I often hear people saying that it’s hard to figure out what we should do because we weren’t given a users guide for life. That’s obviously true because we came into this world with nothing (yet, on a deeper level, we really came into the world with everything) but I’d like to challenge the suggestion that there is no users guide for life.
In fact, the users guide for life is everywhere. It’s all around me and it’s interactive. In fact, I couldn’t get a better users guide anywhere. The sad part is that, in general, I ignore it, look right past it or pretend it isn’t there.
The Interactive Users Guide for Life
The interactive users guide for life that I’m talking about is Nature. I can imagine most of you thinking right now “how can Nature be a users guide for life?” and you’re preparing to exit this page but, before you go, let me explain a little more. When I do something, Nature tells me whether it’s good or bad. Maybe not instantly, but the response is always there.
Here are some examples;
- When I eat too much –>> I get fat
- When I meet a smoker –>> They tend to have a cough
- When I don’t sleep enough –>> I get drowsy
- When I don’t drink enough water –>> I get thirsty
- When I exercise –>> I feel good
- When I drink too much coffee –>> I get jittery
- When I drink alcohol –>> I can’t perform all the functions I normally can
- When I drink too much alcohol –>> I get a sore head
- When I was a baby and hit a toy on my head –>> I felt pain
- When I was a baby and cried loudly –>> my mother dropped everything to see what I needed
- When I’m kind to someone –>> I feel good
- When I ignore someones pain –>> I feel pangs of guilt
- When I give something without wanting anything in return –>> I feel good
- When I worry about whether someone will repay me –>> I feel anguish and stress
- When I worry about what’s going to happen in the future –>> I feel stress
You get the idea. The list is really endless. Whatever we do, we’ll eventually see the effects reflected back to us by Nature (if we observe well enough) or reflected back through our internal nature, or intuition. It’s a combination of the external Nature around me and my true inner nature (which could be called my spirit or my soul) that is constantly providing feedback. There’s no doubt that there’s ample feedback on what are good ways and what are bad ways to navigate through life.
So why do I ignore the messages from Nature and my intuition?
Why do I ignore the Users Guide for Life
Because my mind convinces me to.
My mind convinces me that the good ways to progress are more difficult and that it’s just easier to forget about them. My mind convinces me that I’ll never succeed so it’s not even worth trying. A good example for me is eating. I know that when I eat too much I feel bloated, and I don’t like that feeling. I know that when I eat too much I get fatter and unwell, and I don’t like that. But my mind convinces me that if I don’t eat enough I might get hungry, if I don’t eat enough people might think there’s something wrong with me and my mind convinces me that it’s fun to eat and I should eat as much as I can.
Why does my mind do this to me? Because my mind has built up an ego around me that really isn’t me. An ego is just my mind’s picture of who I am. It is normally not who I am, but the mind has formed this picture of me based on experiences I’ve had during my life in an effort to protect me. Maybe the ego that my mind has created includes me being fat, and one of the aims of the mind is to protect this picture of me that it has created.
Somehow, I need to break through this limitation that my mind has created.
Life is really a set of experiences. I can experience anything and everything in life and that’s just as it should be. I might call some of these experiences “good” or “bad” but other people will have different definitions of what is good and bad. True “good” and “bad” is certainly an imprecise concept. The aim is to really experience stuff, fully. Then, after having had the experience, consciously decide what I want, what I think serves me best in my growth.
For example, I might fully experience being mean and nasty to somebody as well as fully experience being kind and nice to somebody. After having those experiences and knowing what the two options really feel like, I can consciously choose which is the best for me, to define myself, and be a component of my growth. Based on experience, I can grow further.
It’s important to experience all things that I might call good and bad. It’s only from my own personal experience that I can grow. Nature provides me with a great source of information. Whatever I do, Nature will reflect back to me the impact that that action is having on me. For example, eat too much and I can observe myself getting fatter. Also, my internal nature provides feedback through my feelings. Eat too much and I feel bad. Now I can decide how I want to grow. What serves me best? How do I want to represent myself?
In this simple case of eating too much, I now consciously choose to eat modestly. I know this will make me feel better and make my body healthier. I just have to stay present often enough and keep making this choice, to avoid my mind sneakily convincing me to eat a lot again. This is not necessarily an easy task.
By taking notice of the interactive users guide for life, Nature, and through consistent, conscious thought I can choose the alternatives that best define me and then get on with experiencing more of what life has to offer.
The good thing is that Nature is an “interactive” users guide for life. It reacts to what we do. We do something and it provides feedback. It doesn’t matter what we do, just get on with it and have fun, and closely observe what is reflected back to us and choose the next step we want to take in our growth.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you observed any other interesting messages that Nature reflects back to you?
Related Links – The Interactive Users Guide for Life
- Present Moment Life Choices – the key to life?
- Just give me a sign, any kinda sign
- Why do I munch? – as you can see, I’ve been struggling with this for a while, and still am.
- I like the work of Leo Babauta and here’s a nice article from him – How to Change Your Life: A Users Guide