Humans and Other Beings

Lata Mani

Although many persist in conceiving of humans as superior to other species, it turns out that humans have to consciously learn what other beings already know. Fragment from a teaching in The Tantra Chronicles. Lord Shiva, October 15, 2004

Let me begin with a fundamental fact. All beings but humans are always already conscious of their relationship with self, with other, and with infinity. All beings but humans are very aware of the beautiful, infinite relationship that is always there beyond language. There is, for example, no computer that can spit out the data on the relationship between that monkey that just walked across that wall, the coconut tree that it climbed up, and everything it encountered on its way. This is true even if we were to limit ourselves to a ninety second period. There is no computer that can adequately describe it all.

The only way that we can reach out and embrace that degree of infinity is by closing our eyes and entering into the stillness wisdom of it all. Now, humans need to learn fluency in stillness wisdom. This is because it is [Divine] Mother’s leela [play] to ask humans to consciously learn it and live by it. Other creatures are established in stillness wisdom and that is why they are able to playfully dance. You often see butterflies going somewhere in particular, nowhere in particular, who knows where? You also witness the hummingbird going to one, then another, then another blossom, and you never know which one, why, and how come. The butterfly and the hummingbird are so playful because of the level of wisdom in which they are established. For, stillness wisdom is also fluency in joy wisdom. Let it be known that everything I am saying here also applies to apparently non-sentient isnesses like minerals and plants but that my focus here will be on what is regarded as the animal kingdom.

Stillness wisdom: the dance of all beings with infinity, with their relationship with the rest of infinity, with their isness as isness. You can see what is happening as I try to make language out of this. We quickly disappear into a stream of consciousness discourse, one which will never be complete or enough. Adequacy is never a possibility when one’s goal is to name the stillness wisdom of beings, of beingness….. No human discourse can ever utter the totality, the infinity, the completeness of stillness wisdom, which is also the same as dance wisdom, and joy wisdom. This helps us understand why it is so important to sit in absolute silence and stillness.

To reiterate, it is hard to express the relationship between self and infinity that is always already inculcated into all beings other than humans. All one can do is to make a meta-statement about it. As for the re-harmonization of humans with the rest of infinity, the real question is, how can you walk, talk, live, be and act with as much awareness as the butterfly? How can you become conscious of your particularity and exactitude as humans? How can you establish yourselves in that infinite isness in a way that avoids the pitfall of misrecognising your partial understandings as universal truths?