You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.
True intelligence and awareness is gazing at a bee on a flower and understanding that the two are actually a single organism. In our attempt to break down the world into small, digestible chunks, we have created a misperception in the way in which we view, and articulate this view, of the world. As our ability to verbally communicate has grown over the eons so has our vocabulary to make this possible.
The human language is an addict’s rendition of classification, where we continuously divide experiences into farther and more select subsets of various types. We do this in an attempt to better understand the world. We as a species feel the more specifically we can label an experience or entity, the greater we can heighten the illusion of an isolated experience, the better we come to know that very experience.
There is no greater example of this than taking place at the nearest flower.
We view the flower in a context of certain boundaries. We see the pedal, the stem and the roots, as the flower. A flower surrounded by the environment which contains it, but we do not see the environment to be the flower, nor the flower to be the environment. There is the flower, and then there is the ground. There is the space in which the flower exists, but the flower is not the space. We see the bees pollinating from flower to flower just as modern man peruses the isles of your local grocer.
Due to the shortcomings of our language and worldview, we see the flower and the bee as two separate entities rather than parts of the same whole. And why wouldn’t we?
The flower is embedded into the earth. Immobile. Contingent upon the ground which houses it. It appears to hold none of the characteristics which we consider to be of a free, intelligent organism. We recognize that it is life, but not a life that can travel through space-time, so we call it “plant.” The bee appears quite different. We see its movement, its manifestation of will as it travels upon its own accord from flower to flower. We see it eat and drink. We see it mate. We see it fly free of constraints. A sojourner in the sky. Therein lies the greatest distinction of our recognition of the flower and bee existing as separate truths. The flower is condemned to its lot, rooted in the ground while the bee majestically wanders freely, unchained.
This is a very logical view of this nature of existence. That is, prior to the slightest introspection.
True awareness is to see the flower and the bee as one.
To see through the societal projected labels, to rid yourself of the words associated with these phenomena, and to witness their beauty sans your tainted projections of form.
The flower and the bee exist as one. The bee eats the nectar and pollen of the flower to survive. Were we to live in a world without flowers, we would live in a world without bees. Conversely, the flowers reproduce because the bees transplant pollen from other flowers to allow for pollination. This is what is known as a mutualistic relationship.
In biology, mutualism is when two organisms of different species exist cooperatively to promote the existence of one another. In other words, two entities exist together to further the existence of the whole. The greater the mutualistic relationship, the less the distinction between one another becomes. The more closely two organisms depend upon each other the harder it becomes to tell where one organism ends and the other begins.
In this sense, you could say that the human race has a mutualistic relationship with the earth, as we depend upon it for survival. Though, the earth can get along just fine without us, so perhaps our relationship has become more parasitic than mutualistic. I digress.
The crux of the matter, the $5 take-away worthy of the reader’s time, is this:
Language has created a barrier that prevents us from seeing existence as it truly is.
As a means of understanding, we have attempted to classify all of existence as specifically as possible in an effort of understanding. The paradox is that this very attempt is what drives us farthest from a clear view of the nature of things. Or shall I say, the nature of “thing.”
We can no longer say that the bees and flowers are dependent upon one another. This is inaccurate and childish attempt to understand the real world. They are each other. They exist together as one, and they are not alone. The flower cannot exist without the soil which houses it. Nor can it exist without the life giving sun, or the rain which falls from miles above the earths surface. Without any of these there would be no flower. Therefore, without any of these there would be no bee.
The bee’s existence is contingent upon the existence of the soil, the flower, the rain and the sun. Ergo, it requires the slightest leap of imagination to view these organisms as part of a larger, single organism. If something’s existence is contingent upon the existence of another entity, can we truthfully call them separate beings?
This extends far beyond the idea of bees and flowers. Consider yourself. Without water, you could not exist. Yet, when we consume water we view it as something foreign to us. Something which furthers our life, but is not our life.
Consider the ground. You could not exist without something to stand on. Without that grass beneath your feet you are free-falling into the abyss. That ground is as much you as your experiences and beliefs. In fact, even more so.
Consider the trees. Across the earth flora is converting carbon dioxide into life giving oxygen. No trees = No us. But we do not bring this into our every day view. We see ourselves as something isolated from the rest of creation, and the way in which we abuse this planet is proof of this disconnect.
When we label and classify, we lessen the relationships between phenomena. Take a look at our understanding of the human body. We say, “This is my bicep, and this is my heart.” But without the heart pumping oxygen-rich blood, or the humerus on which it hangs, there can exist no bicep. Without the digestive tract to extract nutrients from our food, we have no calcium with which to build that very humerus. Our bicep is to our gastrointestinal tract as the bees are to the flowers. They exist together, and when recognizing the forest for the trees, they appear indistinguishable from one another. Because they are. They do not exist together, because together implies they are separate phenomena joined to create a unison. They are the same.
This holds true for all phenomena. I took great effort to communicate this idea for one very simple reason. When you no longer view the world in bits and pieces, you see it in all of its beauty. When we look out the window and see a tree, we tell ourselves “That is a tree.”, and move on. We prematurely claim understanding over that phenomena, and miss out on its ineffable wonder.
We do this for all things, and it robs us of the beauty of experience. Contemplate deeply the interconnectedness of all things. Until ultimately you realize there are no “things.”