Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Ant and the Tree: A Mystical Metaphor

    On the surface I am someone who comes across self assured and confident, confident in my thoughts, my actions, my life and choices. The truth is, well, the title of this blog says it all. I struggle daily with big questions, small questions and quite often find myself in a state of insecurity, perplexed by every facet of experience and afraid. One of my struggles in growing a relationship with God has been around the classic question of suffering. How can God let innocents be slaughtered, young girls be trafficked as sex slaves, let people starve while others like me have more than we need? One day after sitting outside in meditation this metaphor occurred to me.  I don't claim it to be entirely original, few things these days are and with years of studying yoga I am sure it has it's roots in those teachings.

  We are all like an ant crawling on a tree. The ant can only perceive what it's senses allow in the small space it occupies. It can only take in what happens on the piece of bark or the leaf upon which it crawls. However there is a larger reality, the tree. The ant cannot conceive of this larger structure, has no knowledge of roots or it's beautiful network of branches and how the two mirror each other in perfect synchronicity. The ant does not know that the bark covers a complex system of wood and vascular networks, it can't know the full scope of reality and yet the tree is real. The ant may not understand many things that happen because of it's limited vision but that does not mean that the larger reality does not exist. It does.

So until I have more experience that might refine or evolve this concept,  I will accept that I am like an ant on a tree and that if things I experience in this world don't make sense or fill me with fear and doubt, that just because I can't see the fullness of the universe or the face of God, does not mean they aren't there. Faith.

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