Welcome to Earth

“I often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids… called Welcome to Earth…”

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

That’s so funny, I often think the same thing. It isn’t like we received these bodies or these minds with an instruction manual. Although, wouldn’t that have been nice?

I suppose that there are many religious, philosophical, spiritual, scientific, anatomical and poetic texts which have attempted to be such a book; or in essence to answer the questions “Who am I? and What am I doing here? In addition, today it may be more appropriate to say there are plenty of songs, artists, yoga teachers, tv shows, cartoons, plays, video games, blogs, groupons, websites and virtual realities which are trying to woo the minds of children & adults alike – to help us find a purpose to our life.

In one of my favorite philosophy books, The Splendor of Recognition, the author Swami Satchidananda compares all of life to a game of hide-and-seek. She says that, “when we open our eyes and become aware of the world around us, we are creating our world.”  Perhaps this is how the world became so diverse! So many eyes & so many perspectives. I imagine that the world will change a great deal from the time we are children, to adults, to elderly, and so hopefully whatever manual we come up with has some sort of flexibility built into it, which will allow for the growth and maturation of finding purpose through the stages of one’s life.

What would you include in a manual titled, Welcome to Earth?

“Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing    

there is a field   

I will meet you there.”


I must admit, it is exciting to walk around on these beautiful spring days in New York, and open my eyes as if my seeing the world is actually creating that world that I am seeing. It’s comparable to the riddle, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If no one is around to witness the jubilant red tulips. not even one of the ten thousand trillion ants on the planet, how do we know the tulips were truly created? It’s heady, and perhaps self-centered, but the concept makes for an adventurous life no doubt. It encourages one to be a participant; to be present; to be a loving witness for this life as we pass through it; perhaps, to see the best in one’s circumstances; to pause and see this tree, torn open by lightning and yet left standing with a city scape torn into its trunk.

“And the one thing I would tell them about is cultural relativity… A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn’t a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternative to our own society… Cultural relativity is defensible, attractive. It’s a source of hope. It means we don’t have to continue this way if we don’t like it.” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

What advice would you give?

What wisdom would you include?

What truth would you pass on in the manual titled: Welcome to Earth?


About Joyce Englander

I teach weekly yoga classes in New York City, which focus on moving mindfully and gracefully with the breath. I believe that learning yoga is similar to learning a language, and the more you are around it the more fluent you become. This blog is an opportunity to share my thoughts and re-visit lessons from class; to create a bridge for students to translate their classroom experience into real life. I am interested in how practicing yoga can help to improve people's lives and reduce needless suffering.
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2 Responses to Welcome to Earth

  1. Ariel says:

    Chance favors the Prepared mind

  2. April says:

    Our world is ruled by the ease & clarity of logic and the power of science, yet magic is still real.

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