Imagine…

28th August 2011

Imagine the last time you felt or heard your own heartbeat. Perhaps you were drifting into sleep and the steady thud of your heart was suddenly front and centre in your awareness. Or perhaps you were resting your head on a lover’s chest and you felt their heart. Imagine now that everything has a heartbeat and you can feel it. What would that feel like and how would you make sense of that experience?

When I say everything, I mean everything that we see, feel, hear, and experience here: the trees, the plants, the soil, the rocks, the wildlife (if you can get near it!), the air, the water – all of the natural world. And then the man made creations such as buildings, machines and so on. Imagine that all these things have a pulse that you can listen to and feel it in just the same way that you felt a lover’s heartbeat with your hand. Each of them may have a different quality or feel to them, but they are all “alive” in the way that I describe. Feeling this pulse is sometimes as simple as touching something and looking for its pulse – admittedly that’s a little trickier than measuring your own pulse at home! – while other times it is quicker and subtler. If you have ever been moved spontaneously by the beauty of a piece of music or art, then you may understand the experience of tuning into an aspect of the natural world and feeling its resonance and its pulse. This often happens in areas of natural beauty or moments when the power and energy of nature grabs your attention – storms and the rising sun are my favourites!

Writing these words is a simple and straight forward task but conveying the meaning and experience of this is not. Perhaps that has been the function of art – to transport us into an altered state so we can get closer to a truth or the essence of something. I am perhaps a little too prosaic in my language to transport anyone into an altered state 🙂

Two things strike me most about these experiences. One is that the energetic pulse I feel and experience in the world is essentially the same that I experience when connecting with a human being: the rhythm is the same or very similar (a slow steady pulse). The second is the emotional resonance that all things have: this varies enormously depending on what I am tuning into and its circumstances. For example, many trees in London have a great sadness in them that suggests that they are dieing. Whereas in places that are still natural and undisturbed, such as the forests and mountains, the emotional resonance is amazing.

It is clear that a human being is a very different entity from a tree or stone or animal: the manifest differences are obvious. A human being can also be differentiated from other forms of life in that it is highly individualized in consciousness, despite the herd mentality that prevails. This can be understand by looking at how most animals behave – they are herd or pack animals and move together. Domestic pets are different in that they have become more individualized.

So what does this all mean? I clearly have some artistic license here however my understanding of this is not as esoteric as it might appear. Firstly, quantum physics tells us that at a sub atomic level everything is made up of the same stuff: energy – and that the manifest reality that we observe and experience is an expression of that energy in many different forms. Secondly, many different strands of mysticism and philosophy have stressed the same thing: that there is an underlying unity of all things and that man’s experience of him/herself as separate from the rest of creation (including other people, the natural world, and anything else you can think of) is an illusion. And we have the opportunity to step outside of this illusion by connecting to and feeling the world we live in, and the rest of life that inhabits it with us.

Therefore, my current perspective on all this is that I am connecting in consciousness with the world around me in all of its many shapes and forms, and through my feelings I am experiencing the essence of whichever of those shapes & forms I chose to focus upon. The paradox of this is that I feel connected to everything, but separate and isolated in that this is – to say the least – a niche pastime :-))

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