Lately, I’ve been letting Nature teach me about engagement. She’s a funny force, Nature, with her imperfect perfection. Some days she plows through our lives in full force and with a determined appearance, while others she sits placidly in the background just chilllin. She can move from being fully contained and restrained to becoming fully engaged and interactive, all within moments. An amazing force.
The Grecian sage Epictetus taught this too. In his philosophical practice of stoicism, he said, “Ask not that events should happen as you will, but let your will be that events should happen as they do, and you shall have peace.” I’ve come to understand that engagement works like this, too.
Through all my turmoils and smooth times, I have live engaged. We all do. There are countless unspoken lasting connections we have in place throughout our lives with other people, places, activities, ideas, emotions, and onward. We’re all engaged right now, whether or not we know it.
Like a forest, our lives are filled with all kinds of different growths and deaths, things being born and things decaying. Ideas and dreams live and die within of us, while we are nurtured by unknown processes and slighted from the things alive inside us. We may be oceans, cycling around entire hemispheres with relentless patience and ease while carrying the world along with us. Deserts and steppes, the Outback and the Great Plains all describe different places within our own lives as we engage and disengage, and Heartspace connects our days and ways.
When we sit look at Nature, we can understand ourselves as part of it and not separate from it. I do not believe anything humans are capable of is different from Nature or set apart or above it. To talk about humans controlling Nature or dominating it is to make us separate from Nature. That’s inherently cynical about humans, positioning us as authoritarian and in missionary relationship to Nature. We’re not. We should not pity Nature or by sympathetic towards it. Heartspace calls us towards living a genuine relationship with Nature, one where we move in empathy with all things around us.
In the same way, we should be empathetic towards all the world around ourselves, and within ourselves. We do not need to look inside ourselves and see sadness or wreckage. There’s no reason to elevate one point in our lives above all others. We have neither lived the depths or the heights exclusively, and neither needs martyred or slain by any measure. Instead, we can simply see these times as different forms of engagement within our own lives.
When we see another person, we don’t have to see their apparent success or failure. We can simply see them without judgment. This doesn’t require saintliness; its simply recognizing the perfect nature of Nature: Just as all Nature lives in ultimate harmony, so do all humans, because we’re not separate from Nature.
Harmony is yours now. Right now. Just like Nature, nothing more needs to happen.
Does that mean we shouldn’t try to change the world we live in, or go live in mountain shacks as hermits? Absolutely not. Instead, it means that we should actively, passionately know that our actions operate in harmony with all things always, that struggle can be over now, and that the world is ours to live in, and exist throughout right now. If you want to change the world change yourself, and then go outside. But, know always that you are engaged now, right now, and there’s nothing more that you have to do. Only do what you want from now on.