Nature wants to show that Nature is there. By Nature here, one is not referring just to the mountains, forests, rivers, and so on. It signifies, rather, the Divine essence that is a constant manifestation that emanates from all natural objects, living and otherwise, with the allembracing grace, benevolence and power that are the hallmarks of that essence.
There is that tendency to express a godly feeling that is seen all around us and that creates in us a resonance that should come naturally to mankind. Modern life, with its apparently irresistible compulsions and complexities, and its constant temptations, acts to draw man away from this resonating tendency. We are all children of God, and we also want to be children of a world order that conspires – unfortunately too successfully – to reduce and undermine that holistic harmony of our being which is our birthright as intelligent and evolving living entities. I remember my grandmother often repeating a teaching that she had inherited from her father and uncle. She had imbibed this teaching and had made it an important part of her inner life. She used to say, “Plain living, high thinking”. I will always remember this with much gratitude.
Such constant adherence to the essentials throughout one’s life is not a meaningless obsession, fad or passing fashion. It is, rather, a set of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual attitudes and modes of living that are conducive to the growth of the manifestations of the Divine in ordinary life, and that enrich day-to-day living and the sense of peace and rightness.
I remember with much fondness a favorite science-fiction classic — Foundation and Empire by the incomparable late Isaac Asimov — that had as its anti-hero the Mule, a human, mutant male, and a commoner, who was endowed with strange mental powers. These powers were evil since he could use them to control and manipulate the emotions of huge masses of humanity settled on thousands of worlds of our Milky Way Galaxy, and thus enabled him to become the emperor of the Galaxy with awesomely frightening ease. However — and this is the real point —- the Mule, after a few years, abdicated his throne, apparently suddenly, paving the way for a return to the traditional galactic monarchy. And why did he do this?
Asimov reveals that the Mule sensed, and eventually came to deeply realise that the vast power game that he had been playing was not natural. His emotional control, that terrible weapon, did not come to him without a great deal of effort. He was tired of it, and “cherished the natural feeling too greatly” (such a beautiful concept). He spent the rest of his life in happy obscurity.
The lesson here seems that we must always sincerely endeavour to cherish the natural feeling in our everyday life, for that is the feeling for the Divine and that is what would tend to help us to see the Divine more and more clearly and wholesomely in everything. The natural feeling — that of the active principle of the Divine — works towards an essential integrity of our being, so that we do not complicate our lives with falsehood in our internal and manifest behaviour.
In this connection, I recall a colleague in a company that I once worked for as a consultant. He postponed a scheduled meeting with me since the auditors were to swoop down on his department, and he, as its somewhat anxious head, had to organize things meticulously to ensure that all information records were made transparently available for them in time to answer any query. The day after the auditors were done with him and his boys, I asked him how it had gone.
His answer still reverberates beautifully in my mind and spirit. He said, quite simply: “Not bad. I told them the truth. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.” Truly, he cherished the natural feeling.