What is essential to life?
This question came to the forefront over the past few days. I was able to put together a string of walks in the local metro-parks this week, on many of my favorite trails. As I walked, this question came more and more into my heart’s front. What is essential for us to thrive? How do we separate the essential wheat from the seemingly inessential chaff?
One thing became clear. The sun is essential. There is no growth in nature without sunlight. The easiest way to kill growth is to shut off their supply of sun. No sun, no synthesis. Such is the truth of terrestrial plants. As humans, we often tend to shrivel, if not perish without the warmth that the energy of the Sun provides to us. This is not to say that solitude is inessential, for even in solitude, we are often seeking the light and warmth of our inner Sun.
What else? Water is essential. A clear flowing stream supplies a pure energy to everything that it touches, and inspires growth. Growth can and does happen in muddy, stagnant waters too, but it often requires much more energy than clean, clear waters. Water is known as the great cleanser, and many of us have a natural affinity to it. It is perhaps one reason why so many human civilizations tend to be located near rivers. Abundance flows in their vicinity.
Clean air is essential. Flora and fauna thrive better in the absence of pollution. The beauty of a flower that shines in the sun by the river, would surely be lot less joyful if it were covered with soot. Humans are the same way. The less ‘pollution’ that enters our mind, the less ‘cleaning’ we may have to do on a daily basis. Our heart’s filters are constantly being clogged by the soot of fear, anger, hate, and mistrust. We could all benefit from ‘clearing the air’.
I think you get the idea. The essential ‘things’ are those that keep the mind and the heart clear, so that we can absorb, grow and thrive in the supply of life-enriching air (thoughts), water (emotions) and sunshine (light). There are many other essentials, and we often only become aware of them when we feel their absence. Can you think of a few ‘essentials’ that have gone ‘missing’ in your life lately? When life’s ‘inessentials’ start to consume much more energy than the ‘essentials’, what is the result?
One result of forgetting what is essential is ‘conflict’. This message was delivered to me during a conversation with a respected elder this week. We were talking about the origin of ‘conflict’, and she said ~ “Conflict happens when we do everything but That which is essential”. It’s often easy to get mired in the inessential, for that is often the way of the ‘world’. It takes self-discipline, discernment and focus to stay true to, and act on the essentials of the ‘inner world’. The flower blooms, the flame burns, as long as it stays connected to the essentials.
May we stay connected to That essential, and thrive,
P.S. Join our twitter community for our weekly conversation, Sunday September 23rd at 9amET / 630pm India. We will discuss the role of “essentials’ in our life, and how we can stay focused on them in our (spiritual) life. Namaste.
Life’s Essentials… Essence of Life