My old colleague and friend whom I regarded as a person with a sharp intellect, and a mind that has been burdened by a lot of cultural conditioned knowledge, causing him a lot of satisfaction as well as dissatisfaction and suffering, started to listen more intensely to the song of a raven.
All nature lovers have an increased chance to bring more silence and awareness into their lives, through contact with nature. It is one of the greatest gates to life in simplicity and joy. Anyone who – like my friend – takes the precious time to listen to the mysterious song of a raven, or to admire the miraculous complexity and grace of a ladybug, is in my opinion on the way to mental recovery, on the way from madness to sanity, from life as a cripple to life as a harmonious unfolding. Such an unfolding is only possible having ordinary, clear and sane mind. And the raven as well as the ladybug can indeed teach us to empty the mind, so that it can become ordinary and silent.
Unfortunately most people still go on dismissing this claim with a derogatory gesture. That’s because their programmed monkey-mind tells them that so much else is so much more important.
Our mind and intellect are both a gift and a curse. It is a curse as long as we don’t recognize that, what is most important and essential in life, all the strength, love, joy, serenity and sanity lie in silence. And this silence can be taught by a single raven or a cat. It is so simple.
Recognizing this, the brilliant mind becomes an excellent servant instead of a ruler. And when the mind becomes our servant, life begins to unfold more harmoniously and serene. Simple joy and a lack of anxiety are hallmarks of a clear and sane mind. Not because there is no more pain, sadness, illness or challenges, but despite these.
Whether we are able to live a serene and harmonious life without tension and anxiety depends on how much importance we attach to the preoccupation with the silence of nature, or with self-inquiry, or with simply being silently aware of what is in and around us.
If we continue to give our complete trust to the brilliant yet so divided mind only, with all its contradictory suggestions, we will hardly come to discover and appreciate the value of silence. We will probably continue to live as knowledgeable, educated but cripples. Cripples because slaves of our own mind.
And how do we become slaves of our own mind? The fact is that our individual upbringing, our education, our cultural conditioning in our respective society have crippled us. Our mind has been stuffed, filled and burdened so much, that it cannot see clear and appreciate this life without constantly being disturbed by the knowledge about us and life, by all the labels, norms, rules, “important” shoulds and shouldn’ts. We drown in information, in knowledge about us and everything else, and thus both in pleasant stimuli and in worries, fears, anxieties, dissatisfaction and suffering.
In fact most of us remain cripples without even knowing it. We are proud of our own crippling, as long as we don’t see it as a crippling. We call it right behavior, right manners, right upbringing, important values and norms, important shoulds and shouldn’ts. We call it our right culture, civilization and tradition, right education and right knowledge, without being aware that all this we are so proud of, is exactly the cause of our crippling, our madness and dissatisfaction with life.
I do not want to go there and investigate to what extent some of the norms, traditions, programs, labels, values have a good core, or were born out of reasonable necessity. There are innumerable studies which show, that many of the so-called good values also have a “good” or true core, were created by sensitive persons, and made sense in respective situations at that time. Yet there are also many counter-examples that show that certain traditions and norms as well as personal characteristics, that are widely accepted and praised in our society, were brought to life out of selfish motives or through violence and struggles for power. Yet as I said, I am not interested in retracing the origins of this development and in creating theories and theses about it.
My main interest is to notice that there has been shaping, conditioning and programming, and that we, by accepting such a conditioned mind as a ruler, have stopped looking, experiencing and examining ourselves and life in a fresh way. We lost the motivation to get to know ourselves and life from moment to moment, to find out if lasting joy and clear mind are possible not because but despite the circumstances. We lost trust in simply being and silently listening to a raven, and therefore we are not able to find out for ourselves what is really true and important in this life.
We all have been programmed in this way. Regardless of age, origin, culture and so on. And as long we are not able to see the mind for what it is – a brilliant but noisy instrument, burdened with too many programs and conditions – we cannot go beyond it and experience the simplicity of a clear mind. As long as we identify with and trust in this always chattering instrument, we remain slaves to our own monkey-mind, and will continue to live in madness.
It is such an irony, that we all wish to be sane, joyful, unworried but give almost all our attention to the machine that has the power to make us so unstable, crippled and unhappy…