Conscious Parts of a Living Whole
We’re alive. We’re conscious. Our bodies are finely tuned orchestras of chemical processes that feel like something. We have access to much deeper knowledge about the universe and our place in it by becoming attuned to the sensations and experiences of these processes. We have more control over these processes than we have been led to believe.
Knowledge is Embodied
Knowledge is not something you carry around in your head. It permeates your being, sets up the pathways of reactivity in your body, and programs your responses. What you think, rationally, can be overridden by what you believe, deep in your cellular structure. Even when you become convinced of the validity of something, the process of integrating it into your being can be challenging and time-consuming. This is why scholarship must be combined with practice if we want to create real and lasting change.
Knowledge is Partial
What you think/believe about the world depends on where you are standing. It is also (necessarily, and always) incomplete. The ethical pursuit and application of knowledge must include humility and openness to new information.
There is wisdom in stillness. The world’s knowledge traditions point to the existence of a deep reality to which we have direct access. I have experienced so many instances of “auspicious coincidence” as a result of intuitive actions that I am convinced of the truth of these claims, no matter how challenging they may be to our “rational” minds.
There is Only One Thing
Each of us, although we are experiencing the universe from our separate viewpoints, is part of a larger continuum, which is part of a larger continuum, and so on, all the way up to the Universe Itself. Material reality emerges from a seething bath of energy, all of which is in constant communication (is, in fact, interconnected and self-aware).
Our Local Actions Matter
Sure, on a cosmic scale, our suffering is irrelevant, and everything is OK. But we’re not living these lives out on a cosmic scale. Your pleasure (and that of the people you interact with) is the pleasure of The Universe. The river filled with garbage, the clear-cut, vast swathes of humanity living in poverty and desperation… these things all matter. They are worthy of our concern and attention.
You Don’t Have to do Everything
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the world, even in the face of the enormity of the cosmos. You are not the only one. You do not have to solve all the problems of the world simultaneously; you do not even have to immerse yourself in all the problems of the world.
The overwhelmed and the despairing cannot take action even on the things they are in charge of. You, yourself, are worthy of your own love and care. You are allowed to stop and drink a glass of water, to eat a beautiful piece of fruit, to take a nap.
Community Care Matters More
You are a soft social being that needs others. We are stronger together, but we are also softer together. Both are good. We are happier when we can depend on one another, offer our gifts, and receive support. Sometimes it’s your turn to help, and sometimes it is your turn to be helped. The community is stronger when we take those turns.