This physical world we are all born into seems so rough. We live to procreate but Nature doesn’t seem to be concerned with how we live (whether in joy or sorrow, in suffering or bliss) as long as we live long enough to serve our purpose in the eyes of nature – “Be fruitful and multiply“. Still, without Life’s challenges; without the great labors of all creatures large and small, it may be that evolution would come to a standstill. No thing would grow or diversify without the enormous pressure of Mother Nature’s sweeping hand.

Obviously I can’t actually speak for Mother Nature, but I can safely say that on one level we are quite simply here to multiply. Let them all: plants, animals, insects, humans, bacteria, virus’, extra terrestrials and whatever other living “things” continue to spring forth into the dimension of form.

For millennia this fact has been expressed by poets, artists and philosophers alike in so many ways representing the basic experience of every living organism in existence. In a nutshell, “Life is difficult.” There is not one living creature which will not know pain in its lifetime. Yes, existing in this enormous universe of ‘things’ seems difficult when we see ourselves as ants by comparison.

Paul Ritchie - the labryinth(Photo Credit: Paul Ritchie)

Weren’t you saying something about pain being necessary for growth?

Yes, I digressed a little. What I want to point out is that Nature isn’t interested in HOW we live our lives, as long as we survive long enough to make more of us. It’s here with this “HOW” that I want to begin. In this hostile physical world of form; in this “rough, difficult, and painful” kind of life that all living creatures must endure, there is no way of surviving without ‘taking cover’. Our basic needs of water, food, and shelter are important to nature’s work of keeping us around long enough to pass on our genetic codes.

2009_04_17 Baby Rudy is Born!! (4)

“Pain and suffering” as Tolle says, and I closely paraphrase: “are the birthing pangs of creation.” They are necessary for growth, for change, and  for the evolution of any species. In any case, you notice something different about human beings.

I do. Human beings are no longer able to survive (if they ever did) by just meeting their basic needs for survival in the physical world. Unlike all other creatures on earth (barring some highly intelligent mammals who exhibit a trace of behaviors similar to us) human beings seem to live not only here where they actually are, but in an entirely different realm which is conceptual and imaginative, that is, a place very far away from reality.

You mean the mind.

Yes, did you know that human beings also have one other requirement for survival, a thing which isn’t required for physical survival as such, and yet without it a man would likely not live long enough to procreate?

Yes, human beings have a need to belong – among other psychological needs- ultimately, he needs a REASON to live.

Yes, human beings are so deeply entrenched in the mind that living in and of itself isn’t enough, the ego demands some kind of meaning, a definition. Humans must have the WILL to live. Why? Because at the heart of the living experience, the thought of death or impermanence haunts the mind. But the horror of the situation is that the mind has become a terrible place to live, so much so that we’re constantly trying to take shelter from our own minds, trying to run away from our imagined fears and perceived insecurities by distracting ourselves with all kinds of meaningless activities, even though most of our fears don’t actually pose any direct or immediate threat in the moment we feel afraid. We chase shadows and run from shadows.

zev - quinn(Photo Credit: “Quinn” by Zev)

Yes, we chase the future, and run from the past. But there is no shelter in the Now. There is no escape from Now except in the form of a thought.

That’s just it. If the mind isn’t perceiving what’s actually here Now (the only Reality that ever actually exists), free from all bias’, then the place where one is ‘living’ is just a dream, an illusion, a mirage. So deeply identified are we with this reality and so convinced of its authenticity that we tend to RUN madly away from all the perceived ‘difficulties’ of the present moment. These perceived difficulties are associated with the ancient ruins of our past since we judge the present moment through the colored lenses of our history.

But where do we think we’re running to? The next beautiful thing? The next moment of pleasure? The next building block of “me”? A dream built upon an apparition of some distant future? But how can you run from your own self when wherever you go, here you are? As such, the mind conjures up all forms of nonsense, bringing up all kinds of fears acquired over time, only to turn around and attempt an escape or cover up of things which…

…which are not actually here Now.

Precisely. How can I take shelter from something which doesn’t exist?

It’s simple, the imagined fear keeps us moving from one illusory refuge to another. You may try to acquire a sense of security by buying a nice house, or investing a stash of cash. You may try to create meaning through the pursuit of power or pleasure. You do your best to accumulate as many ‘chips’ as possible can in case the crap hits the fan. But security is as illusory an idea as insecurity. The dream (or nightmare) itself creates the sense of fear and in turn conjures up as many escape routes as it can to lift the very burden that it  imagined to begin with!

lil'_wiz(Photo Credit: lil_wiz)

Is this my cue to laugh or cry?

Transcend both.

Actually, there’s nothing to run from, nothing to fear. If only one could realize (not intellectually as I’m realizing now), but truly realize the implication inherent in the fact that life exists only in the present moment, one might be liberated from all fears.

The implication being that nothing exists apart from the Now?

Yes, and if one were to totally and completely realize that one is not actually separate from the present moment (and therefore LIFE itself) then one might realize that there can’t possibly be a need to take shelter from any thing perceived by the mind, including the idea that “life is difficult”.

Of course! What do you need shelter from – yourself? Hahaha!

And those who are overly sheltered are bound to suffer badly, as badly as those who aren’t sheltered at all.

Or maybe those two extremes are the luckiest of the lot, after all, they will suffer badly and only suffering will bring about some kind of growth, some evolution in consciousness…in the grand scheme that is.

Yes, no pain no gain as it’s said. I’m finally going to venture to question and suppose that growth is some kind of requirement in the evolution of human consciousness, or any evolution for that matter. What will I gain from my pain I wonder?

Why don’t you walk out from beneath your shelter and find out?

Sinead Fenton - and so we settle(Photo Credit: Sinead Fenton)