What happens when the wild animal of our soul seeks to be heard in the world?
I often muse to myself about how different the world would be if some humans had chosen not to act, not to be stand for something , not to be accountable. In fairy tale and legend we hear the narrative of the chief protagonists in the story, forced to take action even though they were not seeking adventure, as in the case of Frodo in Lord of the Rings who just wanted to avoid trouble and stay at home in the Shire and look after his garden.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Sometimes we are handed a pup of a deal and are left with no choice . Take Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack a poor country boy, trades the family cow for a handful of magic beans, which grow into an enormous beanstalk reaching up into the clouds. Jack climbs the beanstalk and finds himself in the castle of an unfriendly giant. Pretty dam sure when Jack got up that day he wasn’t wishing for this particular set of circumstances to show up in his life.
Teaching and practicing yoga and creating a garden that welcomes all beings, whilst leading a life of quiet enjoyment and contemplation is my version of Frodo’s life. So why can’t I just be happy with my hands in the mundane soil of an everyday comfortable life and keep my head down?
What drives my wild soul to step out of the comforting world of normality to make a stand , to actively court discomfort , to attract antagonism and hostility, to walk into the wild dark woods , to take on a monumental task, when I would much rather be down in the bean rows doing the weeding ? I guess Yeat’s poem
“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” somewhat answers this.
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
“And I shall have some peace there”
What a precious gift we have been given as human beings, this paradise of life on earth and how we have abused , thrashed, eroded and contaminated this magnificent, this stunning natural world we were born into, through our thoughtlessness, our greed our lack of prudence.
To pass this gift of nature forward, our natural world , intact, in a non degraded way, surely is in the public interest, the public interest of today’s communities and the people of tomorrow . Their future quality of life, lies in our hands and is wholly dependent on each of our individual actions. Probing more deeply -I ask myself how can I continue to live a life of quiet enjoyment when I know that the way I am living will profoundly impact the quiet enjoyment of the lives of all other beings in the near future? What gives me that right?
This thought alone drives me out of my garden and into the boxing ring of peaceful activism I know I must climb that magic beanstalk and take on the unfriendly giants, for those not yet born. It feels like it is my duty, my contribution.
In yogic terms my ‘Dharma’
Much as I would like to I am incapable of stopping myself from making a stand, the wild animal of my soul seeks to be heard in the world.
To return to my opening sentence; how different the world would be if some humans had chosen not to act, not to be a stand for something , not to be accountable.
On a personal level, the quality of my life today would be very different if the suffragette movement had simply never happened I for one am very grateful to those women who made that stand.
Looking at it from the other side I ask myself;
What if we all just keep consuming, keep living as if nature was an endless resource,
didn’t give a dam about the collapsing ecological systems, air and water pollution, toxic run off from extractive industries, carbonisation of the atmosphere and acidic dying oceans .
The answer ; The degradations in the quality of life for our descendants who will curse us to eternity because we chose not to act. And what a legacy we will leave to them an impoverished dying natural world on a decaying planet no longer fit for human survival.
I think to myself it does not have to be like this . We have been given choice and we can choose a different path . To follow this path means to step away from the norm , to be the Frodo’s of the world , to court controversy and criticism and to voyage out into the wild and dangerous woods of the unknown to choose the path less traveled.
My soul , that deepest most profound wildest heartfelt part of me, calls me out, forcing the question; what does this Life want from me, want from the Life that has chosen to show up in my body?
As I write this today I am waiting to receive my first CAUTION from the police tomorrow . I am scared anxious and full of doubt , and yet in a way it has made me even more resolute. By nature I am a law abiding person and never could have predicted this happening in my life… it wasn’t as you might say on my wish list. So if any, of what I say here, resonates with you, perhaps you too might consider making a stand for the natural world , it is after all the only one we have.
And in the words of Arundathi Roy
‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’