It seems obvious that nature, in its many forms, has an inherit ability to survive. An example of this is forests after fires. The forest, if left alone, recovers. Perhaps not in a small amount of clock time to us, but in years, decades, and centuries it often becomes as lush as it was previously.
The soil upon which the new growth occurs is actually nourished somewhat by the devastation that came before; the rotting wood and the ash. Then, eventually, entire ecosystems develop. Uncanny.
To consider this brings two questions:
- What is powering such a transformation, and
- How is such a magnificent amount of transformation occurring without any complaining?
I may be curious about the second question because I work more with people than nature, and people are notoriously problematic; we complain a lot. However let’s address these questions in order.
If you can imaging measuring the amount of energy it would take for such a transformation it would be immense So the question really is, where can this immense energy come from? Does it come from the waste left after the fire? No, that doesn’t sound quite right. Perhaps it is the surrounding areas that just grow inward? No, that cannot be completely what happens either. Besides, now we are in a bit of a circle that even if we identify that the growth came to be from a combination of the above and several other factors; it still begs the question how were the other factors driven?
Now, let’s reflect on our own experience to notice 2 things that become obvious to us observing nature throughout its inherit struggle.
- It does not suffer, and
- It adapts amazingly
It makes sense to define the difference, at least for these purposes, between suffering and struggling. When referring to suffering it is intended to mean the optional choice to be miserable. When referring to struggling it is intended to mean the unemotional response to the difficulties of a situation.
The difference can be examined by the response when one fails to meet a goal.
If the person’s decision to continue comes from presence, then they are merely struggling.
If, after failing, someone begins to repeat a common thought pattern like, “This is terrible. I am better than this. Who needs this, not me I will tell you that right now…” then that person is not only struggling but has also invited suffering.
It should seem obvious now that with these meanings that nature struggles but does not suffer. It cannot suffer because it has no ego. It cannot survive without struggling because of impermanence. The states of movement and change are as constant and intense as they are unpredictable.
As conditions are constantly changing nature faces quite a challenge; a challenge for its survival. Yet, despite the incredible stakes, proceeding or not is no decision point to nature and it adapts and continues without suffering, even when faced with dying.