Still Speaking About Spring?
Since I am still in the middle of the spring planting mode, and so moved by the growing energy, I can’t help but think of my feelings and thoughts about this season, and to share it with you. It is like the buildup of a magnificent symphony in celebration of life, and all creation! After so many months of barren landscape, the green of new leaves are vibrantly uplifting, while the flowers, fruits, and veggies rejoice at the possibility of being offered to Krishna! In the Jewish mystical tradition, it is said that for every flower, there is an angel telling them, “Grow, grow”! Springs speaks to me of new possibilities, of what we can become if we follow the laws of our being, in harmony with the Supreme Spirit, or Krishna.
For the last three years, I have developed a new perception, or an awareness of the power of spring, and the seasons in general. So many ideas can be academic, yet at this particular time of my life, being more in tune with Nature is a reality, or a part of me, and my journey to Krishna. It is Krishna’s Nature after all, and Krishna consciousness means to see everything and everyone in relationship to Him, as His energy, and parts. From that perspective, nothing is too small to be important. Although this may be old news to some, it never hurts to be reminded of essential truths, or to revisit our perspective, perhaps in new ways.
Still, one may ask, “What’s the big deal anyway?”
Glad you asked!
Although the world is in great difficulty, primarily from human exploitive tendencies that are ruining the environment, and causing strife and wars between different classes, races, or countries, part of the solution—in addition to spiritual awareness—is for everyone to get back to the basics of life. In our increasingly complex age, it can be a challenge to be simple, yet it is by being simple in our habits and requirements, that an inner space is opened in our heart, and deep spiritual truths can be understood.
What could be more basic and fundamental to life, than the changing seasons of the Earth, and planting food to sustain our life? Imagine adding to this the consciousness of our dependence on God, or the supernatural forces that govern the laws of Nature! The current challenge of our current materialistic civilization is to be in the mood of cooperation with Natural laws, knowing that to not do so, is to perish. The human disease is to try to dominate or change these laws for selfish, short-term gain, and artificial, inflated desires, created by our current consumer societies.
Growing up in the temperate West Coast, in San Francisco, California, I had no awareness of the meaning of the changing seasons, or deep feelings about them. I was only “in tune” with trying to survive childhood, and follow the trends of my friends. I did love to visit Golden Gate Park, but most of the trees were pine and didn’t loose their leaves, so the change of seasons wasn’t that dramatic. I also had no wise elders to teach me about our dependence on Nature, and the importance of being good stewards of the resources provided for our sustenance (or as Gandhi said, “There is enough for our need, but not for our greed).
My spiritual life was hatched across the bay from the City, in the redwood forest at Muir Woods. Here is where I felt connected to Nature for the first time in my life. I had many realizations about my smallness, and how dependent we all are on our Source. It was obvious to me how cut off modern society had become from living harmoniously and sustainably on the land, and it seemed as I looked at the sunset, or at the Bay area from the top of Mount Tamalpais, that the survival of civilization was in jeopardy.
Curiously, after I moved in the ashram, I forgot, or didn’t think about my connection to Krishna’s material Nature. I was more absorbed in the Source of Nature, or Krishna’s original spiritual form, as revealed in the Gita and Bhagavatam. Certainly we are most interested in remembering Krishna’s spiritual form, hearing His spiritual activities, and developing a loving relationship with Him, etc., yet it is also true that Krishna’s energy and He are as much one with Him, as He's different.
Krishna consciousness means to see Krishna always, and within everything, and everyone. In those early days of the Hare Krishna movement, we often took thing to extremes, so we thought it maya (illusion) to be too concerned with the World, and many considered it an unnecessary attachment to spend time in Nature. We were given by Prabhupada the important task of spreading Krishna consciousness—which was good for us and for others. Certainly I can see the merit of those focused days, however narrow they were in some ways. I know now that one can be absorbed in serving and remembering Krishna anywhere. In my experience, country living helps one to be calm, not rushed, and introspective, which comes from living in the mode of goodness. Living and acting in the quality of goodness, is considered so favorable for spiritual practice. This fact is one of the points of this blog.
I remember frequenting the valley redwood forest below my camp on higher ground at Bootjack Camp. It was so beautiful, yet many tourists came, and the park was set up for them, with fancy paths, and many trees and plants with nameplates in front of them to identify their species. I pondered if just naming something means anyone actually understood the marvel of life, or the laws that govern it. Seeing the visitors in the mood of visiting a museum, really struck me. I knew this was no museum on display for the casual observer to while away the time. Such a park is a testimony to the wonder, beauty, and importance of Nature, reminding us how human beings have destroyed so much of it, in the name of material progress. Whether the Gulf oil spill, or the nuclear accident in Japan, the problem isn't merely improper safety precautions, but human beings out of touch with Nature, and God.
To end, I will leave you with a question. What is your relationship to your environment, and how are you helping preserve it for future generations? Many of us are so busy earning a living that we don’t feel we have to luxury to think of such things as how our life is affecting our environment, or if our company is adding to the long term poor health of the planet. In everything we do we have think long term. Though we don’t have to become neurotic, we can do small things that make a long term difference. Additionally we can work with others to increase the awareness of working in harmony with Krishna’s laws of Nature, for everyone’s benefit. The idea of considering the effects of what we do on the seventh generation from now, is a good one, often attributed to Native Americans.