This statement – that I used to use a lot and regularly used by my ‘seeking’ friends, made me stop once again in my tracks as lately I have begun to question the commonly held spiritual beliefs handed down either through scriptures or elders and teachers or both.
I have never explored this statement and today, the last sentence of David Whyte’s poem – “Revelations must be terrible” stopped me. the poem says a lot more and no doubt the last sentence is intertwined with everything before it, however, it threw me into deep reflection.
“You could flow on without a speck/of guilt and everything/Everywhere would still be just as it should be”
Do I agree with that statement? The tumble dryer in my head started whizzing. Turn – Stop – Start – Turn – Stop…..and it was going in circles.
How can I convince myself with that statement when I see a homeless person’s anguish, or a drug addicts craving induced suffering, or parents grief over untimely deaths of their children due to stupid mistakes, or wars between countries or mindless crime, or pain induced in people over rampant unfulfilled desires that drive the loins, groins and the purses as well, minds that hold desires and uncontrollable appetites to have more, to do more and convinced that it is their right to possess, cherish or destroy at any cost, etc., etc., – is this the way ‘just as it should be?’
How can I sit on the sidelines and watch stories like young Brishan a 10 year old rape survivor who is under the threat of an honor killing, one exposed brutality amongst the many millions and think that everything is just the way it should be?
Have I no duty towards the world that I co-create in its beauty and chaos equally? Is that statement a shield that acts as a protection for my ‘self’ from the pain in the world even as I feel helpless in the face of observed cruelties?
I went for a walk with the statement again, trying not to passively accept the ‘Law of Karma’ as an answer that my anguished mind was readily willing to declare as a solution so it can avoid the pain.
“Yes, everything is just as it should be” it tried to reassure me. “Don’t you remember what Lord Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita, Not even a blade of grass moves without my will, don’t you remember that?” it asked. And then my mind continued to give me a sermon over concepts that I have fed it over the years. “They are reaping their past life karma, the victim in this life must have been the perpetrator of crime in another lifetime and the cycle continues…you see..” the superiority with which it gave me the ready made book answers was irritating.
But, I argued, what is my duty in all this? As a citizen of the world am I to just accept that theory and not act? What am I supposed to do?
I was on the main street by now, towards the Airport and a Reserve along the mighty Murray River. There were a few cars going past, perhaps to work. Sun was up, clear blue skies and crisp morning air, we are going through the last of the colds that enter in the middle of spring, determined to keep us from feeling warm and comfortable so soon. The forklift driver at the nursery and garden shop was shifting pots from inside to display out on the pavement for gardeners that will arrive soon looking to beautify their patches that give them pleasure.
Everything is just the way it should be, or is it? What does it mean?
My footsteps made the Ibis fly away from its slumber in the marsh next to the bridge over the creek. Two ducks hurriedly moved out of my way continuing to pick the unseen worms from the damp earth.
I was struggling to think that I have no role to play in the events of life other than be a silent spectator if I accepted that statement. Wouldn’t that helpless acceptance of a statement cause indifference and apathy? Am I just living day to day caught in my mundane survival oscillating between my own pain and pleasure, busy, oblivious to the world, only ‘tch tch-ing’ at the horrid images that flick past my screen for a moment or two and then quickly forgetting because there is nothing I can do so why bother? because Everything everywhere is just as it should be – right?
A brown Honey eater flew from out of the tree, swooped onto the road a few meters ahead of me and with its sharp beak picked up a flirting butterfly. The wings of the butterfly fluttered for a while as the wings of the bird carried it away with its prized catch – food, life, sustenance to one; pain and death to the other.
The earth rotates causing cycles of weather, day and night. Life follows by death follows by life – regardless of whether I question or demand or pain over its course. Human emotions too recycle don’t they, collecting and discarding – hinging their survival on the intervals of happiness between pleasure and pain? Yes, true, but, the question still lingered in my mind worried that accepting that statement will make me an apathetic and indifferent spectator of my life and in the world.
I looked ahead and there was my answer, looking back at me, standing tall, strong, unmovable and firmly grounded – a thirty plus feet tall Gum Tree.
My mind went into a scramble – “but,but, how, are you mad, but, how is it an answer?” It was incoherent even as my heart expanded in full knowing and said ‘YES’
There is the answer for ‘not why everything is just as it should be’, but for ‘what is my role in life if everything is just as it should be.’
My role like the tree is to be a witness to everything, even as I am fulfilling the duties assigned to me. A tree stands tall, firm, takes CO2 and releases Oxygen, gives shade and shelter to good and bad alike, sheds its weight without complaining even as it shines its smooth inner surface silently, unaffected, calm, grounded, witnessing everything around even as it performs its duty with complete acceptance.
I have/We all have the same capacity – to be a witness, encircled by smooth and rough events and continue to do our assigned duties with love and without complaints so our inner beauty radiates with kindness and compassion in all its splendor.
Confused..don’t you see, that is exactly what David Whyte is saying – whether I feel guilty or worry over things in my life or pain over events of the world, things continue. Everything is just the way it should be. That’s a given. My guilt and worry causes pain to me and does not alter a thing. Being aware of that and accepting the cycles of life and death and everything in between, and, doing my duty a 110% with love is the only thing I can do.
When I am a witness, my creative capacity is enhanced because I am not caught in the cycle of pain and pleasure and become immobilized. When I am creative, I find solutions for problems. If not solutions, at least I am capable of sending pure thoughts and intentions towards victims and perpetrators of crime at the same time. Even as I remove myself from the drama, I can be the strength for the others as they come to lean on that strength. I become selfless in everything I say and do.
In this witness mode and with complete acceptance of things just the way they are, the statement – “Everything Everywhere Is Just As It Should Be” helps me meet life with reverence and gratitude as a blanket of peace settles over me fr0m which rises grounded and constructive action.
Yes, Everything Everywhere Is Just As It Should Be. Do you agree or do you think otherwise? Please drop a line, would love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time
With Love and Respect