Last year I got overwhelmed by the feeling, that although it seems like I get more knowledgeable (with my university degree, watching all the news, following social media etc). I actually go astray from my natural state of being. I became aware of a feeling of disconnection with nature. And that’s when it hit me: I was born a conscious human but had changed into an automaton. Because yes, I know a lot about economics, business administration, political -, social -, and legal systems, but what do I actually know? These are all subjects we have invented ourselves as mankind. Furthermore it is all virtual reality, not real at all. It has become our day-to-day life and thus we believe it is real. We give it names like education, economics, countries, but actually it is non-existent. Hard to believe maybe, but it is. It is as virtual as all the games or social media my kids engage in these days….I’m no better than my kids, actually I’m even worse, because I teach them that my life is ‘real’. And in fact I’m just an automaton, going through life unconnected, unappreciated, numbed. (Check out this confrontational video: ‘the lie we live‘).
Disconnection with nature
When I walk in nature I don’t recognize which type of bird is singing its tune. And I cannot determine herbs or plants, let alone know its healing and caring abilities, what can and cannot be eaten. I calm myself with the idea I still do know what a broccoli, a zucchini or egg-plant looks like. But I must confess I don’t always know if it comes from under the ground, grows on trees or bushes. I recognize vegetables like parsnip (Dutch: pastinaak) in stores, but I have no clue how to prepare it in a dish. And lately I read articles that children these days don’t distinct a broccoli from a cauliflower anymore. And I have to admit with all these convenience products in our stores and our homes, that is not strange at all. As we are getting more and more disconnected with nature, that is exactly what we pass onto our children. We can laugh at them and blame them for being dumb, ignorant or self-centered. But they are just a reflection in the mirror from ourselves. So, is this the path I want to walk?
Other signs of getting astray
As a child I could remember series of telephone numbers and I knew many addresses and postal codes by heart. I bet I would have been able to remember all the different passwords or bank account numbers I have nowadays. However as I rely heavily on technology these days, my ability to remember has diminished.
Knowing many people who suffer from any form of amnesia, I always considered myself a very good sleeper. Once I put my head on my pillow I sort of fell in a coma and hardly anything could wake me up. But what if the alarm clock wakes you up after a good night’s sleep and you still feel tired. Is it a sign? I can tell you it was a sign, but I didn’t recognize it at that time. Too much believing my own conviction I was a good-sleeper.
My physical condition as a kid was as it should be. I was able to run long distances and I could sprint and we called it playing. My body would recover instantly. I wasn’t the fastest though as I had a neighbor Chima Onyeike and nobody could beat him in running or any other sports for that matter. But than virtual reality kicked in and I started spending time in school banks, offices, train, cars and the couch in my home. Instead of an active-and-playful life my sitting-and grown-up-life had begun. And my vitality and well-being made a huge plunge… Luckily I realized at one point my physical condition was a real disaster. So I rebuild it again and I try to exercise at least an hour a day ranging from walking, running, strength training, yoga, tennis whatever. It is shocking that I often get the feedback ‘to not overdo it’, mainly referring to the daily part of the exercise. As if with 40+ you’re not able to exercise an hour a day anymore, just 60 to 90 minutes. What happened here? However fact is, it is more acceptable to post the latest series on social media and express that your have been couch surfing or binge watching on Netflix!
Our perception on food has changed a lot as well over time. We went from scarcity to indulging ourselves in abundance, we went from nutrient rich meals to low-fat/high calorie meals, we went from biological regional ingredients to processed and pre-packed food. Food must always taste good and we make festivities out of a meal. That’s not always bad. Sharing your meal with family is a precious gift. However a Christmas-dinner has become 3 Christmas-dinners in a row and sometimes even a Christmas lunch. Next to Christmas we have Thanksgiving-dinners, Eastern-dinners, Valentine-dinners. Family time has shifted to abundance and that’s were my resistance comes in. But I used to organize all these festivities myself, so I it’s not about blaming anyone.
Wasted due to disconnection with nature
Due to this abundance and the disconnection of nature I didn’t realize anymore food (plant or animal) is a living creature. We take it for granted as it lays in abundance on the shelves in our supermarkets, but we don’t realize the energy nature has put into growing and flowering these creatures. Industrializing our food production alienates us even more. We feel that we are the producers of our food instead of appreciating it as a product of nature. At least I do.
The same goes for other industries. Much more appreciation I can feel for the work by a craftsman; I can see their skills, their dedication, their focus, their energy to create. I can relate to it, no matter if I like it or not. No matter if it’s a chair, a piece of art, a meal, a tool. But I will be careful with it, because I can sense the effort, the dedication, the energy, the strenght, the love someone has put into it. Industrialized products are just plain objects at your disposal. You buy it, you use it, you get rid of it.
I feel embarrassed getting a bit more reconnected with nature how much I have wasted in the last decades. Not only on food, but on materials as well. How convenient it is to throw away and buy something new. Ranging from furniture, to clothes, to kitchen aids etc. Swapping my I-phone to the newest model, just because. Showing no appreciation, no connection, no nothing at all. That feeling of unconnectedness, when did that kick in? I really don’t know…
My life as an automaton: an emotional roller coaster
Describing my life as an automaton; going through life unconnected, unappreciated and numbed, should not be interpreted as an unemotional life. That is a huge mistake. It is definitely not the same. In fact I do and did feel highs and lows, my life is and was an emotional roller coaster. I felt anxious, I felt seen and appreciated, I felt stressed out, I felt loved, I felt alone in many occasions, I felt anger because things didn’t go as planned, I could feel joy and happiness. The difference is as automaton I was an unconscious participant in my own life.
Conscious human being
I want to live as a conscious human being and feel connected again with nature. This doesn’t mean I’m putting on a white dress and start meditating somewhere in nature from now on. I still need to function in this earthly world that we created, because I still need to earn money and provide for my family. But I will be aware of the fact that it is an invented virtual world. Nothing more, nothing less.
My natural state
A part of me wants to pull my children out of the school-system; supporting and emphasizing this virtual world, that I more and more feel is unimportant. But I don’t dare. I want my children to feel part of the universe, part of nature and thus live in awareness instead of acting in this virtual reality as an automaton. Like I have done for decades. But I’m their role model, I’m connected to them as well. So instead of telling them how to live their lives. I myself have to feel part of the universe, feel connected to everything and everyone. They are a reflection in my mirror and I’m a reflection in their mirror. It is not easy, but it is part of my journey to get closer to my natural state.
PS Last week I posted another inspiring video related to this topic: ‘Doing is the best kind of thinking‘