Stress, Culture, Gods and Peace of MindFeb 25, 2021
Many of you are currently experiencing stress, feeling low, or are having a hard time in general. The current climate of this pandemic with no clear answer as to how far away the light at the end of the tunnel is seems to be the main cause.
When life is challenging, culture can be the factor that keeps humans optimistic and hopeful even when they are isolated in the modern nuclear home. Think of the increase in consumption of video games, movies, series and even books, as a means to cope with what is currently happening.
For the first time in the known history of humanity, culture is centered around all that is human and human-made. This in contrast to how even in recent history, reverence of the other-than-human or more-than-human held a central position in society. In place of the divine we have famous people and technology.
Though I idealize nothing (except such everyday pleasures as delicious food), I do wonder if whether in times of strife with no clear end in sight, having nothing outside the human-made to interact with increases stress, anxiety and makes the overall situation harder psychologically than need be. This especially in a time when a pandemic reminds us humans of the fragility of our existence and diminishes our sense of control to increasingly precarious levels.
When life feels like it could be wiped out in an instance, life feels less meaningless in a purely human world than it does in a world filled with prosaic mysteries, gods, spirits, awe and wonder.
Engaging with forces beyond human control on a personal level can offer great reprise. Though it gives no control over outcomes and timing, it does give a direct experience of being part of something greater that is beyond the scope of our understanding, but nevertheless we are an important and intrinsic part of it. This gives meaning and peace of mind regardless of the situation.
The above translated into a practice:
Consider reality as the following two:
- A great invisible and intangible web that is constantly being woven and which connects all that exists. I like to think of this web as representing all the empty space, right down to the space between particles and atoms.
- All that is physical and can be touched, measured, and moved.
We might call the former the Weaver and the latter the Bones. These are prosaic and evocative names to make the abstract visceral for the person engaging with it.
You might try the following as an act of contemplation or, if part of your practice, meditation: Consider how most of everything is just empty space, including in your own body. Breathe into this, feeling yourself part of empty space. Empty space is also symbolic for potential and possibility. Then sense into all that is physical. Connect with it through your immediate senses: Touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste. Tap on your body, touch objects, look around you and really see, and do this with all your senses. Feel yourself as part of all that is physical around you.
As you do this, consider feeling yourself as part of these great beings. You are a piece of the great Weaver that weaves all reality, this force or being that was never born and will never die. You are part of the Bones of reality that is all we can sense and touch, shaped by time and necessity, always unfolding and changing.