Article - Laura Knight-Jadczyk
My perceptions had certainly changed, but I was not really able to say how or why. All kinds of thoughts and realizations about reality were shaping themselves in my mind, but as usual, I was keeping it to myself to observe and ponder it before I attempted to explain it to anyone. The first concrete manifestation of this awakening was right after we returned from the conference and I drove to the high school to pick up my daughter as I did every day. I was sitting there in the parking lot watching all the kids pouring out of the different doors of the building onto the schoolyard. There were kids who were racing to their cars or to their buses, and there were many others who were milling about, congregating in their little groups and cliques. I couldn't hear anything anyone was saying since I was observing from a distance, but I could most definitely see certain dynamics -something like a "pecking order" - playing out before my eyes.
Each group consisted of about seven or eight people - maybe as many as ten. In each group there was a dominant person who was the focal point of the gathering. Watching the eye contact, the touching, the fawning behavior of the "low man" in the group, was a fascinating study. And as I watched, I noticed something else: the dominant person actually seemed to "swell" and grow while the submissive persons gathered around him literally seemed to shrink. Of course, this was a trick of posture and the way they were all holding their bodies. But it was definitely clear that there was a form of "feeding" taking place. And when the submissive persons ran out of "juice," they were dismissed to the outer fringes of the circle and a new submissive moved in to take their place. The eye contact and touching went through the same series of gestures, and the dominant person stood taller and taller, and his or her eyes opened wider and glowed brighter, while the submissives were diminished one by one, shoulders slumped, and they often crept away.
I found myself actually holding my breath as I watched this amazing display. Of course I thought of Jane Goodall and her years of observation of chimpanzees, and I knew I wasn't thinking anything terribly original here. The big difference was that I was seeing it not just in terms of psychological dynamics, but an actual energy transfer - the Theological Reality. It was this theological reality that had suddenly been opened to my perception as though I had withdrawn into space and was viewing it "from a distance."
As human beings, it seems that an essential part of our nature is to feel that there is more to life than the immediately apparent material world. This is the aspect of our make-up that is played upon by religions and philosophies. The different explanations for what is "more" than the material world are what divides us into groups, and separates us one from another. Most of these religions and philosophies tell us how special we are and promise great things if we will believe this or that teaching, follow this or that teacher, or perform a certain set of "salvific" activities. What is most apparent when we examine such teachings is the fact that we don't like to think that our lives are a "game of chance" played by the gods. Yet, at this moment, after all of the study and experiences of my life, most especially in light of the explanations offered by the C's on the many and almost endless occasions when the standard teachings collapsed in the face of the hard evidence, I realized with startling clarity that heartless randomness of the world is at odds with the religious views of a loving, caring God. It was as though suddenly, my perspective was no longer that of a human being, immersed in the reality, unable to see the forest for the trees.
All around us in the natural world there are wonders and horrors. On almost every corner of the planet, from the highest mountains to the lowest valleys, from the hottest to the coldest climates, above the oceans and within them, there are populations of interdependent plants and animals. Most of the time this term "interdependence" really means that they "eat" one another.
I thought about the garden behind my house. There are birds and lizards, insects and plants of all sorts. The lizards eat many insects and they are, in turn, eaten by the birds or the cat, who also eats the birds if she gets a chance. There are roses - beautiful but deadly - which grow in soil composed partly of plant detritus -dead plant matter - converted by earthworms into usable nutrients. There are also grubs and mole crickets that seem to do nothing but destroy what I work so hard to produce and maintain. In the evenings, the bats and mosquitoes both come out in force, the former preying on the latter (thankfully), and the night blooming jasmine opens to feed a particular species of night moth that delights in its nectar.
There is spring, when I spend eight hours a day "getting the garden" in shape; there is summer, when I relax and watch my efforts grow and blossom; there is fall when I pull up the dead annuals and prune the overgrowth; and there is winter when everything rests and builds strength to burst forth the following spring, to initiate a new cycle; cycles within cycles; birth, growth, maturity, reproduction, decline and death; to everything there is a season.
Now, imagine that you are observing the Earth with a high-powered telescope from a point out in space. This telescope gives you detailed close-ups of any point on the planet, but you cannot hear anything. You can only SEE. Forget everything you think you know about the "principles of biological life" or psychology. Forget that you think you know anything about what living things are or how they are "supposed" to behave. Now, what do you see?
The first thing you notice is that the surface of the planet is teeming with activity. This includes areas under the soil and deep within the ocean. The activity on the surface of the planet consists of an immense number of different shapes and sizes of "living things" going about in circles EATING each other!
Further, you notice that there is a whole class of these living things that are, essentially, immobile; incapable of escaping being eaten. In fact, they don't seem to object being eaten at all. Maybe if they COULD run away, they would, but they can't, so it may only seem that they don't object. But, the fact of the matter is that these immobile beings, (call them "plants") use this fact of being eaten to their advantage. By being eaten, they are often able to propagate themselves in far distant places that they would otherwise be unable to populate on their own.
However, all the other living things clearly resent being eaten. They very often make strenuous efforts to NOT be eaten.
I began to see a certain pattern emerging: the variations of biological systems have to do with whether or not, under specific and ever-changing conditions, one variety of creature can survive the competition in the terrifying planetary game of life and death. It was clear that danger is omnipresent and only the most vigorous and adaptable survive.
I also saw that there was a sort of balance. Many of the creatures that are most often considered "prey" are equipped with elaborate sensing organs that help them to stay out of harms' way. Many of the creatures that are the predators have horrifyingly efficient organs of destruction such as teeth and claws. If predators became too numerous, they quickly devoured all but the cleverest of prey, and then turned on each other. In this way, both populations were "culled." And what I also was seeing was that populations that existed in herds, where there was sharing and protection of weaker members by stronger ones, there was a far better chance of survival in the presence of voracious predation.
I realized with absolute horror that this was exactly the case with human beings, though it occurred at a different level - humans were an interface between the strictly material and ethereal realms, and it was through them that the energies of prey and predator manifested at the Theological level. From the strictly human perspective, such a realization was monstrous. The psychological and spiritual environment in which we live is the infrastructure of the Theological reality which is accurately represented in the wild world in which animals live out similar dramas. "As Above, so Below," the ancient teachings have repeated for Millennia, and I realized that this was part of what they intended to convey. When they tell us that the Great Secret can be learned from Nature, they weren't kidding!
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