This was previously published on Basic Goodness.
Tomorrow I will leave Sydney and will start driving. Without a real plan really. Just with an intention to meet a young woman who I met in Thailand and lives 800 kilometers up the road. I hired a hippie campervan and will see what happens. I assume that if I make sure that I have water, fuel and money I will survive. As usual I am not looking at any maps (but I did borrow a GPS device). I realize that many people would be planning their trip on the day before departure (or a lot earlier) and I wonder what it is that I don’t do that. Well, I do know. When I plan I have to make a choice out of a million options and that confuses, disturbs, annoys and eventually paralyzes me. And when I just wing it I only have to make a series of yes/no decisions. I am better equipped for that. A funny insight: to many my behavior looks like courageously stepping into not-knowing over and over but I am just afraid of making choices.
I just finished cleaning up the kitchen of my host Simon. It is kind of a grey day and I felt like doing something but gave myself permission to keep it more or less indoors since I will be on the road for a month or so. So I guessed it would be a kind thing to do, to do the dishes. While I was doing the dishes I felt a sense of gratitude and meaning. I feel that perhaps the most important thing to life is caring. Caring seems to be an expression of love and selflessness. There is something holy and dignified about doing the dishes. Every cup and plate gets a bit of attention and bit of warm water. It is thanked for his services and prepared for the next time it is needed.
I have the standard background picture on my iPhone. It is a photo of our planet. I like it. I like to be reminded of our insignificance in time and space. Life is short. We are stardust, really. In my personal life and my work I often use the image: what do you see if you look at the planet and its inhabitants from a huge distance and with a non-judgmental eye? What do you feel as you watch these billions of human creatures who are caught up in their thoughts about past and future? Who want to conquer life, hide from it, pretend to be different, have desensitized themselves, feel burdened about their past, are preoccupied with their survival or are convinced that other people should think different.
When we look at our planet from space it seems so obvious that we want to take care of it and everything in and on it. We don’t have a spare planet next door. Actually, we haven’t found another planet that meets our needs, even if we would travel hundreds and hundreds of years in any direction. So it makes a lot of sense to express caring behavior. When I care I say “I see you” and “I am you.” There is no separation. It cant be otherwise than that living in harmony with self, others and planet is our natural state. And I really feel that when I am doing the dishes.
Seen from a large distance it doesn’t really matter what we do. Some people talk in devices, other people move stuff around. I sit in coffee places and make letters appear on a screen with my fingers. But what makes a difference is why we are doing what we are doing. Do we express care and make a contribution to harmony or are we competing and trying to take more, if necessary at the expense of others and the planet?
There is a lot of mining in Australia. To take the resources out of the earth is devastating for the planet. But is it bad in the long term? Nothing gets lost, it is just stardust being moved around and taken apart by stardust. Nothing will change. Perhaps the stardust that manifests as man will interfere so much that he will make his own existence and that of many other species impossible. But in the end everything comes from and goes back to stardust.
What does make a difference for a human being is to experience the oneness and sacredness of life first hand. We can consciously express that sacredness by taking care of ourselves, others and our planet as much as we possible. Not because we have to but because we can. The only task we have is to be in harmony with life. We get ourselves out of the way and do what existence wants from us. We will not feel separate anymore. It feels good.
Enjoy washing the dishes.
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Image courtesy of the author