awakening into connection
For those of you who prefer to read, rather than to listen, this is the written version of episode 2 of the podcast
awakening into connection
We’re suggesting four steps to get us to a place from which this can happen and in today’s podcast, I want to look more deeply at the first of these steps, the one that is key to everything – connecting with the natural world, what we’re calling Re-Awakening into Connection
Which is a part of our heritage, really, it is…. Our dis-connection from the rest of the living world is such a recent event in the evolution of humanity. Perhaps it was necessary to get us to where we are, or perhaps it was a really basic mistake, I don’t know, and I imagine we’ll never find out. But the fact remains that back in the ancestor lines of each one of us, are people who knew how to connect heart to heart with the web of consciousness that spans this planet – – and there are people alive today who still know this.
the other side of eden
In his book, The Other Side of Eden, Hugh Brody describes living amongst the first peoples of the US north west – including a time when he was told he had to rise at 4 o’clock the next morning because the elk had come. He got up at 4… and everyone else was asleep. He woke someone and they looked at him like he was crazy and told him to go back to sleep because obviously the elk hadn’t come – and how could he not know this?
Half a month later, he was shaken awake at 4am because ‘the elk are here’- and again, how could he not know when everyone else was up and ready? He threw on some clothes and they started walking through the forest – and walked for 3 days.
My memory’s a bit hazy, but I think they had to make a litter and drag him along for some of it because he wasn’t up to the walk… but the point is – they all knew when the elk were or were not there. And that was back in the 1970s, it’s not out of reach – we can do this – – – – as long as we understand something of what it is we’re connecting to, and how we’re going to do it.
What we’re connecting to is the web of consciousness, which I know doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on first hearing. I do have an image, though –
A web of living light
When I did the meditations leading up to this podcast, a number of images kept coming up and one of them was of the earth as seen from the moon – that beautiful blue pearl of a planet swimming in the blackness of space… but in the vision, it’s surrounded by a fantastically intricate web of light – sometimes it’s moonlight, sometimes it’s sunlight – but there are millions upon millions of strands of light interweaving in fantastically complex patterns across the globe. And at every crossing point, is a node of consciousness.
And this isn’t just the obviously sentient, conscious brilliance of the red kite or the fox, the toad, or the Humpbacked Whale – this is about us recognising the consciousness in a rock or a river, a tree, a forest, the mycelial mat in the forest floor, the bacteria of the microbiome. In this image, everything from a single cell to a mountain has consciousness….
consciousness – all is possible
That’s my image. Yours might be different. There are a lot of models of consciousness from the Panpsychists and animists who believe more or less what I’ve just said, to the hardcore Cartesian materialists who seem, as far as I can tell to have solved the hard problem of consciousness by saying it doesn’t exit – consciousness, that is, not the hard problem – and the hard problem is how does the set of physiology and biochemistry and neuronal networks of our brain create consciousness in the first place. Particularly when some of the most exciting features of our consciousness seem to occur when our brains – to the best of our ability to measure, are non-functional. We’ll explore this in much more depth in another podcast – probably several other podcasts… probably the whole of our project for as long as it lasts, which I sincerely hope will be until we find a way to an evolutionary paradigm shift.
But what matters to us is our direct experience. If your direct day to day experience is that only humanity is conscious, then go with that until or unless it changes. My day to day experience is that the rocks and the trees and the rivers and the red kites feel conscious to me, but I’m not going to push that one anyone. What matters is that we can build relationship and that is definitely possible, whatever your belief system.
taking our place
There’s a huge liberation in this – in the letting go of having to have all the answers, in accepting that we are astonishingly creative, amazing beings – we are the product of millions of years of the evolution of consciousness – but it may be that sorting this is not our job. Our job is to BE who we are, in the right place at the right time, open to whatever comes, flexible enough that we can act in the moment, doing what we are here to do – that nobody but us can do. None of this is new, it’s just that we lose it in the heat and fluster of our days.
So, part of becoming the best of ourselves, of being the best that we can be, is learning to step into the power of being and stop the heart-blinding terror of thinking we have to find answers on our own.
And yes, this is easy to say, harder to do, but speaking as someone for whom this has been a lifelong quest, I can tell you it does happen – it’s just that it takes time. We live in an era of instant gratification and this doesn’t fit that model. So, we need to make a conscious choice to build the habits of connecting, just as we will need to build the habits of coherence and focusing our attention into clear, crisp intention.
So that’s it for this podcast. We’ll talk about this second step, of learning to let go of our stuff and focus intention what we’re calling Growing into Coherence – in the next episode.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!
Episodes in our Introductory Series
A free meditation from the Accidental Gods ‘connecting with water’ series. Put on your ‘seven league boots’ and head in the direction of the setting sun into the time before people were here.
Stand on the shores of a Loch and discover something new in the depths of yourself.
Manda talks to Sacred Earth Activism about how her Boudica novels can be an inspiration for present-day earth activists.
Imagine a future where our great grandchildren look back and say, ‘Yes, it was hard. Yes, they made mistakes. Yes, they left it way, way too late, but that was because they didn’t know what to do. And my goodness, when they had the visions, they threw themselves into making them happen. And we’re here now, living lives we love, because they took the risk to change the way things worked.’
How can we embrace our humanity and use it in service to the earth and all that lives? How can we bring the best of ourselves to the best of the Web of Life in full understanding of the chaos of the moment, with full and open hearts? Deena Metzger, elder, wisdom-keeper, poet and visionary, has given her life to finding answers – and shares them here.
Ece Temelkuran is an astonishingly astute, great-hearted writer. Joining us from Zagreb, she gave us an hour of wisdom, insight and compassion, based around her book ‘TOGETHER: 10 Choices for a Better Now’ – with an international audience and some cracking questions, this is our gift to you this weekend.
In a world where the only constant is change, how can we find the best of our wisdom? How can we find true connection to the spirits of the places we live so that we might learn better how to be in the transition that is coming? How, above all, can we approach death with equanimity, and even joy? This week, we explore all of this with author, mythicist – and elder – Sharon Blackie.
How can we begin to reverse the destruction of our countryside, the pollution of our rivers – and our disconnection from the Natural World? Beavers, of course. Eva Bishop of the Beaver Trust tells of the UK introduction of beavers and puts it in a whole-system context.
When Forrest Landry was 16 years old, he took a vow to meet the Natural World openly, fully, without any projection or expectation on his part – he was not going to take one step and wait for the rest of the world to take 99 steps to him – he was going to go all the way. His life has been shaped by the experience – and he talks to us this week about where that has taken him.
COP 26 takes place in Scotland in November. How can ordinary people persuade our elected Overlords that they need to change the system? Across the UK, Climate Actions are being prepared. We speak to two people involved in Pilgrimages to Glasgow about what drives them and what they hope will change.
What is it that makes us human? How can we bring the best of ourselves to the current crises – individually, and as a civilisation? This week, we talk to Matthew Taylor, former Chief Executive of the RSA, former political strategist to Tony Blair on the road to a better future.
As our world hurtles towards tipping points, how can we be part of the solution? How can we find resilience, in ourselves, our lives and our communities? Above all, how can we bring Active Hope to the world? Dr Chris Johnstone and Madeleine Young have set up an online training course based in Joanna Macy’s work that reconnects and we talk about it in this week’s podcast.
As we hover on the edge of the Great Turning, how can we find a spiritual practice that draws from the roots of who we are and yet provides the sustenance we need to help us navigate our changing world? Sue Philips of Sacred Design Labs explores the possibilities.