Life gives you what you need in order to experience life, just as it does the same for a plant.
You go through the process that is described as “a human life.” You are born. You learn to talk, walk, and care for yourself. You learn to manipulate the world to achieve your desires. You cry as a baby to demand attention from your mom. You get good grades to get into a good college to get a good job. You learn that money allows you to have things in life. You have relations with the opposite (or same) sex. You reproduce and raise your offspring. You learn more and more about the world, connecting with other humans, animals, and nature alike by feeling their livelihood. Finally, you experience aging and finally death.
Just as you experience life, so does a plant (maybe not in the same consciousness). Let’s make this plant a female for the purpose of emphasizing the life in her. She begins as a seedling from a parent plant. She is dropped into the soil, where favorable conditions allow her life to continue (similarly to how an egg encounters favorable conditions to be fertilized out of a few hundred in a female’s reproductive life or how one sperm beats out 200,000,000 in the average ejaculate to fertilize the egg). Because the world wants to see what this seedling will become, she is nurtured with sun, water, and love. She lays roots deeper and deeper. She breaks adolescence through the dirt into fresh air. How amazing! One tiny leaf piercing the soil. She grows taller. Perhaps she leans to the left because that’s where she can catch the sun’s rays. She grows into a tree, mingling and connecting with other birds, bugs and mammals, providing shelter, food, and life energy. Finally, she reaches the end of her life and dies.
Are we really so different?
The seedling and the egg? One life and another form of life? Nature and nature?
We experience what life gives us to grow as spiritual beings …
To stress over the minutia to realize that being late to work or getting a parking ticket doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. To experience a breakup to realize that you are whole (and can be happy) without another. To go through a loved one’s death to realize how precious life is.
Just as the seedling experiences the stress of the shade: “Where are you Mr. Sun? Hold on, let me lean over the left a couple inches. Oh! There you are!” She rolls with the punches, acts, and lives on.
“Mother Nature” is behind more of this life, religious and spiritual talk than people think.
How can a seedling have regrets, hold grudges, worry about the past, or speculate about the future?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but “She can’t.”
How can a seedling live anywhere but the present, experiencing life to the fullest for the purpose of … living?
Are we really so different?
The seedling just lives on.
I wrote this late one night, inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Nature.” Brilliant, brilliant writing that he accomplished. Very applicable to our mental and spiritual health when it comes to happiness.
Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, and A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic in Morristown, NJ. He practices out of Crossfit Morristown.