When I reread the fourth maxim as I began this post my first thought was, “Crap. This kinda doesn’t flow from the one before it.” But that’s not entirely true. Maxim IV reads, “Be plain and simple to be identical with Nature.” It’s actually a very practical next step. To be clear, these maxims don’t need to tie into the ones before. They can each stand on their own or relate to others, out of sequence. My mind just often looks for order and so my default is to notice if there’s an obvious connection, in order of appearance.
This is the shortest maxim so far. Nine words. What does it mean to you? Surely, reader, you have noticed that the last word is special. Nature, with a big N, is more than just rivers and trees and grasses in a field. Those things are all included – and no less so – but those things are just the starting point. In reality those are the grossest parts of Nature. Not unlike the kindergartner’s notepad mentioned before. If you think all there is to nature is what can be seen, what can be heard and touched, and what can make you sneeze, then you’re actually missing the biggest chunk of nature, which is Nature.
The same Center and Source within each of us is no different than Nature. If, for the sake of argument, we go back to the idea that nature is only the deer and grass and whatnot, this maxim is no less potent. Blades of grass and the deer that eats them, trees and the ants that crawl on them, wild flowers and the bees that pollinate – all are actually quite plain and simple. Each plays its role as naturally as it is able – with no ego. Flowers flower, ants ant, and grasses simply grass. There’s no confusion in Nature. Nothing invests life energy in being something it simply isn’t all for the sake of what the others will think. Additionally, each quite literally goes with the flow of Nature. Beyond some self-preservation behaviors (like fight versus flight responses) nothing in nature tried to circumvent the natural progression of Nature. And even those self-preservation behaviors are really very simple, too.
This is how we should be. No? We’d all be so much better off if we learned to be simple and plain to be identical with Nature. It could be argued that if we were truly simple and plain as Nature is, then we wouldn’t have fantastic medicines to help fight things like cancer and thereby prolong and better our life state. But is that really what happens? Many of the cancers we fight today are directly related to lifestyle choices – or choices made for the sake of lifestyle. It’s not unlike cigarettes and their relationship to stress and stress management. The cigarette itself is the root of a great number of very stressful things like money issues and health issues and social issues – so we get stressed and then what? Smoke to basically trick ourselves into feeling “real” relief from stress. I’ve personally never seen a case where the root cause of a problem is also the actual solution to the same problem.
And that’s where we are today – smoking to feel better about problems caused by smoking. This lunacy is to be found virtually everywhere in every modern human culture. We’re insane – sweeping dirt from under one rug to under the next and the whole time ignoring the fact that the rugs are on the same floor and that floor is re-dirtied in the process – and largely because we’ve abandoned our natural plainness and simplicity.
We’ve set the foundation in the prior three maxims and now we’re moving out into our day – into life. We’re to set our sights on the Goal and not rest until it’s achieved…. but what’s the first step for that? Be plain and simple and identical to Nature – the same Nature that is our Center and our Source. Isn’t this just so meta?
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti