“There are two mistakes one can make along the journey to truth... not starting, and not going all the way.”


Monday, February 22, 2016

The Path Less Traveled

Things that occur in nature, that occur naturally, have a wide degree of variation. No two things are ever the same. However, fake things, manufactured objects, tend to be extremely similar. In fact, they are almost exactly the same.

Think of a piece of fruit versus a cracker. The cracker is basically identical to every other cracker in the package. It is pretty much impossible to notice any difference in taste or aesthetic appearance. 

However, if you take a piece of fruit, like a granny smith apple for instance, that apple is unlike any other that has ever existed. It has a unique shape, flavor, and texture. Other granny smith apples may be similar, but you can always tell the difference. Some are better than others. Some taste sweeter, others more sour. Some are more spherical, other more oblong. 

This is because natural occurrences always have a larger degree of variability. Nature does not favor the production of monotonous and generic objects, but rather favors uniqueness, variability, and change. And this leads to forced adaptation and evolution within a species and and an ecosystem at large.

You can also apply this principle to the human experience. The vast majority of individuals experience quite a generic life. They never get too high nor too low. They sort of dwell in this numb state of low-level anxiety and boredom. There is not much variation in their lives and their experience is quite routine, stagnant and predictable. Their lives are “manufactured” in a sense by the larger societal machine of which they are a part. 

For most, if not all, of the general population however, this was not an experience they consciously chose but rather one that they unconsciously fell into based on the structure of the society into which they were born. And because of this, their evolution as a human being and as a spiritual being is greatly curtailed.

However, take the life of a more “natural” human being. A member of an indigenous tribe for example. This individual will likely have an experience that varies greatly on a day to day basis. At times, maybe there is a great abundance of food. Their survival is not under threat and they are living joyfully and prosperously. However, this experience can change on a dime. 

Perhaps suddenly their food supply dwindles and they must venture out in search of nourishment, lest they starve to death. Then suddenly they encounter a ferocious predator on their quest and their experience takes a turn for the worse. Not only are they hungry and weakened, but now there is a vicious beast threatening to take their very life.

Adrenaline surges through their veins and a flood of cortisol puts their system on high alert. They quickly take hold of their spear in preparation to defend themselves. The beast lunges forth and the tribesman quickly dives out of the way. However, the animal gets a good swipe in with it’s claw and gives the man a gaping wound. 

The injury is hardly noticed however as he jumps back up onto his feet and swiftly darts toward the creature with his spear held high in hand. Before the beast has time to react, the blade lurches forward and is thrust deep into it’s skull. This time, the warrior is victorious and will live to see another day. Yet you can hardly describe his life as ordinary or monotonous. Tens of thousands of years ago however, this natural human experience would have been the norm.

So as you can see, there is a high degree of difference between what you could deem the natural human experience and the generic one. The generic one may be safe and comfortable in a sense, but it lacks the intensity and excitement that is ever-present in a more natural and spontaneous way of life. Sure, this unbridled and starkly authentic way of living may be risky and even dangerous at times, but the payoff is a life fully lived, a life of feeling truly alive, not to mention a great deal of expansion and evolution.

The other option is to settle into complacency and mediocrity and cease to move towards your greatest potential. Even if you have a lot of valuable or luxurious things to call your own, if something doesn’t add more life and vitality to your experience, then it’s attainment is really quite meaningless.

So ultimately, the choice is yours. You can come more and more alive each day or become more and more deadened to life. You can live with spontaneity and veracity or you can fall into a humdrum routine of the same-old crap. And as Robert Frost so poignantly stated in his poem The Road Not Taken “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that made all the difference.”

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