Some years ago, I was watching an interview with a spiritual leader’s son.
He was describing how his parents lived in harmony with nature—they lived in a log cabin with no electrical power, walked around barefoot, and grew their own food.
I mean no disrespect, but that has nothing to do with living in harmony with nature.
Modern science tells us that on the deepest level of being, everything is unified. In other words, one thing is the source of everything. On that deepest level, everything is infinitely harmonious and imbibed with the infinite intelligence and creativity that birthed the entire universe.
For evidence of this harmony, all we have to do is look at a pinecone, a pineapple, or a nautilus shell. The simplicity and elegance of the Fibonacci sequence exists all around us. We don’t need to live off the grid to appreciate such harmony.
Human physiology, and specifically the nervous system, has the ability to traverse the full range of existence, integrating all levels of life with that source of infinite harmony. However, everyday stresses and strains in our physiology break down that integration over time. Spiritual growth is a matter of cultivating that state of integration.
That integration is what it truly means to live in harmony with nature.
The possibilities of how that integration would look on the surface of life are limitless. Yet it has been the quest of philosophers, social scientists, and theologians to define precisely what living in harmony with nature looks like.
The spiritual leader’s son seemed to believe that the behavioral pattern included going barefoot and living in a log cabin without power.
In reality, a person can live in a bustling Manhattan apartment building and be in tune with nature.
Harmony is a far more subtle phenomenon than we generally appreciate. It transcends stereotypes.
Expanding this to society, true social order—profound deep and lasting social order—results when all individuals are living in harmony with the depth of their being, in harmony with nature, in harmony with their own true nature.
This is how great civilizations come into being, supported by the balance of Mother Nature. Codes of conduct, religious and philosophical perspectives, and viewpoints on political correctness have little to do with the harmony underlying a society. Though those things do have value, they are too superficial.
I remember when my older daughter was a little girl and we went to the beach.
As one wave came in, I allowed it to crash up against me and knock me down. Getting back on my feet, dripping wet, I looked at my daughter and said, “Out of harmony with nature.” When the next wave came, I jumped up at the right moment, and that wave carried me effortlessly. Then I turned to my daughter and said, “In harmony with nature.”
Imagine a society of people all living in harmony with nature, all being carried forward by life-supporting waves.
History has shown us many great civilizations. However, over the generations, harmony with nature has slowly been lost. Their ideals ceased to be in harmony with nature and instead were fueled by selfish interest or other twisted motivations.
So what do we do about all this? How do we as individuals bring our society into a state of harmony with nature?
Bewildering as it may be to the modern mentality, it is not about doing. The solution lies beyond doing. The solution is to transcend doing, to be established in the source of harmony that birthed the universe and dwells at the depth of our being.
As Lord Krishna told Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “Take your mind to infinity.”
Arjuna, perplexed by the difficulties in his life, wanted to know what to do. The solution lay beyond the field of doing.
The doing necessary is first to understand that the solution lies beyond doing. That is very difficult for our modern mentality to accept. We are all caught up in the doing: What laws can we pass? What activist solution can we promote? What political posture can we take?
All these things are superficial. The solution lies at the depth.
Only once we understand that does it become reasonable for us to aspire to learn how to transcend it.
How do we transcend the superficial world of doing? How do we find that source of infinite harmony with nature? Where do we look?
The answer is quite simply: within.
The technique is proper meditation. I say proper because most meditations succumb to the addiction to doing. For example, focusing the mind, controlling the mind, pushing out thoughts, following the breath.
At the depth of our being lies the field of infinite harmony, the source of all existence. That is what the “kingdom of heaven dwells within” actually means. Everything gravitates back to that, if only we would allow it. The problem is, we don’t allow it. We try to do it. That is all upside down.
As Lord Krishna said to Arjuna, “Established in being, then perform action.”
As difficult as this may be to accept, what it means to “live in harmony with nature” on the surface holds no answers.
It can look like almost anything.
Some living in harmony may be liberal, others may be conservative, some may be capitalists, socialists, or even communists. Some may go barefoot, and others may buy their jewelry strictly at Tiffany’s while their limousine waits outside.
Author: Dr. Michael Mamas
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren