“Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished”
Francis Bacon, Of Nature in Men
The highest and most elusive reward to life is arriving at oneself.
Or perhaps, it’s more accurate to say, returning to oneself.
As young children, before our conditioning and conscious awareness, we have all experienced the freedom of true Nature. Despite not holding many recollections of our frst years, we are given clues.
An early ‘memory’ I have (I think) is being around fve years old and being asked what I wanted to be when I was a grown up. My reply - “a house.”“Be realistic” was the constrain. “A tree” - the split response.
Despite the years to follow of getting back into a box, that little boy knew something. After many years of choosing - I now realize it was my choice despite the urge to blame others and the world - to bend my reality to the realistic, I am now happy to report that I am a house and I am a tree. But that’s cheating a little because, I am everything.
Schopenhauer cuts the crap with his proclamation that “all the world is my idea.”
All that exists and happens in this world I have constructed. Nothing ‘is’ without frst fltered and processed through my collection of patterns and values.
As our days go on, one’s Nature might take a back seat as we are charged with learning to be a person and prescribed with the realistic. As we do, this becomes framed as reality.
Let’s get this straight. Realistic and reality are not the same thing.
As an adjective, realistic is expressed or represented as being accurate.
As a noun, reality is the state of being actual and existing.
Realistic is showing, achieving, reacting.
Reality is being, existing, responding.
To make a reality of oneself may well be the Quality of existing from Nature, without the need to demonstrate sensibilities and practicalities that symbolize an allegiance to the cultural a priori and showing up as a rational person.
This runs a risk of being labeled as insane. Or, if fruits of labor ripen in public, perhaps genius.
Those are the extremes, without which what would be have a measure to invent from?
Self-actualization, letting one’s Nature free, is the potential reality for all human beings; it’s simply a choice followed by as many others that arrive.
You don’t have to be a Zen, but it helps -
“A roshi is a person who has actualized that perfect freedom which is the potentiality for all human beings. He exists freely in the fullness of his whole being. The fow of his consciousness is not the fxed repetitive patterns of our usual selfcentered consciousness, but rather arises spontaneously and naturally from the actual circumstances of the present. The results of this in terms of the quality of his life are extraordinary - buoyancy, vigor, straightforwardness, simplicity, humility, serenity, joyousness, uncanny perspicacity and unfathomable compassion. His whole being testifes to what it means to live the reality of the present.”
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind - Shunryu Suzuki
Sounds like a fve-year-old? Assuming that most reading this will have already past this milestone, we have all lived this reality already.
The trick is, making life a return.