Nature already figured out the meaning of life

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3 principles we can learn from nature, to live a more joyful, meaningful and peaceful life

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

The stage was empty. There was a small desk at which the elder man could stand and speak. An adjustable microphone that he could speak in, a clicker to go to the next slide. Before the talk, he was explained that a slide is like a paper but then on a large screen, and with every click, the paper would be wiped away and a new would appear. So the clicker was to show new information on the screen. The elder man knew. The man wasn’t from here, he was a nature conservatory and knew a lot about nature. Many weeks back, maybe even months, he was asked to speak on this stage in front of thousands of businessmen and women who were there for a yearly business conference. The elder man found it a weird place to speak about nature but decided to go anyway. His daughter had told him that nature could not be balanced again if these people didn’t understand the purpose of nature.

The elder man peeked through the backstage curtains to look at the crowd of people sitting in the conference hall. “Those are a lot of people.” The elder man said laughing to a man standing next to him making sure everything went as planned. The man laughed “Yes for sure, this is something quite different from what you are used to.” The elder man smiled and wasn’t sure if he liked talking to such a large audience. The only public speaking he had done was in front of some small crowds of about 20 tourists. He knew how to speak English, and quite frankly spoke it rather well, this probably was the reason why they ended up asking him. There were way better-qualified people that could do this, but none of them spoke English. So he was the chosen one. In his stomach, he felt a sensation he had only felt at moments when a lion was right in from of him. It was fear, but he didn’t understand why he should be fearful now. “He couldn’t be killed by a crowd of people right?” He thought to himself.

“Are you ready sir?” The man holding a clipboard said to him. “Yes I am,” the elder man said confidently even though he wasn’t sure how to feel right then. “Great! You’ll be going on stage in a minute. Just wait for my signal and you can make your way onto the stage.” The elder man nodded and peeked through the curtains one last time. He took a deep breath and felt his bare feet touch the flat surface of the stage. “3, 2, 1, and that it’s you can go!” The man backstage said to him. The elder man walked on stage and a few hundred people clapped for him, but by far not everyone in the room. Luckily the man didn’t know if this was a good thing or not. So he thanked the hundreds of people clapping anyways. “Most of them don’t know me, so I need to make sure after these people know who I am and what I stand for.” The elder thought to himself.

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A rough start

The elder looked out into the crowd but could barely see them. The lights on the stage were blinding him. He asked through the microphone if the lights could be toned down and the lights in the crowd could be turned on. He wanted to see the faces of the people he was talking to. He always looked people in the eyes when he spoke. “It would be a challenge to look at each individual in this crowd.” The man chuckled at his thought. The crowd was a bit confused. The man just stood there and waited for the lights to turn down. After a few seconds, which for most people in the crowd felt like ages, the lights turned down and the elder man started his speech.

“Hi everyone!” The man said excited but also a bit uncomfortable. “So a few months back I was asked to speak at this stage. Now I know most of you are here to hear about the business. About success stories or breakthrough methods to be more successful. So I can understand that you are wondering what such an old man like me is doing on this stage.” The elder man took a deep breath and felt his heart now pounding in his chest. The crowd stayed completely silent and some people even jawed out and aloud. The man was shocked by the disrespect but continued anyway. “It’s funny, I never thought that you could feel the same way on a stage as you did look a lion in the eyes with no way of defending yourself.” The man laughed and to his delight, the entire crowd laughed with him. He felt that he broke through something.

“I wanted to speak to you about what you and I can learn from nature. About the extraordinary benefits of nature if we work with it and not against it. I know all you want to hear about is making more money or being more successful but trust me, nature is in abundance. You will get more success if you work with it.” The crowd stayed silent, most of them must have thought “What a weirdo, how could nature help us increase and grow our business revenue?” He looked around the room and noticed how some flocks of people were leaving the lit venue. In his mind, he thanked them for coming. “I am a nature conservatory and have spent my entire life in nature, I have studied plants, dangerous animals, birds, fish, corals, trees, whatever you can name I have studied it. It has been a wonderful and life-changing experience and I feel it as my duty to share this with you.” Some people in the crowd started to lean forward, interested in what he had to say. The elder man smiled and loved it when people were truly interested in what he had to say.

Take only what you need

“You all might have seen how nature is slowly decaying and that we have a large role to play in stopping this. But I do not want to talk to you about how bad the world is doing. I wanted to speak to you about the lessons nature has learned that we have yet to understand.” Now that was a strong beginning of the public speeches he thought to himself. More and more people started to listen. “There are three lessons, three incredibly valuable lessons that I wanted to share with you, that not only apply to your personal life but also your business.”

