If you’ve ever spent a couple of weeks or more in solitude in the Natural World, you know more about reality than any scholar who’s spent his entire life studying politics.
What do birds know of reality? Building a nest, caring for their young, and finding sufficient food to stay alive. Compare that to your life, to what you’re witnessing in the news, and to what you see going on in the human world around you. If you don’t start laughing, or crying, it might be that you’re forever lost.
Deer, bears, birds, snakes, worms and ants know more about what’s important than the average Harvard or Yale graduate. Woodland creatures don’t bother themselves with a life of the mind or even care much about upward mobility or buying the right stock or what car to buy when the new models come out. They’re simple creatures with simple needs and you’ll never find one of them jockeying for position in the supermarket parking lot.
If that analogy isn’t good enough for you then let’s look to the human realm, Native Americans. Native tribes were almost entirely devoid of homelessness. Everyone in the tribe held nearly equal importance. While they did wage war with one another, their wars were never the sort where one tribe sought to annihilate the other. Many times it was just simply a balancing of numbers, adding to the tribe, or a feud over a breech of sacred grounds for hunting or prayer. It wasn’t until White Contact that their form of warfare resembled ours in any way. In some cases, like with the Chumash in California, war consisted only of sending up a flurry of arrows into the sky until one person was killed or injured. For them, that was enough. No need to destroy, humiliate, or commit genocide against the enemy. A simple exercise of strength was satisfactory.
So, in between breaks from the ramblings of Fox News and CNN and the endless parade of fools and fops (it’s all just deflection from the horrible state of our union anyway to the tune of 17 trillion), I hope you’ll stop for a minute, or a week, or a month, or a year; put aside the silly busy-ness of our crazed “civilization” and listen to a bird sing, watch the moon rise, breathe deeply, and remember what peace may be found in silence.
I believe that it’s only by stopping absolutely everything and listening again to our inner voice that we can accomplish our search for serenity. This works twofold, one, in bringing us back into ourselves, and two, by becoming quiet within ourselves we’ll be reminded what a lot of noise and nonsense we’re surrounded by. And in doing this we may once again know what needs to be done to give this gift of serenity to one another again.
– Phil Wikel, June 5, 2014