How extraordinary, is it not, the way Mother Gaia has gained our attention at last? Such a tiny, subtle flourish to settle this gentle, CoVid blanket onto us and bring our braying, jangling civilisation into a moment of suspension. Neither a natural cataclysm, nor the black death; simply something as fatal as it needs to be but no worse; something that can make us realise so quickly how absolutely, short-sightedly fragile and unsustainable our collective living arrangements have become, while still allowing us to experience our fabulously rapid and deep-going adaptability and capacity to pull together and change course as a species.
From what little I can see from my local bubble and my echo chamber of remote connection to family and friends all over the world, we are all exactly where we need to be – which is not to say we’re necessarily enjoying it. That, too, is extraordinary, is it not? I invite you to appreciate the ways in which that is true for you.
Lock-down in paradise
My own circumstances bring me cause for gratitude every day. When the lock-down became imminent, I was in Vietnam, preparing to travel to a gathering I had been looking forward to for months. Instead, my soul’s homing imperative brought me to ground just in time: I needed to be home, where my feet could touch the land that has claimed me. This smallholding in rural Flanders where I now find myself, locked down in paradise in spring time; in close proximity with my small community of four humans on an acre of relatively biodiverse natural abundance, in a village with no shops within walking distance, still able to victual ourselves with largely seasonal, locally produced, often even organic food supplies. Thrown together day in, day out, we are tending our relationships more mindfully than before, noticing how little we really need and which of those things (and people) we are deprived of that we really value and miss. The land we steward together has never looked more tended and loved. We are tanned, healthy, well-nourished and relatively at peace. The one blight on my horizon is being forcibly separated from my Beloved.
I spend a lot of time online, mainly in collective zoom calls with my various networks and communities, and in one-on-ones with near and dear absent ones and souls seeking my witnessing. With the new norms of physical distancing taking a toll on our oxytocin levels, I notice how we are starting to get creative in how we connect in virtual space, recognising the surprising power and potential of our non-local energetic capacities to stimulate soothing physical responses in our bodies. This is NOT the magic of technology, methinks – just technology facilitating the awakening of a latent human capacity, if we choose to pay attention. Notice how the act of reaching out our hands to the edges of our video frames, as we gaze at a flat screen full of boxes holding human heads and shoulders all doing the same thing, can evoke an eruption of goosebumps and a surge of expansive warmth that explodes out from the heart. I can even engage in tantric practice with my Beloved, in lock-down half way around the world. The thing I miss most of all is his kiss. Being able to breathe the same air, directly, and feel contained in his embrace. That starts up a powerful, physical surge of longing in me that I don’t know what to do with… And that’s a key part of the story I want to tell with this letter.
Burning off karma
During this time of suspension in paradise, too, I find my nose being continually rubbed into my own shit. All my ancient wounds and traumas are being paraded through my system in a seemingly endless bucket list of things to heal. It’s one of the ways in which I know that I am exactly where I need to be. A chance comment, circumstance, thought or perceived slight triggers a disproportionate emotional reaction and I’m yanked into the Underworld. So I have made this my central practice for as long as this situation endures: I follow the thread of disturbance and pain wherever it leads me, and I surrender to what I find. Soon I discover that the subtle thread of present discomfort is attached to the string of a pattern of similarly discordant threads reaching out from the past; tied in turn to the rope of some childhood trauma; itself lashed to the hawser of family and ancestral wounding, shackled in turn to a massive, corroded and slimy coiled chain of shared pain-grief-horror-rage-despair-brutality-fear arising from the depths of the collective unconscious. This is the regular pattern: it happens every time. The intensity mounts faster the more I practice, and I soon find myself panting and blowing like a woman in labour, completely absorbed in the sensations of the crescendoing, descending torrent scouring through me, ripping away and flushing out anything in my system that isn’t an organic part of who I essentially am in this moment. Mercifully, the more I practice, the more quickly this process runs its course and the faster I recover. Sometimes I will have two or three waves of this in one day, some days I get a respite – or at least I think so, until I’m caught unawares by the next onslaught.
My Beloved sent me a quote from a book we are both reading, that placed my experience in context: “I saw that the generations born in our period of history had been deliberately configured to precipitate an intense cycle of collective purification. The poisons of humanity’s past were being brought to the surface in us, and by transforming these poisons in our individual lives, we were making it possible for divine awareness to enter more deeply into future generations.” (Christopher M. Bache, LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven). One thing is becoming crystal clear to me: we live in an infinitely intelligent, ensouled universe and humanity would be greatly helped and comforted if we could but awaken to that truth.