“In Africa once a year the grasslands flourish. All you see is green grass and flourishing trees. It is a beautiful sight to see. To see hills on hills filled with green grass after seeing seasons of yellow and dried out land. And on the horizon you see something moving. A seemingly black cloud moving rapidly across the land, widening across the horizon and getting closer and closer to you. You wonder what a cloud would do so low to the ground, but as the cloud moves closer you see all the individuals. You see an enormous amount of wildebeest grazing on the lush green grasslands. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest now cover the entire grassland that was empty just minutes ago. Now there is something extraordinary about this. And no it is not the fact that so many creatures are drawn to the grassland as soon as it is blooming.” The elder man looked around the venue for a moment. During his talk, he had been playing and showing images and videos on the screen behind him. This had drawn in most of the audience, amazed by the immensity and beauty of this world. “No one could resist.” The elder man thought to himself and smiled.

“You see the one thing that is amazing about these wildebeest is that when they are gone, the land is ready to grow again. It isn’t grazed completely, it isn’t dry and died. No, the wildebeest make sure this landscape can survive. They fertilize the soil and only eat what they need. They don’t take it all till there is no more left. These animals, like many other animals on this earth, know that if they take everything there is, they too will die. Now, look at us. The largest species on this earth, the smartest species. Yet so ignorant of this fact. We are taking, taking, taking!” The man said aloud into the microphone. The crowd was startled by the sudden change. “We are constantly taking, you and I are constantly taking. And if we don’t leave anything behind, if we don’t make sure the ground is healthy and rich it will die. Leaving us without food. We would die just like we killed the different environments on this earth. This is the first lesson of nature.”

  1. Take only that which you need and no more. We do not need much, so take just what you need and make sure to give back to that you took from. Nature is selfless, it always gives and gives, but one day it will take. And when it takes it takes you and me with itself.

Move gracefully together

The crowd was startled but felt the urgency and emotion in the elder man’s voice. He had been learning from nature his entire life. He knew, he had seen everything with his own eyes. A woman in the middle of the crowd started clapping when the elder man took a moment to sip from his water. Slowly but surely the crowd realized that they were terrified of this idea and that the man was right. They joined in on the applause and soon the entire venue was filled with a cacophony of whistles, claps, and yells. The elder man smiled content.

“BUT…” the elder man said loudly into the microphone. “Where this first thing sounds doomed and bad, there is so much beauty for us. So much abundance that we haven’t yet uncovered. There is are millions of ways for us to live as we do right now and still not take everything there is. But if we learn the fundamental of only taking what we need we can move on to the next lesson.” On the screen, a blue gradient color appeared. “This… this is the ocean. Where the land ends the ocean begins and new forms of life appear. There are fast amounts of life in these oceans, all in harmony with one another. They do not take everything, they take what they need and no more. But that is not the lesson to learn from the oceans. WORK TOGETHER.” The elder man said smashing his hand on the small table. He noticed that the crowd was mumbling again, and he had learned that a simple tactic would get their attention back. “Work together my dear friends.” He now said in a softer and loving voice. “Work together like the dolphins and birds. There are fast amounts of food in the ocean not only for the ocean creatures themselves but also for the birds traveling by. They could hunt alone, birds dive into the water and catch fish, but fish can dive deeper into the ocean out of reach for the birds. But nature isn’t designed to make life harder for one species or the other. So dolphins drive the small fish up to the surface and together with the birds they feast on them. The small fish are caught in the middle of an air attack by the birds and a sea attack by the dolphins. It is as if these animals can communicate with one another, without speaking the same language.”

The elder man laughed out loud. “Or maybe they speak the same language, but we just don’t see it as a language. You see I can feel how you feel.” He pointed at someone in the first row. “If I feel and not think I can be with you and feel what you feel, and so can you. But what we do is think and talk. Language, therefore, gets in the way of true communication. But birds and dolphins show us that we do not always need language. It is an amazing tool and we can share fast amounts of information, but the important thing is, it allows us to share our emotions. That’s the most important thing here. If we share what is in our hearts we can work together. Just like the birds and the fish. They work in harmony without really understanding one another. They are different species, yet they are looking for the same thing ‘food’. So shouldn’t we look at our common goals instead of our differences, our nationalities, religions and so many other things that divide us?” The elder man stayed quiet for some time and looked at some of the people’s faces. They were amazed, and in awe of all the things, nature had to teach them. The elder man was content with his work but knew he had to share one more valuable lesson.

“That is the second lesson of nature.

