Nature has always served us, humans, as great teachers. It can help us to develop personally. How else? We are part of nature. Whether in bionics (technologies adapted from nature), astrological navigation, or philosophical questions about life. Already Leonardo da Vinci observed birds flying until he was convinced that he could build a flying object by himself. Likewise, numerous spiritual and philosophical teachers, such as Siddharta Gautama, have seen truth and insights while spending long periods of time in nature far away from civilization. There are countless examples in the history of humanity. We still learn a lot from nature today. Even though we might not always be aware.
Growing up with my horse, caring for newborns and their mothers as a nurse, hiking in the Himalayas, or spending weekends in the hot springs by the river in northern Thailand have certainly had a more lasting effect on my evolving than most school lessons.
“Nature is a single unit as conceived but is dissimilar in its various manifestations. It is the principal model from which every conscious being can draw examples in order to elevate their own free and independent personality.”
We are all equal in our general functioning and strive for the same inner peace. However, the development of each individual can vary greatly depending on history and life experiences. Even though we have evolved, we are and remain part of nature, part of the natural ecosystem. Even though our instincts and intuition have been replaced by new technologies over the last century, we remain living beings like our ancestors. We are biological organisms that function according to certain physiological, psychological, and biochemical processes.
In general, the development of an individual from its creation to death follows the same principle. In individual cases, however, there can be remarkable differences due to various factors. While observing nature around us, obvious parallels between humans and our ecosystem can be seen. In every plant and every other living organism, there are individual differences, depending on the external conditions of life. Thus, a plant sprout grows, flowers, and reproduces in the same way as any other of its specimens. However, depending on circumstances such as crossing, location, weather conditions, and pollination by insects, the result in the form of fruits can be very healthy and full-bodied or ill and very weak.
This is also the case with a herd of horses, for example. The origin, birth, and growing up follow the same biological principle. As well as illness and death. But individually in each case, each horse can differ greatly. One is stronger, tougher, and may even dominate the whole herd after the hierarchy has been fought for. Another may be much weaker and therefore might even lose fights for food and fall ill. In between, there are again several greyscales and deviations.
So we humans are equal at the core of our being. We should not differ by politics, religion, or culture. At least this is the ideal conception, which unfortunately does not correspond to reality in many parts of the world. At the same time, however, we can be very different and individual case by case. In addition, our ability to think and remember differs significantly compared to animals. Because of the cerebral cortex with a higher number of nerve cells and more surface area due to increased folds and furrows, humans are able to recognize causal connections and act according to ethical-moral principles. Self-reflection, anticipation, and self-determination distinguish humans from their related primates. Depending on the conflicts, problems, and dramas to which we have been exposed, challenges in everyday life can be perceived quite differently.
For some people, the corona pandemic, for example, is a chance to reflect on their own lives, to learn new skills for which there is otherwise no time, or even simply to spend more time with their family and themselves. For others, this time can mean a lot of anxiety and sorrows in regard to financial problems or health issues. Or perhaps emotionally if someone has to find a way in an unhealthy, violent relationship for weeks in lockdown. I’m sure we all could imagine more and more examples here.
There are certainly studies about the psychological and physical influences that a pandemic like this has on a person. In the individual, however, this can vary greatly. Depending on how we are emotionally, physically, and mentally positioned. Which living conditions and which resources we have. And how we thereby reflect ourselves and further develop as emancipated beings.
In summary, we respond differently to life events, challenges, and things that are said, heard, or done, even though we are generally the same as humans. The reaction of another person may not always be understandable. But it should be taken seriously and it should be accepted. You can never know exactly what has shaped a person in their past and why they have become the person they are today.
I believe that we are all on our own path. That we can learn from every event and that we can give meaning to even the darkest times in our lives. Because only in this way we can grow and develop. Life is full of challenges that shape us and make us the person we are today. You might know the saying, that “Getting lost is never a waste of time.”
When dealing with other people, we should always keep in mind that we all have a different life story and therefore may not be able to judge the actions of an individual. So it may be that a certain method helps me to develop personally or to deal with emotional wounds, but exactly the same method can have no particular effect on another person. We are all at different points.
Even though a conscious and healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, proper sleep, sports, meditation, and social life, in general, is beneficial to the mental, physical and spiritual health of everyone, the respective expression of these things may vary in individual cases. One person regularly goes to the gym, the next has discovered yoga for himself or herself, and the next to find balance in dancing, jogging, or swimming. Also in nutrition or other things. We all know numerous views on which diet is “the right one” or which method of meditation is most effective. The opinions differ widely think in the end everybody has to find out for oneself and stay open to new things. You cannot tell anyone else the right way for him or her. As long as you don’t hurt yourself or others, everything is fine.
A change can only come from yourself and only you know deep inside yourself what is right for you. Unsolicited advice usually meets with contradiction. Only when someone opens himself and wants to learn from the experiences of others, there is a basis for a lasting change. As an old Buddhist saying says: “When the student is ready, the teacher comes automatically.”
‘Deep listening, critical thinking and wise speaking’1 enables us to understand other people’s problems and to respect their individuality. This is the only way to create a good basis for solving problems sustainably and enabling a trustworthy space. We should always maintain our empathy and not forget that we all have our ups and downs. We all encounter life’s lessons and challenges again and again. Every single one of us!
And we are all on our own path.
Erdmann, Daniel – World Mediation Organization Training Content 2020 – www.worldmediation.org