By Sanjeevi Prasad
Being with Nature Improves Understanding About Oneself
Certain questions arose when my attention turned from daily routine to being with Nature.
I would like to share my experiences with you here. Back in 2008-09, my work schedule used to be quite hectic and hence stressful. Work used to begin around 3 p.m. IST (Indian Standard Time) and went on until midnight IST and at times later too. The workload was almost always high. I started getting too fixated and obsessed with completing every task in the shortest possible duration as per my desires. Tendency to sink into depression due to fulfilled desires started increasing. A close friend with a busy schedule was often mentioning about how wonderful it feels to watch the sea, the moon, the stars and the sky. A book by Osho titled The White Lotus, which was focussed on the teachings of an ancient Zen sage Bodhidharma, came into focus from out of the blue. It had been purchased in 2007 and was also read once. A sudden impulse arose to read it again.
I started watching the moon, the stars, the sky and the lake in Shahpura, Bhopal whenever my schedule permitted. A few questions popped up while being with Nature:
- What am I doing for sunrise and sunset?
- If someone on a distant planet/star is watching through a telescope, can the person see me?
- Was I existing 100 years ago? Will I exist after 50 years from now?
- What is the age of the oldest person I have personally met? (Personal experience is the focus, not what one reads in books, articles or websites, and not what one hears from someone else)
- How many individuals I have met in person were alive 100 years ago and how many of them would be alive after 100 years from now?
The answers to the above questions were extremely simple and easy. I used to return home from office around 1 a.m. and work-related thinking used to continue even after working hours. So, I was always asleep during sunrise. Since it was peak office hours in the USA in the evening as per IST, I used to be busy at work during sunset. So, it was clear that I was not doing anything for sunrise and sunset. It is true throughout my lifetime
Astronomy has always fascinated most people and it was no different in my case as well. Even planet Earth is an insignificant dot for someone on a distant planet/star. When Earth itself is insignificant, how significant is my petty ego? Being with Nature started becoming more and more important after realising these simple facts. The power, which is taking care of sunrise, sunset, moon, stars, sky, lake, trees, birds, animals, ocean etc. is also taking care of me – This conviction made me realise that what I call as “I” is only an element of the One Infinite Universe.
The answer to question #3 was once again obvious. So, the ego self or the individual “I” (form/body and name/personality) is only temporary. To gain more conviction, we can make a list of presidents, prime ministers, kings and emperors, and check how many of them are still alive. Being with Nature thus revealed that my ego self is temporary and insignificant.
One key point that was understood later on is that it is extremely important to keep my attention and look within me while exploring the answers to the questions listed before.