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Posted by Michael Finkelstein | October 16th, 2020

Escaping the Vicious Cycle of Life after Death

To “see the forest for the trees” is a familiar saying that takes on special meaning during this time of raging fires — both, on the surface of the planet and in the hearts of men. Our environment is heating up almost everywhere we look. Frankly, at least for this discussion, it doesn’t matter what the cause is. Rather, in homage to the millions of acres of forest being destroyed in this past month alone, and for the millions of lives affected by the inflammatory barrage of words thrown at us from every direction, I’d like to focus on our response and how we reconcile the obvious damage and loss of life with clarity of purpose to assure the seeds of a brighter future are well rooted.

Of course, to do that does require some appreciation for the past and present; but rather than dwell there, and risk getting mired in the mud of erosive thinking, I’d turn your attention to nature and the powerful forces that sustain it. Against all odds, the forests will regrow. That’s not to say we shouldn’t feel the pain of the losses now, or to resolve to learn the lessons that are required to prevent repetition of this depressing battle between good and evil. But, in order to survive and break free of the viscous cycle of life and death, we need a different plan than mere survival, which as it turns out, is the seed source of the competition that pits us against each other and the planet at large.

In order to change the script, we need to change the script and then behave accordingly. I believe it’s time for us to move on to the next chapter, one that not only recites prayers for life as sacred, but honestly treats it that way; working cooperatively and in the spirit of love. Indeed, this will require a different mindset, starting with curiosity about an essential assumption of our modern culture and “way of life”: What if competition is a man made “law” that is wrong at its root — a mistake, reasonably made with the limited perspective of an infantile culture; but one that doesn’t need to be made again and again. Perhaps, with that in mind, and a willingness to move beyond the limits set by such a depressing philosophy, we can evolve. At least I hope we can. Or, do more things have to burn down?

What would it take? Can we do it?

Frankly, I’m not sure if we are ready. But I am hoping that we are getting closer and that millions, if not billions of us, are ready to take the next step and behave as we must. It’s certainly not going to happen by magic or magical thinking. And, it’s definitely not going to happen by the self-serving rhetoric of politicians or the violent actions of an angry populace.

Instead, it will take a movement, founded in the faith of love, that very force that sustains the universe. Indeed, we must act in love, with peace in our hearts…and, care for all. In this case, to effectively see the forest for the trees is to believe in something far greater than our individually limited lives.

What are we doing here at this time at the edge of the apocalypse? My vote is to plant the seeds for a future where we appreciate the divinity in all beings, beginning with ourselves, moving outward in concentric circles that eventually embrace all of creation. Every seed has the potential to grow into a strong tree, but even more, a collection of seeds can become a majestic forest.

Mitakuye Oyasin,

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