  1. Work together, despite our differences, we can have common goals. We do not need to be looking at what makes us different, this is what makes us unique and beautiful. The dolphin won’t look at the bird and think, I hate him for taking my food. Nor does the bird look at the dolphin that way. They know that because of their differences they can work together in harmony, leaving none of them without food. They now serve a common goal and that is what makes them even stronger.

So you, my dear business people, you can do the same. Work together with people who are different, who have different believes but with the same goals. You can learn and find use in each other. Only then can we both help ourselves and the world thrive.” He smiled and massive applause arose from the audience. They were consistently getting more excited about what the elder man had to say.

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Everything matters

“Now…” the elder man interrupted the applause with his words, and quickly the crowd fell silent. Knowing that the man was about to give more wisdom. “Now on to the last lesson I wanted to share with you today. Remember these are just three of the many lessons we can learn from nature. So go out my dear friends, and see the world. Go into nature and see how it is working and learn from it to thrive yourself. But on to the last lesson.” The man left a short silence and looked to his side. The curtains to the backstage had opened and a large portion of the crew was listening to the man. Their eyes were twinkling again. He looked back and continued with a smile on his face that he couldn’t resist any longer. “A forest can not thrive with one species. A forest is diverse. There is life everywhere. Birds, plants, flowers, trees, fruits, reptiles, insects, microorganisms, all sorts of life is flourishing in forests. Especially rainforests. I have traveled to some rainforests in my life and have seen their diversity. At first, I thought that not every organism was necessary for a flourishing and vibrant forest. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I talked to one of the researchers in the forest who measured and estimated that if you took out one of these microorganisms the entire diversity of the forest would decline. Yes, even the smallest of things in these forests like a mushroom or an ant serves its purpose, without it some larger organism can’t survive, and with that, the cycle continues. Till…” and the man stopped for a moment. “Till there are no trees anymore. But luckily this biodiversity can not decay on its own, it is only when we interrupt the process and damage it that this will happen. So I wanted to teach you this very important lesson.”

The crowd was on the edge of their seats so keen on knowing the last lesson of nature. “EVERYTHING MATTERS!” The elder man spoke with his hands opened wide and a sigh of relief and happiness. His eyes looking upward. He stood there for a moment and then looked back at the audience. “Everything matters, the smallest step you take is one you should think about. We have forgotten this in the past centuries. We were so overwhelmed by all the new things we could do that we didn’t think about each small step we took. Leaving behind massive destruction. But that time has passed. We can learn that every step we take matters. That it can either bring us closer to harmony or further away from it. So I ask you, the future of this planet.“ He looked around the room and stopped when his eyes met those of some younger folk. “I want to ask you to remember this third lesson.

  1. To remember that everything you do matters. That each decision, each new idea, each new day matters like no other. That every fly you see, every breeze, every ray of sunlight, every hand you shake, every pair of eyes you look into, every moment you spend with your kids, every flower matters like no other. They are as important as any other. We are not to decide which matters most and which doesn’t. Nor does Mother Nature. Because she knows that every small individual in her beautiful diverse ecosystem matters. Including us. But we are no better than trees, nor the ants. We serve just as an important role as they have. We are here to help and serve. Just like the dolphins help the birds to feed and the other way around. Just like the grass grows to feed the wildebeests, just like the ant spreads seeds to grow in different places. We all are part of the cycle of life and all have our place in it. We are no exception.“

The crowd stood up. For the entirety of this business conference there hadn’t been a standing ovation, but for this. People couldn’t resist. They stood up and applauded for the man. The crew came out on stage and applauded with the audience. This matter of saving the world wasn’t about giving up the lives we have right now, but about growing it even further. Making the world an even better place. It wasn’t about breaking down what we had built, but rather evolving that which could be done better. It opened up new work opportunities, instead of taking jobs away. The only thing it asked of us was to grow, and this was the hardest part the elder man knew. Because growing was scary, it was unknown and uncontrollable. Yet he knew that some of these people here would have made that shift. So he was content, he was joyous with his speech, not for himself but for the change he had started within these people.

Nature knows its purpose

There is so much beauty for us to learn from in nature. So we shouldn’t waste it. There is no reason to be afraid that this world will die. We should focus on the good. On how we can flourish if we change now. We should see the impact the tiniest of changes could have.

  1. We should learn to take only what we need and grow time to recover.
  2. We should learn to work together despite our differences we have one common goal and that is to live a joyous and serving life.
  3. And we should value every step, every organism, every species, every experience that we call life. For everything is part of it, everything is life.

Nature knows its purpose, so can we. Experience the beauty of living. Live a joyous, meaningful, and peaceful life. Look at the things that truly matter and serve. Remembering each day that

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