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Monday, May 17, 2010

The Way of Life

(click on photographs then click again for expanded detail. Click on highlighted texts for reference information)

A fledgling on the grass is brought to the cracked corn in the yard and fed by his caretaker. Then it is left alone.

The little bird is one who survived ravens, eagles, cats and other dangers. I imagine a number of hatchlings did not survive. This one made it to May 17.

As I watched the scene seeing it left there by itself I wondered what it was thinking; clothed only in it's fluffy fledgling feathers. I am certain there was an intelligence within it and it's caregiver that is directing its future.

It's a big world now little fledgling, you've got a life to live.

Despite all the mating activity of the ducks I have yet to see one duckling in the pond, but I did see a mallard hen leading a number of ducklings down the banks toward the pond. Never saw them again. There are coons, cats and coyotes that find ducklings desirable as well as ravens and eagles do. Out the window now grackles are still chasing ravens from the pines on the far side of the pond.

Some christian teachers have said that nature is a lesson from the creator. What is the creator trying to tell us? The American mystic, Ellen White had this to say in a book titled 'Education':

"Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity. Nature testifies of God. The susceptible mind, brought in contact with the miracle and mystery of the universe, cannot but recognize the working of infinite power. Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun. An unseen hand guides the planets in their circuit of the heavens. A mysterious life pervades all nature--a life that sustains the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, that lives in the insect atom which floats in the summer breeze, that wings the flight of the swallow and feeds the young ravens which cry, that brings the bud to blossom and the flower to fruit.

The same power that upholds nature, is working also in man. The same great laws that guide alike the star and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart's action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds. Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same--a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator's will. To transgress His law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one's self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin."

Lao Tzu many years before Ellen White wrote these thoughts down on the application of the lessons of nature:

Verse 37 Tao Te Ching, Translated by Raymond B. Blakney 1955

"The Way is always still, at rest,
And yet does everything that's done.
If then the king and nobles could
Retain its potency for good,
The creatures all would be transformed.

But if, the change once made in them,
They still inclined to do their work,
I should restrain them then
By means of that unique
Original simplicity
Found in the Virgin Block,
Which brings disinterest,
With stillness in its train,
And so, an ordered world."

I know some who would say nature teaches us that life is cruel. However I don't fault the predator; what would it do if it did not eat? I know some who will say the Creator has shown us the beauty of nature and be unwilling to make further conclusions.

What I see is an entire process able to keep on working and an intelligence that guides it despite the interference of humans. The mystery is the process. I call this process God for lack of a more comprehensive description. Lao Tzu understood observations such as this as to be analogous to a correct concept of God.

God is a process I am glad to be part of. As far as I am concerned there will always be spring after winter. The sun man has depended on will turn on him. In a few billion years it will evaporate all the water on earth and eventually go out. Until then the seeds fall onto the ground and die. But they will rise, as seeds do, from the ground, to become what they are ultimately destined to be.

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A practitioner of the art of living with the intent of learning how to die without fear.