The Natural World and the Responsibility of Freedom

The natural world is depicted as something that is outside of our own everyday reality and significance when it is anything but. As beautiful and wondrous as it is, we still are so unaware of the beauty that exists all around us in the natural world. We can learn all about it if we like. In books, from television, newspapers and magazines. That is not the same as experiencing it though.

Of course, information is everywhere. There is no fact we cannot find if we need it. The technological age has enabled us to acquire information at astounding rates. This is the age of communication. When it comes to individualism and following intuition however, I am sorry to say we are nowhere near where we should be. It is having a devastating impact on not just our own lives but on the natural world for the following reasons….

We are living in a utopia. A Garden of Eden. Things could not really be better. Planet earth is in our care while we have it and we have the freedom to do with it as we choose. Freedom. That is a word that invites a great deal of responsibility for our actions. We all want freedom but do we actually know what to do with the freedom we have been given in life?

Nobody has sat us down and said – ‘Hey guys, this is your planet. Take good care of it or else there will be consequences. There is no scolding parent chastising humanity to behave and to do the right thing. That kind of thing is left to our better judgement. We are more concerned about preserving our being in the afterlife rather than take care of the life we have in the here and now. Sound crazy? Just a little. The problem is – if we are not told what to do, will we actually do the right thing – or anything at all for that matter?

The one thing I have noticed as the years have gone by is that nobody can be bothered to do the right thing anymore. We always have to be told to act ethically and responsibly without actually feeling the need to do so ourselves. Is it always necessary to be told ‘clean this up, recycle, do this, do that?’ In our individual bid to do what we want (in other words, to have the freedom we want), would we actually ever do anything? Scary thought perhaps. If we didn’t have jobs, families and goals, would we just sit down on the sofa and watch constant reruns of ‘Everybody loves Raymond’ and eat junk food? Maybe, maybe not.

Where does interest come into all of this? It is normal to have interests and hobbies of course. The problem is – we all have to make money to survive. If your hobby doesn’t pay, you end up working in a job you don’t actually like or appreciate. Eventually, you can’t be bothered. You don’t do things right, you stop caring, you make mistakes…you just stop trying in the end. You aren’t doing what you feel you need to be doing so why bother?

Sound familiar? Perhaps the psychology of all this is very simple. If we don’t have the freedom to pursue our creative and intellectual needs, we end up stagnating. We become lazy. We stop growing. Money and the need to survive becomes the only saviour we depend on. Let’s face it – it isn’t much to look forward to. What are we actually contributing to the betterment of humanity if we are not being true to ourselves? We are part of nature, part of the earth. If we are not being true to who we are, then we are being untrue to nature…and consequently destroying the natural world.

Pretty simple when you think about it. If we believed that we could live on this earth and be ourselves, I think we would try and do more. There is an apathy within many of us that I believe stems from our inability to live a life according to our truest and deepest needs. Money comes first and life comes after. It should be life first and money as a means to an end only. Our love of having more will not create a desire to do more. In fact, it will probably encourage us to do much less than what we are already doing.

When we have everything we need, we become lazy. Apathetic. Detached perhaps from the reality of everyday life and the struggles it brings. When you are struggling to survive, you actually learn to appreciate everything you have in life and how difficult it is in fact to obtain the essentials. Food, water and shelter are actually the most fundamental of blessings and they are all we need to live on this earth in harmony with the natural world. Our conflicts come from wanting more and more. When will it ever be enough?

Having everything is still not enough for some people. There is always that constant and persistent lack that comes from within which, on a very basic level, is a blinkered view of the abundance of blessings we actually have right now. The ability to breathe, think, feel, see, walk…what else can you think of that gives you that feeling of contentment, joy and happiness? There is no material possession you can obtain outside of yourself that will give you a lasting feeling of peace and contentment. If you can buy it, you can lose it, break it, have it name it…why would you centre your entire happiness and feelings of contentment around that?

The environment of our planet reflects our emotional and mental environmental state. If we have toxic thoughts (such as anger and hatred towards others), that will have a negative effect on the world around us. There is no way we can create a harmonious external environment when the environment in our own mind is in turmoil – it just will not happen! We need to be in touch with ourselves on the very deepest levels of consciousness to ensure we are dwelling in a state of peace and equanimity. Every feeling you have, every thought and every action you take in life will influence someone else and something either in a positive or negative way.

Plants grow and flowers blossom. So do human beings…if we allow the process to happen through our continued awareness of ourselves.

© Christina McDonald 2014


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