"The natural world’s perfect indifference has always been the best cure for my own anxieties. Every living thing — every bird and mammal and reptile and amphibian, every tree and shrub and flower and moss — is pursuing its own urgent purpose, a purpose that sets my own worries in a larger context. And the natural world is everywhere, not just on my half-acre lot in suburbia, and not just on my favorite trails at the local parks. You can find it during a walk on city streets and in the potted plants on city balconies. It’s in the branches of the sidewalk trees as they begin to split open and change the grayscape green. It’s in the sparrows and the starlings taking nesting materials into the cracks around the windows and doorways of commercial buildings. It’s in a sky full of drifting clouds, and in the wild geese crying as they fly."
In the spiritual alphabet "C" is for connection, and we may well be inclined to think of positive connections as a kind of unity with the more than human world. But surely there is value with being at two with nature. Being at two is to recognize, appreciate, and learn from the perfect indifference of so much of nature to human life. It is to love what does not include you, precisely because it does not refer back to you and your concerns, including your worries.
We need not appreciate the perfect indifference of certain viruses. We can engage in wars against them. But we can indeed appreciate the indifference of the blue jay and other songbirds as they go about their business in mating season: establishing territory and announcing availability. The independence of the blue jay’s concerns from our own, reminds us that we are not the center of things, that there is something more than us that is important to itself.
We an also trust in a horizon of consciousness that transcends us and that includes the whole of life, ourselves included but not ourselves exclusively. A horizon, a conscious Love, that appreciates it all and says of the whole “very good.” This horizon is God. Process theologians speak of it as the consequent nature of God: that is, the side of God that is lovingly inclusive of, and affected by, the larger community of life. This side includes "every living thing — every bird and mammal and reptile and amphibian, every tree and shrub and flower and moss." And more than that: every hill, every river, every star, every galaxy. When we appreciate the perfect indifference of the blue jay we can quietly sense the consequent nature. The glory is not in our lives but in a community of life that transcends us, and that is held together in love.