Sometimes an afternoon's heavy glare and dry heat gets to you and you just have to lie down. However, you never nap for long. By early afternoon the wind has grown beyond being just a friendly, cooling breeze. Always, just as you are about to doze off, it blows over a potted plant, a heavy wooden window-shutter comes undone and crashes against a wall, or a gust simply blows through the room so rudely that you have to get up and look around.

On such drowsy afternoons when the wind keeps you awake, you feel that the whole rest of the world must be quietly at siesta, somehow more at ease with the wind than you. The palm trees gyrate, dust swirls through the bougainvillea gate, iguanas keep their heads low atop the ruin walls, and you think, think, think...

This week on such afternoons I've been thinking about an insight that has grown in me over the years. Of course I can't be sure that I'm seeing things clearly. I only know that the insight feels harmonious with how I perceive Nature to be. Certainly I'm not the first to come up with the thought. However, I did come to it in my own way. I feel a responsibility to share the insight, for it provides a possible answer to a kind of question I have heard many ask in desperation. Here is one form of that question:

"Why do innocent, beautiful people suffer and die, sometimes horribly?"

The insight is very simple, yet it is based on an assumption not very popular or understandable in our culture. In fact, the assumption is almost the opposite of what our culture imagines. Here it is:

When a human or any living thing is born, it is not a matter of something unique arising from nothingness. Rather, everything is one to begin with, just that now there's another ephemeral opaqueness or maybe a tiny hole in the Great Unity's fabric. From the Unity's perspective, this opaqueness or hole is characterized by its lack of information, its lack of understanding, and it lack of senses arrayed so that the fabric and design of The Whole can be perceived, understood, and loved.

Why does the Universal Creative Force bother causing uninformed, clumsily equipped beings to arise and evolve?

I think it may be so that the Universal Creative Force can examine and know Herself by way of what we living things see and feel. We are not only words She uses in Her poetry, tones in Her music, but also we are nerve endings with which She experiences Her own being and Her own evolution. We must be made simple and crude, and made so that we must die before we understand much, else the opium of enlightenment would blunt our pains and end our fears, and the Universal Creative Force's nervous system would be anesthetized.

When the innocent child dies of leukemia and everyone hurts in so many ways, then the Universal Creative Force feels through our pain the value and beauty of that child. The sharper our pain -- as well as the greater our joy over other things -- the more exquisite is the Creator's sense of self.

Many insights can blossom from believing this. One important to me is that surely there's no greater responsibility for each of us living things than to perpetually struggle to sharpen our own senses, sensibilities and understandings, so that we may hurt more, feel greater joy... so that the Universal Creative Force may do the same.