Practicing from the Heart in the age of Technology - All articles and poems are by Reza Ghadimi, unless otherwise noted.
With the cold weather, we limit our exposure and shelter in, isolating ourselves from the elements. As we celebrate this holiday season of customs and beliefs, let’s not overlook the nature around us.
On an unusually warm day awhile back, my wife and I were hiking a mountain trail behind our house. Even the blue jays and chipmunks seemed dumbfounded by the heat. I was leaning on my walking staff, lost in the magic of the day. My wife, walking a few passes ahead, suddenly stopped, turned and whispered; "We are not alone!" pointing to the side of the trail.
I turned to see a rather large rattlesnake coiled up, soaking the sun on a massive bolder by the side of the trail. Seeing us, it slowly raised its head and darted its slit tongue in and out a few times in gesture of greeting. It raised its tail and lazily swung its rattler a couple of times before resting back on the warm rock. Not feeling a threat, it did not seem alarmed.
Just then, an unnatural sound silenced the nature around us. Disturbed, I reached into my pocket and retrieved my cell phone. It was our daughter, wanting to know of our whereabouts. I answered her, and shutting the confounded thing, placed it back into my pocket. Turning around, I noticed that the snake had slithered away and was gliding under the rock and out of sight. I cursed the annoying phone, and we continued on our hike.
Having lost my line of thought, I focused on the fantastic tools at our disposal. I grew up studying by a kerosene lamp. Out of town communication was by telegram and we took horse and buggy to school. Though we were bundled against the cold, we could still experience the world around us. The horse’s heavy and steamy breathing, the cracklings of its hooves on the icy earth, and the bite of the cold air in our face. Winter was present and experienced – even in the city.
In my lifetime, we invented jet aircraft, color television, went to the moon and back, computers, the internet and the blasted cell phone. So that we can be found and contacted miles away in the wilderness. This technology, I fear has severed our relationship with our nature, with dire consequences.
The world, however, is still a wonderful place. Let's slow down a bit, talk softly, listen more attentively. Hear the blue jays, coyotes, chipmunks, and the crows. Say hello to the sleepy snakes, lizards and the frogs. Let’s not forget that down below our buildings and vehicles, there is a planet that our very existence depends on.
While we are at it, let’s be more tolerant listening to our patients. The good Lord has given us two ears and one mouth. If we listen twice as much as we talk, we will understand them better and avoid mistreating each other. Let us wish everyone a wonderful and joyous season and thank mother nature for all the blessings bestowed on us.