This layer is about working with the wholeness, vitality, mystery and complexity that surrounds us and creates us in every moment. We will be seeking to understand how the community of many being supports us, and we will be imagining into how we might offer our support back to the great holding.
Other people come into this layer for their role in the vast system of life and love that we are embedded within – not as personalities, but as fellow participants.
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. — Einstein
Ah, not to be cut off,
not through the slightest partition
shut out from the law of the stars.
The inner—what is it?
if not intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
The work of this next layer is to feel into what we, the community of people, only some of which are human, are together. To listen to and tend our circles of human people, but also the plant-people, the bird-people, the river-people, the alive earth underfoot. To feel into this intimacy, this letting go of self to dive into many, many voices, many possibilities.
You, the multitude. You the self as yet unknown. Wherever you are, to lean into the inner, the self spooling into space, into other beings, into tree and bird and earth. Into cloud and rain and drink. Into wind and breath.
Breathing in, breathing out. Taking in, and giving back. Our bodies do this naturally, but how do we align our conscious minds to our embodied reality? Learning conceptually and somatically how deeply we are held, then learning how to serve, may be a way to do this.
To give and to serve — how might this be a subtle as a quiet breath, as a slant of mind? Not making a fuss, perhaps, but being like, being kin.
Art, and spiritual practice, both may seek to give by making beauty. Or subtler still, by being beauty. Being beautiful for a world we love. Being gracious, eloquent, aligned, as seamless as relaxed breath. Not rippling the loveliness of a listening world with jagged thought or speech.
A yoga teacher of mine once described it as ‘cultivating the disposition of listening.’ Thus in this way being alike to a listening world. Silken might be the felt sense of this. To become so smooth and seamless that you can slip between the cracks that lead into the other world, and there find yourself within the body of another.
In some important ways any individual being will tell of the whole. But we may also find that some are particularly emblematic, or evocative, of wholeness — or at least have personal resonance. Our work together will be to interweave these stories into a felt sense of wholeness.