The future we do not want
Which brings me to the main purpose of this letter to my human family. After the disaster of Fukushima in 2011, Bob Stilger spoke words on behalf of the Japanese people: WE HAVE BEEN RELEASED FROM A FUTURE WE DID NOT WANT. The insight offered to the Japanese nation by the Fukushima disaster is now being made available to humanity as a whole in this Great Pause. The forced interruption of our addictive, numbing and brutalising busyness is allowing us to take stock of the way in which our globalised civilisation is hurtling towards a future that none of us want. There is a great deal of conversation going on already, in all my networks and, for sure, everyone else’s networks too, about how we don’t want to go back to business as usual (despite the imminent onslaught of advertising and political and media gaslighting that will try to convince us that that’s exactly what we do want, as soon as the lock-down is lifted) and about what we want the ‘new normal’ to look like. Many are already busier than ever, at their computer screens, zooming with their peers around projects and prototypes for changing the world.
I was recently gifted two days of migraine. I took the opportunity to practice my practice, and followed the pain where it took me. It took me to a place of utter stillness, and then deeper and deeper, through a portal like a black hole and out into the infinite expanses of The One. Just stillness, pristine presence, and aloneness. The unfathomable loneliness of The One for whom there is and can never be an Other. I was given to understand that the impulse at the heart of all creation is an unbearable longing that prompts The One into a continual, spontaneous and exuberant process of self-differentiation, multiplication, complexification into The Many that we experience as ourselves and the world around us, all the way out to the farthest reaches of the universe and all the way in to the quantum field. All born of the fabric of The One, and all drenched in that same primordial longing for communion and self-knowledge.
My sense is that it is still premature to be seeking to design our future. Before we head back into activity – even activity to build the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible – we would be well advised to learn how to find and access our individual and collective Still Points and practice spending time there as a matter of course.
The path of longing
As we turn towards contemplating the future that we want, then, let us be inspired by the example of The One. Since that migrainous encounter, I find I when i tune in and return to the Still Point, The One remains available. Yesterday I asked for guidance. The response I received is what has prompted this letter.
At the root of Creation lies Longing.
For Manifestation to unfold with ease,
it must hold the Integrity
that arises from the wellspring
of our deepest Longing.
Imagining a “solution”
to satisfy that longing
will foreclose the future
into something that resembles the past,
because all we can imagine holds the blueprint
of what we have already experienced.
Let us then tell the story
of the path that brought us here to this moment
as an echo of the whispered longing
that brought us to our birth.
This is how we can keep our lives on track
and our undertakings in integrity
with the power at the root of creation.
In other words: before we start ‘designing’ and ‘building’ out of our limited conceptions, let us begin by tapping into our deepest longings. We can do this by taking stock of our lives, by exploring the depths of our own lived stories in search of that throbbing, aching longing and what it tells us about our truest heart’s desires.
I’m not going to share my life story with you here. The relevant pain points touch directly into the lives of others whom I prefer respectfully to leave anonymous. If you’re curious, you can read my personal fairytale here. When I tell my life story in this way, these are the longings I find:
A longing for relationship, connection, true intimacy
A longing to be seen, witnessed, appreciated for who I am
A longing for love, support, holding, guidance and accurate mirroring
A longing to spontaneously and fully express my life force, my love, my gifts
A longing for the sacred, the numinous, the ultimate; for the Good, the True and the Beautiful
A longing for simplicity, for nature, for balance in all things, for enough
A longing for a picture big enough to make sense of all the dimensions of my experience.
I recognise these longings as mine. There might be some that resonate with you, dear reader, and I do not doubt that you will have some longings that my life experience has not yet prepared me to embrace. My heart’s desire is that you will feel invited to join this inquiry, sink into your own story and place your longings into the centre of the imaginary circle of all those who have appetite to join it. Imagine a pool in which all our longings can co-exist and nuance and transform each other.
What would a world look like in which everything that was designed and built by humans was tested against criteria informed by a living pool of our deepest and most potent longings? What would a human culture look like in which our participation was focused on fulfilling the longings of every person on Earth, in a way that Mother Gaia and all her other children, too, could rejoice and participate?
What longings would your story add to my list? If you would be interested in joining a virtual circle where we experiment with taking this practice further, please ping me in the comments.