do, or to write out these thoughts. As I observe the continuing ‘fall of man’ in turn, I also am aware that after the fire there will be a remnant that may just have the wherewithal, the courage, to look at its past and utterly repudiate it. There will be people who will want something better than what their history has given them; who will refuse to consider the false promises; the lure of atavism. Maybe they will even burn the books, all the books (including mine if ever any get published) and certainly every vestige of every religious tome in existence so they do not remain to tempt some latter-day ‘preacher’ to look for spiritual and moral meaning in the past. There will be people who will be intelligent enough to realize that if you cull anything at all from a perverted past you will be bringing rotten fruit in among the new crops and you will be just as bad off as before, if not worse.
I have promised myself that I will return to this world, allowing enough intervening years, at the time of its worst ever trials for survival and rebirth. Only thus can I prove to myself that I care. It is my dream that at that time I will be able to offer this world some hope. I will have a gift to share and I won’t be alone. Those of us who return will remember ‘this’ and that will make all the difference.
Perhaps my ‘visions’ (which have come to shape my life) are only a pipe dream. Perhaps it doesn’t work that way, or perhaps I’m all wrong and things will not get any worse than they are now, or if they do it will be a minor cycle and things will get back on track and few the worse for wear. But somehow I doubt that. Even the most crass individual in this thoroughly self-serving society cannot be completely unaware of the terrible imbalance that already exists between the ‘rich’ and the ‘poor’ on this world. Surely even a pseudo-human can allow for moments of doubt about the ‘rightness’ of things. After all doesn’t the concept of being a ‘civilized people’ demand the exercise of compassion for those who hunger and thirst? For those who die for no better reason than this: that they live in territories where the major resources needed to feed an insatiable technology happen to lie?
The nut falls from the great tree. It lies on the ground and gradually becomes buried. For all practical purposes it is dead. But if there is a Spring, can it not sprout into a new tree? Even if all the old trees are gone, chopped down for firewood by haggard and ragged bands of semi savages, could there not be a new forest if enough seeds germinate and there is enough light and water about? Life on earth (and I suspect everywhere else!) is very resilient.
“It's one thing to know what has to be done; it's an entirely different thing to know what to do.”
[Dan Simmons - paraphrase]
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|Reviewed by Elizabeth Price
|Makes me think. And to what my purpose may be in this life. I stumble along hoping I am helping those I touch. Too frequently I hurt and am hurt but I persist in trying. Your article really hit a cord with me. Great write. Liz|
|Reviewed by Jon Willey
|our approach must always be one of outrageous optimism and benevolence -- were we created for less? -- peace my friend -- JMW|
|Reviewed by Kathleen McDonald
|This is a very interesting article. Anyone with a conscience is angry at what is happening in this world. the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It is as is written here. The news gets worse every day and we have not learned the lessons that history has taught us. We will go stumbling along until we are olbivious to what is happening around us. Good write. Makes one think.|
|Reviewed by Glenda Bixler
|Comment: Your thoughts remind me of a book, title not remembered, sorry... It was "after" the second coming (in Christian faith) and there were those that were "left" purposely to help those who needed guidance to once again move ahead... I believe you must be one of those who would be there...to help...
I'm angry too; I just have lived long enough to know that there are still those that are not totally into this world...may there be more than we actually believe there are!
|Reviewed by Debby Rosenberg
|pure contemplation...deep and meaningful
I tried to film the beautiful rustling sounds of aspen leaves recently...a car drove by and I felt so sad that the beauty of its voice would not be heard to any other than those that take the time to seek and find such natural sounds...I no long know what to believe about the world...and my place in it
|Reviewed by Sheila Roy
|This article makes one consider his/her place in the world. Great writing!
|Reviewed by Lois Christensen
|Good thinking and sharing of your thoughts. Some of them are mine andthen again some are new to me and some are things i don't even care to think about. It is kind of a mixed up review to me, but it makes sense and we should really care more about ourselfs and why we are here then we do. Thanks for simply showing me a better way for now.|
|Reviewed by Chantilly Lace (Reader)
|Very well written dear man....enjoyed very much...Hugsssssss|
|Reviewed by Stephen Pollard
Very serious and deep in thought.
Very serious and well written.
Thank you for sharing your very
|Reviewed by John Flanagan
|Fearless and brave, Reg, and I salute your anger and am with your frustration - the disappointment is that as a species we are capable of so much more but we take the least line of resistance and constantly settle for the quick and cheap. The "When I am alone on the River..." paragraph is excellent writing and thought, your sensitivity and sense of wonder shine.
|Reviewed by D. Kenneth Ross
|Reg, what this tells me is exactly how honest a man you are, like so many of us who see so much negativity, so much wrong bombarding us, we can still see the potential in humanity. If we ever reach that 'nirvana' where we judge others, not by material things, but by their concern for the 'family of man' we will have done everything we are here to do. Until then 'Live well and write.' - Dave R.|
|Reviewed by Randall Barfield
|It's all so complicated and with my little amount of brains--however, much beauty lies in the reality that you care. You are a most caring individual I've seen early on.|
|Reviewed by Linda Law
|Reg... you always burrow in and get to the core of things, and that is what some great minds do... nonetheless, it does get one to thinking ... lindalaw|
|Reviewed by Stan Grimes
|Great article. It's that kind of thinking that fostered many philosophical giants in this world of ours. Not sure how to remove one's self, or somehow assimilate into one's mind. Very thought provoking.|
|Reviewed by Bonnie May
|Yes it is...I try not to delve that deeply into why, who, where. I think a lot of us do this. I get involved in the things I can make a difference the others I file in my mind so if an opening comes, maybe i can do something. What a powerful thought provoking write, Regis, so much passion you have in your life and thinking. Well done, maybe you can change what we can not, I'll be pullin for ya. Love, Bonnie|