Cities buzz. The countryside is soothing in its solitude.
Stimulation and serenity. Both are necessary. Interaction and solitude are complements to one another, as are day and night.
Without solitude, you cannot think critically and for yourself. Without social interaction one fails to be a part of humanity, for humanity is a whole.
Thinking freely and with tolerance allows for the understanding of things that clash with your worldview. Intelligence is common. Tolerance is not. So many smart, but narrow minds. Too few unprejudiced and loving hearts without the authority to make their method common.
Humanity has mastered logical systems, but collectively we shirk at metaphor. We’d find a more peaceful and just world if only we accepted that culture —in all its diversity— is a manifestation of the core human values to strive for purpose, meaning and value.
This reminds me of Siddhartha Gautama, the boy who became the Buddha. Born into royalty, Siddhartha didn’t see the world beyond his gated palace until he was 29 years old. The world was what he was exposed to; royalty and opulence. Death, poverty and sickness were areas beyond his imagination.
Everything he saw was a perspective, not the truth. He lived in one reality when there were many more in actuality. Things exist beyond our field of vision, be they beautiful or damned.
Siddhartha grew dissatisfied with this luxurious life until he sought out the world beyond his gated palace and crossed paths with an old man, a sick man and a corpse. With desire to live completely, Siddhartha began to deprive himself of all but minimal sustenance, only to realize that living in neither harsh poverty nor luxury would lead to the knowledge he sought.
Siddhartha became the Buddha when he realized that we can free ourselves from ascribing categories simply by living wisely. This thought process awakened him with enlightenment to the true nature of reality in what came to be known as the “Middle Way” of life. Now the Buddha, Siddhartha had found the solution to human pain and suffering.
This story speaks to the anxiety of living out of balance. Perhaps the prolonged buzz of the city becomes dull in its over stimulation, and perhaps the beauty of the countryside fades when it is the only beauty ever known. Wherever you find your lot, open your mind to the lot of others. There is never one way that is the right way.
“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make sense anymore.”