When we hear about our connection with all life, or see a video illustrating the evolution of our distant ancestors, do we see it as something interesting and not much more? Or do we feel it?
Do we feel that these are are ancestors? Do we feel that all life is related?
In a practical – and social and political – sense, that makes all the difference.
If our connection with all life remains intellectual for us, it doesn’t do much for us or life.
But if we feel it, if we feel it in our body and bones, that makes a huge difference for us and possibly for all life. That’s when it gets translated into action.
How do we feel the connection with all life?
So how can we shift from knowing to feeling?
One is intention. If our intention is to take it in and feel it, we have a much better chance of doing so.
Another is through combining our knowledge with feeling. When we watch the video above, how is it to take in that these are our actual ancestors? How is it to let it work on us? How is it to feel it?
We can also seek out whatever evokes this feeling, for instance through being in nature with the intention of noticing and feeling our connection with all life. We can also do this through poetry, documentaries, movies, and fiction writing. And we can seek out talks, books, and workshops about deep ecology, deep time, the universe story, and the epic of evolution.
The Practices to Reconnect from Joanna Macy is also a powerful way to bring this alive for us and feeling it more deeply and directly.
For me, watching the Carl Sagan’s Cosmos when I was ten had a profound impact on me in this direction.
Additional ways to open up for feeling our connection with all life
There are also approaches that may seem indirect but deeply support these shifts.
The more comfortable we are in feeling our own sensations and our own body, whatever it is that’s going on there, the more we’ll feel our connection with all life.
The more our heart is open, the more it’s open towards all life. We can open our heart in many ways, including through finding comfort with whatever we are feeling, and heart-centered practices.
We can do inquiry on any of our beliefs that separates us from the rest of life. For instance, that we are a separate being, that humans are inherently different from the rest of life, that’s it’s scary to feel a connection with all of life, that compassion for all life will be overwhelming, and so on.
We can find ourselves as what our experiences – of ourselves and the wider world – happens within and as. Here, we find that the world happens within and as what we are. In our direct experience, the world is one and it always was, we just didn’t notice.
Each of these and many more approaches helps us open to feeling a connection with all life, deepening that feeling, and act on it and bring it into our daily life.
Why is this important?
Knowing about our connection with all life is a start but it’s not enough for real changes in our perception and how we live our life.
The more deeply we feel our connection with all life, the more we act from it. The more we make choices that bring us and society and our civilization one step further in a more ecologically sustainable direction.
Wait a minute, isn’t this mostly about stories?
Yes, some of it is. It’s about stories from science.
When we watch the video above and use it to feel our connection with our ancestors and all life, we use a story to evoke a feeling. We use stories from science to evoke and deepen our feeling of connection with all life. That’s what the universe story and the epic of evolution is all about.
That’s not a problem, it’s just good to be aware that this is what we are doing.
The one thing here that’s not dependent on a story is finding ourselves as what all our experiences – of ourselves and the world – happen within and as. Here, there is an immediate recognition of oneness, and to the extent we take this in, it leads to a transformation of our perception and life in the world.
Feeling and acting our age
I thought I would add a quote from the QI social media feed earlier today.
We aren’t entirely ‘made of stardust’. About 9.5% of the mass of the average human body is made up of hydrogen atoms that are older than the stars, formed in the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
Do I take this as an interesting fact and not much more? How would it be to take it in? To feel it?
How is it to feel that a part of this body and who I am, is made up of matter unchanged since the beginning of this universe? How is it to take in and feel that the rest is matter from the beginning of this universe, transformed in stars?
How would it be to act my age?