How Civilizations Rise & Fall According to Their Harmony with Nature

11/16/2017 03:15 pm ET

Some years ago, I was watching an interview of a spiritual leader’s son. He was describing how his parents lived in harmony with nature—they lived in a log cabin with no electricity, walked around barefoot, and grew their own food. I mean no disrespect, but that has nothing to do with living in harmony with nature.

Modern science tells us that on the deepest level of being, everything is unified. In other words, one thing is the source of everything. On that deepest level, everything is infinitely harmonious and imbibed with the infinite intelligence and creativity that birthed the entire universe. For evidence of this harmony, all you have to do is look at a pinecone, a pineapple, or a nautilus shell. The simplicity and elegance of the Fibonacci sequence exists all around us. One doesn’t need to live off the grid to appreciate such harmony.

The human physiology, and specifically the nervous system, has the ability to traverse the full range of existence, integrating all levels of life with that source of infinite harmony. However, everyday stresses and strains in the physiology break down that integration over time. Spiritual growth is a matter of cultivating that state of integration. That integration is what it truly means to live in harmony with nature.

The possibilities of how that integration would look on the surface of life are limitless. Yet it has been the quest of philosophers, social scientists, and theologians to define precisely what living in harmony with nature looks like. The spiritual leader’s son seemed to believe that the behavioral pattern included going barefoot, living in a log cabin without power, and growing your own food. In reality, a person can live in a bustling Manhattan apartment building and be living in harmony with nature. Living in harmony with nature is a far more subtle phenomenon than people generally appreciate. It transcends stereotypes.

Expanding this to society, true social order—profound deep and lasting social order—results when all individuals are living in harmony with the depth of their being, in harmony with nature, in harmony with their own true nature. This is how great civilizations come into being, supported by the balance of Mother Nature. Codes of conduct, religious and philosophical perspectives, and viewpoints on political correctness have little to do with the source of infinite intelligence and harmony underlying a society. Though those things do have value, they are too superficial.

I remember when my older daughter was a little girl and we went to the beach. As one wave came in, I allowed it to crash up against me and knock me down. Getting back on my feet, dripping wet, I looked at my daughter and said, “Out of harmony with nature.” When the next wave came, I jumped up at the right moment, and that wave carried me effortlessly. Then I turned to my daughter and said, “In harmony with nature.” Imagine a society of people all living in harmony with nature, all being carried forward by life-supporting waves.

History has shown us many great civilizations. However, over the generations, harmony with nature was slowly lost. Their ideals ceased to be in harmony with nature and instead were fueled by selfish interest or other twisted motivations.

So what do you do about all this? How do individuals bring their society into a state of harmony with nature? Bewildering as it may be to the modern mentality, it is not about ‘doing.’ The solution lies beyond doing. The solution is to transcend doing, by being established in the source of harmony that birthed the universe and dwells at the depth of your being. As Lord Krishna told Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “Take your mind to infinity.” Arjuna, perplexed by the difficulties in his life, had wanted to know what to ‘do.’ The solution lay beyond the field of doing.

The ‘doing’ is first to understand that the solution lies beyond doing. That is very difficult for the modern mentality to accept. They are all caught up in the doing: What laws can we pass? What activist solution can we promote? What political posture can we take? All those things are superficial. The solution lies at the depth.

Only once that’s understood does it become reasonable to aspire to learn how to do that. How does one transcend the superficial world of doing? How does one find that source of infinite harmony with nature? Where does one look? The answer is quite simply: within. The technique is proper meditation. We say “proper” because most meditations succumb to the addiction to ‘doing.’ Examples of this are focusing the mind, controlling the mind, pushing out thoughts, following the breath, etc.

At the depth of our being lies the field of infinite harmony, the source of all existence. That is what the ‘kingdom of heaven dwells within’ actually means. Everything gravitates back to that, if only we would allow it. The problem is we don’t allow it. We try to ‘do’ it. That is all upside down. As Lord Krishna said to Arjuna, “Established in being, then perform action.”

So for those who insist upon viewing it as doing, let the war cry be: “Learn to meditate properly and encourage others to do the same.”

As difficult as this may be to accept, what ‘living in harmony with nature’ is on the surface has no answer. It can look like almost anything. Some people will be liberal, others will be conservative, and some will be capitalists, socialists, or even communists. Some will go barefoot, and others will buy their jewelry strictly at Tiffany’s while their limousine waits outside.

Dr. Michael Mamas is the founder of The Center of Rational Spirituality, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity through the integration of ancient spiritual wisdom with modern rational thought. From personal issues to global trends, Michael Mamas helps individuals and organizations develop a deeper understanding and more comprehensive outlook by providing a 'bridge' between the abstract and concrete, the Eastern and Western, and the ancient and modern. Dr. Mamas offers free online Surya Ram Meditation instruction. Connect with Michael Mamas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.

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