Nature has many valuable lessons for us to learn. The natural world has stood the test of time, despite what we humans throw at it, it continues to persevere. Natural systems have seen the passing of countless generations before us. So, like curling up on the lap of a beloved grandparent and soaking in all the lessons of experience, we can and should look to Creation to teach us.
Mankind is essentially self serving. This we all know. There are few people in this world who honestly sacrifice everything for the gain of others. For the most part, every person we meet seeks that which is in their own best interest. For different people it may be different things – it may be money, to have more than what you need, to live in excess (some call it “comfortably”), to have the newest/fastest/flashiest car, the latest phone, a large home and all the fittings, decor and creature comforts for that home… to be fulfilled, to have your needs met, your desires met. For different people it is different things but in all of us is a fundamental desire to serve our own self interest.
But what about the natural world? Is nature self serving?
Yes. It is.
But not in our human understanding of self serving.
So what is the lesson from this?
If we consider mankind’s version of self serving, it is a selfish desire to have more than what we need. To hoard. To have abundance.
If we consider nature’s version of self serving, it is a desire to grow. To multiply. To have abundance… of a different kind. A plant’s idea of self serving is that it takes what it needs. What it truly needs to survive. Not the human concept of “living comfortably”.
Each plant takes only what it needs. Chances are though, that in doing so, some other plant/insect/bird etc is benefiting from this too. A plant takes, and gives back as a by-product. Its essential function is to serve itself, to ensure its own survival. It takes only what it needs.
As humans, do our self serving attitudes and actions give back?
We often confuse the terms ‘need’ and ‘want’.
When nature takes only what it needs, it truly needs it to ensure its survival. When humans consider something they need, most often we want it. We want to have more than we need.
So we can learn from nature that we can be self serving. But self serving the right way. Considering what we only truly need, not out of pure desire. But through our gaining something we needed, we automatically give back.
But also the understanding of ‘abundance’. We have come to understand abundance as having more than we need, having excess, “copious quantity”.
Abundance is an abstract concept though. It means different things for different people.
We live nowadays with a scarcity mindset. We feel we need to hoard everything for just in case. We will never have enough if we continue to collect, store and hoard. At what point is it enough? The millionaire who keeps striving to make more money, or having that fancy car/phone but wanting the next model up that has the next feature, having a bigger house or having a house, having a fridge full of choice or the child who wants to go to bed not hungry? Where do we draw the line? The problem is, is that we have taken all of these things back into our own control and the concept of abundance is limitless.
The natural world was designed to give us everything we needed. Is that not abundance? If you need it, it is there. But you can’t hoard it.
So we actually do live in abundance. We have everything we need. And we are still serving ourselves. Not our desires, but our needs.
And in doing so, serving those around us too. Enabling them to have their needs met too.