Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Today as I watched the pelicans dive it struck me how they never miss their water entry. It is always a perfectly executed turn, drop and splash. I've never once seen a pelican "blow it" landing in a belly flop or forgetting to pull it's wings in before hitting the wall of water. The beach is noticeably not littered with pelicans with broken wings and head injuries. Although anyone who has ever miscalculated a dive into a pool knows, missing your water entry is painful and can be fatal.
Yet, unlike humans, the pelican has not practiced 10,000 hours until they reached mastery in order to accomplish this complex set of maneuvers. They didn't study, take exams or get diving certificates. They just know. They just dive. They pull their wings into the perfect formation at the perfect moment because it is what they are born to do.
So what about us human beings?
We humans are a part of the same natural world. Do we not also have a natural self that is perfectly made to do what it is made to do? I wonder why it doesn't seem that way to us ...
What is the natural (magnificent) self of a human being?
Why do I experience life as if I am motoring under my own steam, a separate entity making its way through life on willpower and acquisition instead of an integral flowing part of the natural universe, clinging to nothing?
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin" (Matthew)
Why doesn't it seem like that for us?
Why don't I experience natural me in the flow of life without the struggle?
Shouldn't all beings have the same endowments -- the ability to be perfect in relation to their surroundings without needing a PhD to do so?
Life stops if we withdraw personal effort, attention and control.
Without effort nothing happens.
We believe that we are the actors, movers and shakers of each minute of our lives. We also seem to think that we took our foot off the pedal, released the grip on the steering wheel and let go of making life happen -- our lives would slow down to an unbearable snail's pace. We think we would deflate as if we were punctured balloons.
But are we really making life happen?
Many times I've had people tell me that their greatest fear is that if they become too happy or too content, they will no longer want to do anything. Really? Without the push to achieve, to get and to do you'd would just turn into a marshmallow and stop going to work? Some think they will turn into a slug within a month or perhaps just eat and eat and eat until they explode.
In the natural world no animal ever eats itself to death.
No animal thinks it needs to be worthy.
It is interesting to consider just how much life is in motion and how much we are part of it. Despite what we may think.
Look how during your life you've often been lifted along for the ride. I question that any of us has the kind of control that our daily choices and actions imply.
In fact I've been along for the ride for every major life event I can think of, including the birth of my daughter.
When we are sick, the body knows how to heal. When we are unsure or can't make a decision, life doesn't throw up its hands in desperation and then drive off without us. It moves on and takes us with it no matter what we say or think -- decisions get made for us all the time.
I was reading some of the stories in "The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Recipes from an accidental country girl" a cookbook written by unlikely city gal who meets rural cowboy, gets married and then writes cookbooks because "Cowboys don't each sushi." A perfect life, I'd say, unfolding despite her other plans! And she wouldn't have it any other way.
What can we take from this?
How might it be helpful to us to conceive that humans too might be part of a flow that moves, contains and ultimately holds us?
It seems to me that the natural world is showing us something true about ourselves if we would listen a bit more closely.
So what would it be like to live in that flow?