It was easy to feel at one with Her majesty nature on this third morning of our Kumano Kodo pilgrimage 熊野古道. Our journey had commenced where pilgrims typically end – at Kumano Hongu Taisha 熊野本宮大社-and the Oyunahara 大斎原. Now on a cloudy October morning we approached the Daimon-zaka – 大門坂- the large-gate slope where a gate once stood long ago.
An impressive stone staircase at the bottom of the valley beckoned us to ascend. We crossed symbolically over a vermillion bridge after passing through the Torii gate entrance. It winded up the slope promising a breathtaking journey that will lead us toward our final destination on the 熊野三山 Kumano sanzan – Kumano Nachi Taisha, Seiganto-ji and the Nachi waterfall. Onward!
I thought it symbolic to begin at the end. Because the end really is the beginning. And it’s a metaphor for ourselves. That’s the beauty of Japanese culture – it’s intuitive and thinks in an endless cyclical nature of time rather than the western linear thinking. The word nature, shizen 自然, means one in of itself – we are a part of nature – there is no separation.
We are a part of nature’s rhythms and cycles and humans’ job is to align with nature to achieve harmony wa 和- – not fight against it. It’s about time the Western world realize that which the East and Native Peoples have known all along – Western lifestyles and consumption alienated from nature is killing the planet.
Destroying the environment is destroying ourselves. Even the Native American Susquamish Chief Seattle knew this in his famous speech:
All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
Greedy cheapskates live here in Florida and vote for Mad King Trump just for a tax break regardless if he destroys America and the environment to do it. That’s how bad the West has become as it drags the world with it to the garbage dump physically, morally and ethically.
It would be the best thing, however, for the world to get back to nature and heal the neurotic split between mind and body caused by Cartesian thinking – I think therefore I am. Don’t think – just be! (Once in Buenos Aires at a restaurant I couldn’t make up my mind what to order. The waitress said, “Don’t think! Just eat!”
I am that I am. Tat Tvam Asi.
that is eternity –
no end and no beginning.
the end is the beginning
and the beginning is the end
only self and nature – shizen – 自然
one in of itself