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    Wow, I'm having a really hard time figuring out what to say about naturalness -- this is my third or fourth try.  Co-dependent arising is such a tidy, well-defined term with very few correlates in common-use English language, whereas naturalness has so many connotations -- cultural, personal, context-specific (romantic literature, science, food labeling, environmentalism) -- I'm feeling flummoxed by all the things that could be said, and all the corrections and clarifications that could be layered on top of that.  I don't want to say I love trees, and have that mean I hate Vegas or something like that.

    Luckily, Eliza has posted a very expressive and lovely piece on naturalness as a starting point (  I'm in an analytical mood, and the list that follows won't do justice to what she's written, but it'll help me sort my thoughts so here goes...

    *) Naturalness as directness/authenticity:  The teachers love to remind students that it's more important to investigate directly, rather than cling to a notion of teachings that "should be realized" or, more broadly, any notion of right and wrong and how things should be.  I have no quibble with this -- just a note that words like no effort can make it sound like nothing happens, but actually it's a very dynamic and activated situation -- vivid.

    *) Acknowledging our connection to nature as a way of including and respecting body and world in our experience of self / lived presence / mind:  Weirdly, I'm getting stuck on this point in particular -- it was the focus of all previous attempts.  There was a blurb in there about how the use of the eyes connects to the quality of mind, for example, or how the movement of a human body can be the direct expression of the surrounding space of trees and sky, or how the presence of a river outside the window can make available a sense of no contention, no movement in movement, the unborn.  But somehow, with each attempt, it sounded like I was trying to make a distinction between natural and man-made environments (not what I meant to say!).  I also didn't mean to imply that this more inclusive sense of self was the same as the ground of being.  Help!  Maybe Eliza can provide some clarification?  

    (A possible angle:  On Sunday, Eliza described a "genetic" shyness, and how openness/sunyata helped to make this a much lighter burden, a less coercive feature of her life.  It could be said that this shyness was natural (at least we Westerners recognize genetics as a part of the natural order of things), but the way she described it, dropping or releasing that shyness was also quite natural.  It's probably unfair to ask for a comparison of the two kinds of natural, but I wonder if Eliza would like to add anything.  For example, one feature that seems common to both kinds of "naturalness" is a recognition that it's not "your" doing or your fault, but that in both the cause of shyness and the release of it, a larger dynamic is in play.)

    *)  [more in a bit!]

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