We spent the last week in the Tennessee woods. During this time I re-gained a connection to the Natural World that I had felt most of the time while living in Morocco for the prior 19 months. Upon our return I was re-immersed for a few days intensely and very abruptly into the technocratic world beginning with the several hour lay-over at the Philadelphia airport on our return flight. I felt nausea and disorientation as I observed the flow of human forms moving through the terminal on the way to their destinations or pausing at one of the food and drink facilities along the way. Anyone living in the USA in a larger urban area is familiar with the fact the currently (November 2015) at least 90 out of 100 persons are occupied with their hand-held or portable digital electronic data transmitting devices when in public spaces, such as airports.
We know that our mind very easily gets disconnected from our bodies when using these devices and I viscerally felt the semi-disembodied state that many of my fellow humans were in. This sensation was not as acute but still the dominant under-tone while riding in a vehicle for hours to go almost anywhere and observing the basic frequency of the artificial life in the city of Nashville where we then resided for the next week.
In comparison, while in Morocco we generally went to the large outdoor ‘souq’ (food market) once a week. One of the main streets is dedicated on this day to the vendors and buyers at the fresh food market. It is filled on both sides with the vendors stands and booths and in the center a couple of thousand Moroccan townspeople walk while several smaller or larger trucks and vans deliver goods. Is there a lot of activity? Yes, a sea of milling people, vehicles and animals (goats, sheep, and chicken). Immersed in the tremendous aliveness with vendors shouting to attract buyers, vehicles honking to warn pedestrians, a cornucopia of colors of the fresh fruits and vegetables, of exotic fabrics and garments and the traditional ‘jellebas’ of the women in striking color combinations, I was nourished by the spirit of the Natural World that this culture exudes in every moment.
Over the decades of my life I have repeatedly experienced this ‘culture shock’ whenever I have transited from a less technocratically dominated society to one that is strongly programed to maintain the inhabitants’ dependence on ‘the system’ through technology.
Each time it makes me painfully aware of the energetic malnutrition and psychic alienation of the population which it causes. This morning I sat in my morning meditation on the front porch of the house here in one of the manicured subdivisions where I am staying for a few more days. There are thankfully several large hickories, oaks and other trees around the property. I began to hear a very small songbird sing a magnificently intricate and melodious song. I opened up to the communication this delicate creature was engaged in and what I heard was an intense and passionate appeal to us human beings on this planet to find a way to connect again to the Natural World. I got the image of how we are currently clogging our senses with the input through technology to the extent that we, from the perspective of the Creatures of Nature, appear to be almost completely deaf, dumb and blind and are stumbling around in our self-made artificial world, oblivious to the serious harm we are causing to ourselves and to our fellow creatures on this planet and beyond.
I am including in this post part of a report on a woman who died in 1982 and who lived in a deep connection with the Primordial: Anandamayi. I find these following passages particularly inspiring and enlightening. I hope they may support your contemplation.
“Mataji sat on the platform and the change that came about her person was simply astounding. Her whole body, seemed afire – but it was a fire that emitted the sweetest, the most comfortable, cool rays that you could imagine.
She shone gloriously, but did not cause any pain to our vision. To this day I have a vivid recollection of this transfiguration – and probably to the end of my days I shall have it. . . .
She called, one by one, the four or five persons who had then gathered. . . .
She had, I should say here, not yet come out and very few people had any knowledge about her. I remember Mataji called Jai Bahadur Mukherjee first. . . .
The next person to be called was myself and Mataji in a deep-toned voice said to me, ‘I know but One’. Then she launched into a mystical utterance the like of which used to gush forth from her on many an occasion in those days.
It was not possible to follow her in it, so rapid was the stream of words welling forth, but it was clearly understood that she was speaking of the Unity of all things, and I seem to remember the word diversity occurring in it.
Thus even at the beginning of my acquaintance with her. Mataji spoke of the Unity in Diversity – truth, which has been forcibly borne upon me by her utterances and conduct subsequently.
To me it seems now that unless we learn this lesson from her, we shall have learnt but little. Her conduct and conversation are all eloquent of this truth – the supreme and basic truth. To me, she seems to be a shutterless window wide open, through which you can have a glimpse of the Infinite.
She calls forth the Divine in us, lying hidden beneath untruths.
It is clear to me that even when Mataji seems to be in the ordinary wakeful state, like all people around us, she is really merged in the Universal Soul and her acts therefore are like lila, they do not proceed from any samskara, psychic traces from previous lives, nor do they create any. She is eternally free in the only real freedom – that is, in the freedom of the Infinite.”
Fortunately the author of this account includes a word which Anandamayi used and which I have crudely translated from the Devanagari script as “diversity”: Abrahma-stamba-paryantam.
This is a marvelous example of her poetic use of extreme compression, to which the Sanskrit language is peculiarly well suited. She has joined three words together in a perfect triptych. They together mean “from Brahma to the roots of the grass”, implying the unity of all that exists – animate and inanimate – in the total area of space and time.
To the materialistically inclined, no doubt Anandamayi, steeped in the bliss-generating womb of the vedi, indicates regression to the infantile state where no difference exists between subject and object. It is nothing of the sort. The infant does not transcend subject and object, for it cannot differentiate them in the first place.
The mystical adept, on the other hand, is perfectly aware of the conventional difference between subject and object; but what, in addition, he also realizes, as most of us fail to do, is that there is a larger background identity which unites them. In the infantile fusion state the baby is merely undifferentiated from the outer world; it is not a total personality integrated at all levels and united with all higher worlds.
The contrast between such reductionist confusion and the certainty with which Anandamayi speaks of her own state of mind in infancy is most striking. She went so far as to say that, from her very birth, she was aware of what she had ever been and what she would always continue to be and that there was no possibility of a deviation from her self-conscious stature for a single moment. This startling assertion does in fact neatly encapsulate the essentials of her whole spiritual stance, what in the vernacular might be termed her “signature tune”:
She claims to be herself alone, nothing more and nothing less.
“Where the distinction between the attainable and the unattainable does not arise is That Itself”
When one has become established in a state of tranquility, one has become still.
Only then, the activity of nature, which continues at every moment in sleep and in waking from birth to death, this and the thinking mind become caught in that Stream (of the substratum of Reality) and eternally remain floating in it.
Ever to keep the mind poised in the Self wide-awake in the current of Reality, where the Unfathomable, the One-without-end is ever revealed in His infinity – this must, with the intensity of a possession, be your one and constant endeavor.