Transcendentalism in 2012: Finding Answers in Nature

July 22, 2012
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Sitting in my unkempt backyard for the first time in what seemed like ages, I pondered over the subtle events occurring around me- from the radiant-colored birds chirping melodies to the hard-working ants scurrying in search of food, to the flies buzzing around avoiding my annoyed hand. I was simply amazed by the liveliness, the vitality with which each organism did its duty. It’s not like I haven’t been outside. I play sports year-round, but this was different. Staying sessile, and freeing the mind of worldly, societal thoughts brought upon a whole new world: the world of nature. Instead of listening to the drums violently beating away on my iPod, I listened to the soothing sound of a stream nearby. Instead of feeling the artificial air of a fan, I felt the breeze blowing cool, crisp air across my face. Instead of staring at my computer, surfing the web, I enjoyably saw two squirrels chasing each other around a tree trunk.

All of the animals seemed to have a purpose - a reason why they were working so diligently, a goal that they wanted to achieve. I thought to myself, “Who am I? Am I the lost bird flying in search of family? Or am I the little critter frantically avoiding being crushed into an insignificant mark on the sidewalk? Am I the chicken about to be roasted for someone's delight?” I decided to find out. The transcendentalist way.

The sun was rapidly fading away as I went into a forest surrounding my backyard. There were no light switches, no heaters, no hot chocolate to alleviate my uncomfortableness as I walked deeper into the forest. I found a good place to start my meditation, a fairly flat ground layered with what I thought was dolomite rock.

Closed eyes, proper posture, open mind.

Through my closed eyes I saw swirls of yellow dots on the sides of my eyes. I saw the night encroach upon the forest, as the bare light that had permeated through my eyes diminished. I saw, or felt rather, the bug that was tickling me on my forehead. I then just sat there thinking about myself. As I opened my eyes, I saw grey crystals all over the place. And then, pitch black. Done, I was. I ran out of the forest thinking: so who am I?

I think I finally found the answer. I'm not sure if the answer came from my journey, or that I had known it all along. It didn't matter. Just as a tree is just a minute part of a forest, I am a negligible part of society. However, it is this fact that gives me the will, the focus to achieve more. The lost bird learns to live a life in peace and quiet. The little critter finds a hole and slips into it until the crowd passes. The chicken dies a wise death. And me — I intend to do all of the above.

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