- Established customary state (especially of society)
- (often plural) a command given by a superior (e.g., a military or law enforcement officer) that must be obeyed
- A condition of regular or proper arrangement
We all like order in our lives, don’t we? We wake up at 5.45 am. We shower until 6.00 am. We take our clothes from the closet, and we have breakfast until 7.30 am. We drive to the station on the left hand side of the road, get on the train, and arrive at work at 8.30 am. We drink our coffee until 8.45 am and we start work at 9.00 am. We work in an ordered manner until lunchtime which is 1.00 pm. We take out our sandwich from our lunch box which has been neatly wrapped in cling film. We then read the daily paper until 1.30 pm at which time we put away our lunch box and paper and return to our ordered work. We have a tea break at 3.15 pm and we finish our work at 5.30 pm. We get on the 5.45 pm train and arrive home at 6.30 pm. We put away our work clothes, and prepare dinner, which we eat at 7.30 pm. We then wash the dishes, and watch television until 10.30 pm. We then go to bed and sleep. Repeat.
We all like to moan about it, but it’s what keeps us going. We need this order in our daily lives to keep our minds calm. This is also what some people might call a routine, or a rhythm. When we break this routine, we feel nervous and jumpy. “It’s not as it’s supposed to be” you think, as you get up late for work at 7.30 am. You grab breakfast and miss your train, which makes you late for work. It’s not a pleasant feeling, is it? But it’s not the end of the world!
You see, most of us allow a certain amount of flexibility in our routine, so if we’re late occasionally, or things don’t go to plan, it’s no great problem, as long as the underlying order is there. We need a structure to help us get up in the morning, that’s why people who are unemployed, or retired, find it very difficult. There is no longer the structure that work provided as a reason to get up in the morning. So either their minds, and therefore their lives become disordered, or they invent a new routine.
For example, an unemployed man may set himself a task of looking at the newspapers for jobs from 8.15 am until 10.15 am then perhaps go for a walk until 11.30 am. He will have lunch at 1.00 pm and then spend two hours in the library from 2.00 pm until 4.00 pm. The retired man may still set his alarm early, get up and make breakfast at a specified time, then have a plan to go for a walk followed by a cup of tea. That might be the only part of his day he plans, but at least one part of the day must be the same – every day.
Our minds do not like sudden change too much, it upsets their natural rhythm – so day in, day out, we order our lives accordingly.
Can you imagine how much discomfort you would feel, if breakfast was at a different time every day, or work started at 9.00 am on a monday, 10.25 am on a tuesday, 9.30 am on a wednesday, or you changed jobs every week? It would send your mind into turmoil.
Oh your home is so tidy!
We also like order in the home. It’s where we spend at least part of our day, and more importantly, it’s where we relax. So most of us like the home tidy, as it helps us relax more (tidy equals ordered). Let me tell you a story.
When I first moved in with my wife several years ago, I saw nothing of the disorder that was to arrive later. We owned nothing except our backpacks, so it was fairly easy to be tidy. Over the next few months, we started buying things for the house, kitchen equipment, bedroom furniture, etc.
The first thing I noticed about my wife, was that even if she was the last person out of bed, she wouldn’t make it, even if it meant just throwing the duvet up, and she would throw her pyjamas on the floor. At first I thought it was me being a bit obsessive, and I made the bed myself. No big deal.
Then as we spent longer in the house, I noticed that whenever she made herself something to eat she would just leave the plate on the floor and wouldn’t ever pick it up! The kitchen became so filled with plates and pots that you couldn’t move in it. Once again I thought, “this is my job to clean up, as I am not working at the moment,” and tidied it until it was spotless. She would then come home, make something to eat and leave all the dirty plates, knives, chopping board, etc. out on the bench, and just walk off and watch tv. That’s when I thought she must be just lazy. So I told her as such, and she pointed out that she was the one who was working… So I shut up.
She then started buying clothes and leaving a trail of them from the bedroom to the lounge. They were everywhere. I couldn’t move in the bedroom for clothes, it was driving me mad. So I would tidy up as often as I could.
She said that there were more important things in life than cleaning and she didn’t want to spend her days cleaning like her “cleaning obsessed mother.” I figured maybe this was all some mother, daughter thing; mother obsessed with cleaning, daughter rebelling against it. This feeling was reaffirmed when I saw her sister’s room which was exactly the same. “Ah ha!” I thought. “I’ve got it!” But I just couldn’t stand that my wife couldn’t see that (a) it was better to be tidy and (b) it was driving me insane. Her mother couldn’t understand it either: “She’s always been like it. I was always picking up after her.”
So I just became more and more angry about it, and eventually split up. I just couldn’t see how she could live like that. She didn’t care if the house was falling around her, or there were cockroaches on all the work surfaces (there were), so I just figured she was the laziest person I had ever met!
