To Bee Or Not To Be?
I had quite an illuminating occurrence just the other day. It began with my search for local honey, where I was directed to a ninety-year-old beekeeper named Marlyn, who raised his own bees, here in Bellingham. He seemed astoundingly spry and energized and appeared to be at least 30 years younger than his actual age. He reminded me of William Chen, my T'ai Chi Master, who also happens to be exactly ninety years old, although you would guess him to be no older than in his fifties. Marlyn attributed his state of wellbeing to the daily consumption of honey from his hives. More interestingly, he began to tell me of his bees, and it seemed he had learned quite a bit of philosophy from his bees and their lifestyle. How they looked out for one another and how united they were as a hive.
This instantly reminded me of another story I had just come across. It happens that a local beekeeper's daughter found that three of the bees in her dad's hive had become mired in a puddle of honey. Feeling sorry for them, she extracted the bees from the honey and placed them on a jar lid in hopes they might survive. Her dad told her that her efforts were useless, as they were doomed. However, when she returned later, she found that they had been surrounded by their sisters who were meticulously cleaning the honey off of them. Later she found that two of the mired bees had already flown off, while the rest of the bees stayed with their fallen sister cleaning her and showing support until she too was able to fly off on her own. It seemed such a powerful demonstration of caring, nurturing and unity, that I kept thinking about its meaning, which lead to the writing of this blog post, in hopes that it was something we could learn from.
Suddenly everything I was being shown was making more sense, that all these bee occurrences were focusing my attention on the fact that I needed to be paying deeper attention and that there was a lot I was being shown by these amazing little beings. Marlyn also mentioned it was critical to get honey from the bees closest to my home. I realized that it would work to help synch me to the land, flora and fauna here. This honey would uniquely carry the genetic blueprint of the local flowers growing in this earth to help acclimate me to my environment. This seemed so simple yet made perfect sense to me.
Thinking back of other beekeepers I have met, there has always seemed to be a common thread that ran through them, which was how and what the bees had taught them. They were truly different from most humans; they had become more open and were better able to discern and follow nature's path. I began to see how much I had to learn from all of nature's communities. It immediately brought back the wonder I was filled with whenever I had witnessed a murmuring of starlings. Seeing thousands of birds flying in unison as if lead by a single consciousness. Can we, as a species, also experience this unity? I think we can, but it would take a huge leap in consciousness to suddenly give up identifying with each of ourselves as "I" and enable us to be become a "We." It is on some level, frightening but so very freeing.
Beginning this transition could begin with something as simple as just eating the honey produced from the flowers closest to us. The earth has already figured out so many things for us, such as how we would naturally be supported and energized by the foods that come from the soil of our habitation. So simple, yet profound. It is designed to synch us to the planet. Even walking barefoot on the soil does this, as the earth itself is alive and aware of all its denizens and is desirous of interaction with us all. It is only we humans who are so blocked. I feel that there is now celebration, as a rapidly expanding portion of our population is awakening. I am proud to be a part of this community now experiencing this ascension in consciousness. Suddenly, millions are awakening to the love we each feel for our mother planet, the earth. So many are learning to listen to her messages, as they are everywhere. If we look with our hearts, we can see these messages too.
My own health regimen is largely based on my practice of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. This has helped expand my nature-based awareness. I particularly pay attention to the energies of earth and sky. When we become rooted to the earth and flow freely towards and into the sky, we are embodying the balance of yin and yang as seen when heaven sits above the earth, which is illustrated by the t'ai chi symbol.
The bees already know this as they move through the air of the heavens to collect the nectar from the plants that grow from this bountiful earth. No wonder they are so in balance with nature. In T'ai Chi Ch'uan, we call this balance the Tao and it is everywhere to be seen and joyfully felt. It is the state of balance achieved as the celestial heavens naturally reside over our earth.
In T'ai Chi Ch'uan we strive to connect with our bodies to this balance of heaven and earth, where our progress becomes evident simply in the joyousness of our existence. Certainly, the bees flying from flower to flower surrounded by such beauty experience the elation of these feelings. Here they show us, that we as well can fly, albeit in consciousness, with all of our brethren to experience the unity that is our birthright as constituents of the tribe of earth.