Everything Is Living According To Zen


Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve itself, to

assert itself, to push itself forward, and to act on its environment,

consciously or unconsciously. The innate, strong tendency of the

living is an undeveloped, but fundamental, nature of Spirit or Mind.

It shows itself first in inert matter as impenetrability, or

affinity, or mechanical force. Rock has a powerful tendency to

preserve itself. And i
is hard to crush it. Diamond has a robust

tendency to assert itself. And it permits nothing to destroy it.

Salt has the same strong tendency, for its particles act and react by

themselves, and never cease till its crystals are formed. Steam,

too, should have the same, because it pushes aside everything in its

way and goes where it will.

In the eye of simple folks of old, mountains, rivers, trees,

serpents, oxen, and eagles were equally full of life; hence the

deification of them. No doubt it is irrational to believe in nymphs,

fairies, elves, and the like, yet still we may say that mountains

stand of their own accord, rivers run as they will, just as we say

that trees and grass turn their leaves towards the sun of their own

accord. Neither is it a mere figure of speech to say that thunder

speaks and hills respond, nor to describe birds as singing and

flowers as smiling, nor to narrate winds as moaning and rain as

weeping, nor to state lovers as looking at the moon, the moon as

looking at them, when we observe spiritual element in activities of

all this. Haeckel says, not without reason: I cannot imagine the

simple chemical and physical forces without attributing the movement

of material particles to conscious sensation. The same author says

again: We may ascribe the feeling of pleasure and pain to all atoms,

and so explain the electric affinity in chemistry.