My mind wandered from the stifling focus and intensity of the Allting circle speakers.
Images of the African bush drifted into my thoughts, the omnipresent smell, the vultures always waiting, scorpions under every stone and the din of crickets and cicadas singing their territorial and mating songs every night since the beginning of time.
A tiny movement caught my eye. Crawling on the black of my leggings was a minuscule green insect. I bent down for a closer look and saw that it was like a microscopic grasshopper. At another time I might have simply ignored it or even brushed it away, but I had been opened to more perceptions and realities in the short space I had been at that place, and so chose to look closer.
I wondered if it might be aware of me as anything more than a stone or a log that it might walk on as a hill is to us. I reached out with my mind and asked it. “You are in this circle too. Have you come to tell me anything?”
There was no reply in words. However my thoughts told me what it was I needed to know. This tiny creature was not a being in isolation. I moved out the focus of my attention and saw that it was only one amongst countless billions, trillions even, of creatures all working ceaselessly, tirelessly to maintain our world. From the smallest microbe to the largest tree all organisms supported and contributed to the whole, producing the building blocks of life, consuming them, feeding itself and creating ever more complex systems and conditions.
I felt the gigantic biological machine of life on Planet Earth as it stretched away from me around the globe. I saw that it had existed for billions of years, and was seamless in its growth and perpetuation. How we as humans depend upon the service that these beings give to us in sustaining our own life, that we indeed are a part of this machine. That all life on our beautiful planet is intertwined, interdependent, and that the processes which constitute its being are a manifestation and description of the mind of God.
The biological machine is part in its turn of the greater material structure of the planet itself, which had come into being as a result of the laws and nature of material existence. My little grasshopper did not need to speak to me about the affairs of humans, for it knew nothing of our ways, but by understanding its own nature I could see its place in the world, how it functioned and contributed to the whole.
All beings exist for themselves, but also are part of something more. I felt humbled to understand how this immense carpet of life allowed me to exist. We humans are not outside of this, but perhaps we have lost our way within its intimate and intricately woven pathways.
The chattering monkeys were a noise in the background. They could bemoan their guilt, scold each other and quarrel, but if it did not help them see who they were and what they needed to be doing for the good of the Great Organism of which we are all cells, then they were doing no more than babble.
The human condition is indeed a paradox. Emerging from billions of years of evolution we are the Universe looking back at itself. But we have lost touch with the fact that we are indeed that Universe which we look at. We have become fascinated with the bizarre idea that it is all a chance occurrence which has no meaning, while every day we are confronted with miracles beyond the capacity of humans to imagine or invent. And we find ourselves at the very centre of this performance.
Shakespeare told us that all the world’s a stage. And when we look at the props and scenery which create the illusion onstage, is it more important to know how they work, their pulleys and mechanisms, or to understand why they are there and the meaning of the stories they allow to be told?
The Great Machine of Life is the scenery and mechanism of the stage, and interesting it is to know how it works, if only so that we know why not to damage it; but we can ask questions about it and understand beyond that mere mechanism. In so doing we create dimensions beyond the material plane. Involuted realms of mind where questions which cannot be answered elsewhere are explored in order to understand the purpose of the Machine. The Universe reflects on its own nature and how different perspectives and viewpoints within it can create such diverse feelings and attitudes in the beings which have them.
To reconcile the truths of our natures is surely what we are here for. An insect is an insect and will follow its nature to drink nectar, eat leaves and so on. Grass grows and gives us oxygen. But what is our nature as humans? The Master Jesus said that the birds have their nests, and the lion his den, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. He did not mean that we have nowhere to live, but that God’s creatures have their purposes, their habits but what do we have? Who are we?
copyright © 2011 Claire Rae Randall