An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of September 5, 2004
issued from the woods just south of Natchez, Mississippi, USA

THE LIFE-PARADIGM

This week I've been thinking about why so many people have a hard time being happy, or even functioning on a day-to-day basis. I have tried to come up with insights from my own life that might be of value to certain others. Here it is:

One's Life-Paradigm has a lot of influence on how happy a person is.

By "Life-Paradigm" (pronounced either PARA-dim or PARA-dime) I mean an abstract concept constituting a pattern against which one can construe his or her own life.

The Life-Paradigm I use derives from what I see in Nature. It seems to me that what's happening in Nature (everything in the Universe) constitutes an urgent, potent, speeding-up blossoming. In Nature, very much of what is dynamic and significant begins as something simple and highly constrained, evolves to be more diverse and complex, and as this happens parts of it become ever more interrelated and interdependent with everything else, while at the same time those parts acquire ever-greater personal "artfulness." This "artfulness" might be anything from ornamentation on a bug's back, to crystals in a rock, planets coalescing around stars, or a human maturing toward more enlightened insights and behavior.

Accepting "Nature as Bible," my theory is that if one harmonizes his or her life with this paradigm, then life acquires meaning and focus.

When you think about it, most normal lives already possess a great deal that is harmonious with this paradigm. Raising families, doing work you believe in, passing on information and traditions -- this is great, outward-surging blossoming, the kind of thing that will singingly and dancingly proliferate into eras and dimensions far beyond our own earthly experience. The value of the paradigm in such lives comes when you remember, for example, that in hugging a kid, not only are you doing something immediately gratifying to all, but also that what you are doing resonates with the flow of the Universe -- the Creator's "Word." There is profound significance and value in some of the most mundane, homey things we do every day.

Whenever I sink into a blue funk feeling bad about myself, in my mind's eye I summon my Life-Paradigm, visualize its gorgeous outward-surging and ever- diversifying workings, and then when I begin trying to harmonize my thoughts and behavior with that mental image, I... get happier.

It's irrational, but it works for me, like magic.  Facebook Icon.