The Way of Nature and the Way of Spirit
There is a popular thought that the path of nature and the path of spirit are one and the same; that if we follow the natural ways of life, we will be on the right track towards the divine. I have also seen similar things mentioned in some ancient texts, though without clarification about its meaning, which probably contributed to how this is thought about today. Even though the way of nature is ‘overseen’ by the way of spirit, the way of spirit is different than the way of nature.
When some ancient sacred texts are suggesting to follow the way of nature, this often time refers to balance that is integral part of nature and the laws that are governing it. In esoteric teachings it is explained that there is a divine intelligence behind design of the Universe, and that laws have been put in place so that it functions well. The law relating to harmony and balance is very prominent in this regards, as well as the law of evolution and devolution.
Everything in nature has a balance integrated in it. If a soul due to its development goes out of that balance, it eventually returns back to it because of the law of cause and effect, which is another important law in nature. So balance and harmony are important principles in existence through which we understand that they give us inner state and a way of life that is in accordance with a higher law, and as such it is in accordance with divinity. In this context then, nature, and us as part of it, is imbued with various divine principles, and is mirroring the Macro Cosmos on a smaller scale. But nature as the mirror of the divinity and nature as the way of life is not exactly the same thing. If we would follow the ways of nature, if we would imitate it in order to try and reach divinity, we would not succeed.
Nature has its purpose through which we learn and eventually try and get back to our source of origin, but as mentioned above it is governed by laws that, if we imitate them in our lives, will not allow us to develop spiritually. One of the laws that I mentioned is that of evolution and devolution. This means that everything develops up to a certain point, and then it starts decaying. Also, it is in nature’s interest to keep its creatures bound to it, and it has achieved this through psychological mechanism that is programmed inside each of its creatures, in different scales of complexity. This inner mechanism ensures the survival and continuation of the species, which is in nature’s best interest, and it is this that is the main theme behind the path of nature.
So even though nature containts reflection of divine principles and therefore balance and harmony, it is also the foundation of duality – the school of life through which a soul can experience hardship, pleasure, pain, joy, attachment and suffering – the experiences that shape the soul and help her grow and realize her own potential through self-realization of her Real Being.
Humans are the highest specie on this planet (that are bound by the law of evolution and involution) and as such have divine spark within that is stronger than in any other creature. This helped us to go beyond the full submission to instinctive living so that we could develop a higher form of life. One of the examples of this is the concept of marriage – a dedication and faithfulness between two beings in order to cooperate through life and bring forth offspring. This life long relationship between only two partners and settlement with small amount of children is not in nature’s best interest, which is why the installed mechanism that rules person’s psychology in this case creates intolerance, satiation, and ultimately lusting for other people, so that more of the specie is generated.
In esoteric teachings it is described that evolution of souls starts in mineral kingdom, and then continues through plant, animal, and human kingdom, and after the one hundred and eight human lives have run out, the devolution starts in order to complete a cycle and to start a new one. In order to make a step from the state of human to that of divine being and thus to liberate ourselves from the cycles of evolution and devolution, a revolution is required, and that is the revolution of consciousness;the conscious inner work on ourselves through which we can reach the self-realization of the Being and become divine beings.
In order to become a divine being, one should thread the path of spirit; one should learn from principles that are etched in nature and Universe, but should follow the path that will lead them out of it. When one completes the path of spirit (of becoming a divine being), he or she is liberated from nature and from the Universe, and it is said that one can then return back to the point of origin, also known as the Absolute; the Source of all life. Or they can stay in Creation as fully awakened beings with freedom and happiness.
So it is important to distinguish between the way of nature, being close to nature, and the way of spirit. We can walk on the path to awakening and at the same time draw great benefits from spending time or living in nature and receiving its beauty, harmonious energies and impressions that inspire us and lift our spirits high. And paradoxically, the more that we remove and free ourselves from the nature’s program that is inside of us, the more we learn about the nature of reality that is imbued in nature and also deeper we see in it and recognize beauty, harmony, and divinity in action. The more we remove the nature’s program within us, the more we become one with nature and the whole of life, and ultimately with our Being.
HDP, December 2019.