Enough is Enough

An interesting fact about the Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) is that it only takes as much water as it needs. This allows it to adapt to a wide variety of microclimates from seashore (where it is known as shore pine), to mountains, to near arid environments. Other species like Ponderosa pine will not survive if they happen to sprout where there is too much annual precipitation. Both pines have unique adaptation to fire: Lodgepole cones do not open without the heat of seasonal fire and mature Ponderosa bark is very thick and resistant to burning.

I look into the natural world as a mirror of possibility and adaptability. In all possible worlds, how can a species adapt and thrive? It seems to have something to do with knowing how much is enough and developing a thick skin to weather challenges. Humans have this capacity but something goes awry when they try to live outside natural laws. Overconsumption leads to disease and the breakdown of systems. Thick skin is used to shore up the ego and resist being cleansed by the fire of intense experience.

The lessons of nature are always simple, direct, and quite clear. After a lifetime of spiritual exploration, I have come to the conclusion nature’s wisdom is the most effective mentor. Even though I identify as someone who is Buddhist-flavored, what I receive from uncontrived wildness is my primary teacher. Buddhism seems to mirror these teachings—if it is stripped down and free from cultural packaging. Buddha’s awakening is awakening to the natural mind, the innate connection to the way of nature. Humans strangely need to be reminded where they have always been.

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