When I think of her now, she wasn’t lazy. She got up at 5.30 am on the dot every day and did a full day’s work. She was never sick, and always arrived on time. It was only when she came home that her life became disorganised. So why was this happening?
Like many people, she was content with the order that work gave her, but that’s because it was all ordered for her. All she had to do was turn up on time. At home, her own mind was in charge of creating order. That was the problem! So why was her own mind disordered (if that is what was happening)? It is time we left my ex-wife alone, and zoomed out to look at our planet from afar!
365 days a year – 24 hours a day – 7 days a week
If we watched the planet spinning on its axis from a great distance, we would see that it rotates around the sun in perfect order. It does not have an off day. It does not decide that a day is longer than 24 hours, it just is. The whole galaxy is engaged in this same order. Of course, a star may explode from time to time, but the whole process goes on quietly in order with no thought, no design and no control. The universe, as we know it, is in order.
When we come back to earth and look at a tree, you will see that it is in proportion. The flowers and the animals too. Wherever we look in the world, order is quietly at work. Even when we look at ourselves in the mirror we can see that our legs, arms, head, and our torso are all perfectly symmetrical, and thanks to modern science we can see that just as the earth orbits the sun, as does the path of an electron around the nucleus of an atom.
We are in perfect order. From the largest objects down to the smallest we know about, we can see that, in nature, there is perfect order. There is no escaping it. Or is there?
Let’s create some disorder
So if everything is in order, how can the world we inhabit be in such as mess? Why do we fight and kill each other? Why do we crave power? Why do we live in houses that are filled with junk, and litter our streets? We only have to look at a beautiful lake, with birds, and trees, and a mountain in the background, to see that nature is in perfect order. It just feels and looks perfect, doesn’t it?
Until you look down and see that some tourist has had their lunch there and thrown all the rubbish on the ground. Suddenly there is disorder. But if the human being is biologically in order, what could be causing us to create so much disorder?
Look at the cities, the cars, the pollution, the work we do, the governments, the wars, the way we treat animals and each other, the desires, the hate, the despair, the obsession with money, the rushing, the violence, the cutting down and clearing of forests. There is only one thing wrong here, and that is Man thinks too much! It can be the only reason we cause so much mischief in the world.
The ending of thought
Let’s go into this slowly and carefully together shall we? If I am saying that the universe is in perfect order, that nature itself is order, and that biologically all the cells in man’s body are perfectly ordered, yet I can see the trouble in the world is Man’s own doing, the only thing that cannot be in order is man’s thinking.
Does that make sense to you?
We don’t have to look far from home to see that everything we touch, we disorder. Thought is the enemy of intelligence. The intelligent man would not disturb nature in the way we have, yet we call ourselves intelligent, and all the while desire more money and more status, only concerned with what “I” can get out of life.
Governments try to keep “order” by laying down rules and regulations about what we can and cannot do, and even enforce it by using police, courts and prisons, but it makes no real difference while we are still thinking. We kill, and we injure, we intimidate, we hate and we destroy. That is the result of our thinking, and it has nothing to do with our heritage as hunters.
This is all new. This is our big brain saying: “I want to do whatever I want to do, and no one is going to stop me.” It doesn’t know that it is causing so much misery, it just wants what it can get. Thought is the biggest sickness in the universe!
So how do we stop ourselves thinking?
Unfortunately, the more I try to stop myself thinking, the more I think, and so on. We cannot force our minds to do anything they do not want to do. It is only when I see that I am the cause of disorder in the universe, that change can really happen. Can you see that it is your thinking that is putting the world out of balance, which is order? I’m sure you can’t.
You see, you’re too caught up in the “me” at the moment, and in an ordered universe, there is no “me,” there is only order! Does that make any sense?
Is the moon thinking of “me” when it reflects the light onto the earth’s surface that helps us see? Does the sun, think about “me” when it sends heat and light millions of miles to earth to sustain life, to give us warmth and to help the plants grow that feed us? No. In the same way as the stars do not think about “me” when they align and help people who are lost find their way home. They just are.
And if you are part of this order which is nature, then how can you escape it? The answer is, you can’t. You are part of the universe and it is part of you. You only “think” you aren’t; that you are separate, an individual. And it is this thinking of individuality that causes the “me” to come in, which is thought. My needs, my desires, my money, my job, my hopes and fears.
When you see that all is one, then what importance do your needs and desires have? You may “think” they are important, but that is just thought, which is disorder. When we develop true intelligence through awareness, the trouble we have caused will start to fall away and the world will return to order. If we don’t, then the world will still return to order, it’s just that we won’t be around to see it. Now that would be a shame. It’s our choice.
By alan macmillan orr
‘the natural mind – waking up’