The first quality of life is that there is unpredictable movement. A mission will go only the predicted definite way, but life can go in any unpredicted manner. We are often reminded of this aspect of life while listening to the weather report. How many times have you heard the weatherman promise a weekend of sunshine, only to experience non-stop rain showers for 48 hours? Or, conversely, heard the weatherman speak only of rainstorms, and see nothing but sunshine? This is the first quality of life – its unpredictability. We can plan, forecast, estimate, assume, desire, hope, and pray. But in the end, life has its own plans, and will unfold accordingly.
The second quality of life is recognition, and knowledge. Where there is life, it experiences, recognizes, and cognizes. A new mother gets to see this reality progress in her newborn child. With each passing day, a child exhibits more awareness, recognition, and knowledge. Eventually, the child will exhibit self-awareness. Such a quality is sacred.
Awareness is the third quality of life. The third aspect of life is that it expresses. Life not only receives knowledge, but gives a response too. And this is true for all dimensions of life, including trees. Have you ever seen a tree twist and bend, and defy the laws of gravity in order to get a better angle from which to receive sunlight? Or, have you ever spoken to your houseplants and flowers, and seen the response? Many studies have shown that plants respond to such communication by growing larger and healthier. These plants are responding, and upholding the third quality of life.
The fourth aspect of life is that it feels. A computer does not feel, but someone who is working on the computer feels. Similarly, all throughout the animal kingdom, we see feeling. We see lizards relax on a rock, and bask in the sunshine. We see various birds alternate between the land and the sea, depending on the climate. We also see parents feed and protect their young. These are just a few of the feelings that are present in life.
The fifth aspect of life is peacefulness and harmony. There may be turbulent times, but, eventually, peace will prevail. For example, a drop of water may fall to Earth in a rainstorm, and find itself rushing down a river. That river may end in the Niagara Falls, with water crashing about, flying here and there. But the calm seas. Much as water seeks its own level, life seeks out peacefulness and harmony.
The sixth aspect of the spirit is beauty and rhythm. Life enjoys rhythms and appreciates beauty. This sixth principle is dynamism. People have been on this planet for several million years, but not the same people. There have always been people, but the dynamism of life has brought about consistent change. A stone may have been around for many millions of years, but it has not changed much. In contrast, people are not the same people but something in the people is the same. This ability to know, understand, and recognize has remained throughout the history of life, and as such, is a characteristic of life. We celebrate these qualities of life with our humanness. And what is humanness? It is compassion, caring, love, and joy. It is alertness, being in the moment, and being aware of your existence in connection with the whole human body, and being able to laugh. Humanness is a laugh from within your heart, not just an air hostesses laugh. When you get off the plane and the air hostesses greet you, “Have a nice day,” they really don’t mean it. It is just coming out of their lips; it’s not coming from deep within. But when the same words come to you from your mother, or someone close to you, you can see there is some feeling that comes along with that word. There is some truth behind it. Sometimes out of courtesy we say “sorry” and “thank you” – but there is not that feeling. We say “thank you”, but do you really feel thankfulness bursting out of you? Do you really feel grateful for all that life has given you, or for what you are? These things enrich your life.
~~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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