I/we (how is it ever only I, when we exist in interbeing?) write to you, wishing to experience a conversation from my place of home as a brown skinned Kashmiri Sufi raised in inner ‘working class’ London, England, community organising from the age of 9.
My felt sense, through my body, has been in purposeful healing processes and teachings for 22 years and is mingling with our collective body sense. As my friend Victor Lewis, Founder of The Radical Resilience Institute puts it – ‘we are but a body in the body of the world’ and I’m adding a body in the Duniya – meaning worlds within worlds. Here, I’m wondering about how our collective body shows itself and moves in shared spaces.
In speaking about the collective body I’m imagining an approximation of our combined energetic, physio, psycho and neuro biological and immunological body. Also I’m imagining our combined collective; unconscious and soul. And additionally, although humanity in viewing itself often separates itself from the body of the world, our mother earth and more than human life forms, to describe ourselves in separation as a separate body is like describing the human body without its fascia, the collagenic web holding us together. This is so much to feel and think of and so despite the fact that it’s happening anyway, meaning our perceiving is magnitudes further than even the masterful perceptions of the right hemisphere (1), in the spirit of the usefully reductionist left hemisphere of the brain and for the sake of brevity, I am going to ‘home’ in on the neurophysiological aspect of our collective body and then on our respiratory system and then take us to an idea about our collective immunology whilst keeping in mind and heart, to whatever degree is possible the whole collective body.
In Darcia Novarez’s – The Neurobiology of Human Morality (2) we meet the concept of the ‘evolved nest’ as a description of what as homo sapiens we received as a developmental platform for 96% of our existence and most crucially need from a neurobiological perspective in order for social emotional thriving and for our human nature to remain intact. This nest provides us a fundamental sense of safety and trust and meets our neurobiological needs. The reason this is so important is that when these needs are met and nurtured in an abundance of care for needs we quite literally become well organised or organised for well-being. We feel a sense of belonging and our bodies tend towards openness, where we are available for connection and relationship from which we tend to create communities and tribes that organise through reciprocity, gifting and egalitarianism rather than war and domination. We show up to share, co create and cooperate. This is of a motherist or matri-cultural lineage which bears no similarity with patriarchal and colonial organising.
Through the desecration of our ways of humanity and becoming human together in communities, tribes and villages. Through the pilaging, raping and spoiling of our mother earth home. Our bodies are struggling to feel ‘at home’ or safe enough to feel at home in the world. Too often we feel alone and isolated. The most devastating fear for any homo sapien is the fear of abandonment (3). In the devastation of allo -mothering and appropriate early childhood care and a traumatising schooling in our dominant culture most of our bodies experienced abandonment and rejection. The trauma of its memory lives strongly within us showing itself as low trust, low confidence, low self esteem and scarcity and separation complex behaviours. The cool inter-actions and depleted inter-relating this creates makes it difficult for us to enthusiastically and energetically co-create and organise together and collaborate well enough in order to create welcoming homes, communal spaces, communities, organisations and societies. There is little real welcoming place or space. Without our shared spaces where we can experience our power together we are vulnerable to the decisions of the owners of our so called democracies, who in disconnection to community life are further dehumanising public spaces in pursuit of profit.
As a collective body we feel fearful in the arms of the polycrisis created in the making of a frankenstein over 5000 years in the war and domination paradigm. The collective body is inflamed, malnourished, toxic, insane and suicidal all at once. An anatomy of injustice (4) has created full bodied breakdown. Our nervous system is duly alarmed and in sympathetic hyperactivity – fighting, freezing and flighting. As we fell our forests, suffocate our oceans, dig up dead life as fossil fuels and talk of ‘energy crises’ we are overwhelmed in feelings of powerlessness which sends us into bouts of depression – we feel layed low – our embodied energy crisis.
With an over-sympathetic nervous system we are over-breathing – taking too many breaths every minute (5). There is a feeling of breathlessness and our lungs feel the clogging up of the collective bodies airways. We now know we are at the mercy of respiratory viruses born in the violations of our earth connections and deep in the recesses of our unconscious we remember George Floyd saying “I cant breathe”. We need to catch our breath. We need to create capacity in our nervous system and respiratory system.
The collective body is in need of breath, rest, detox and community reconciliation. There are many pathways into creating capacity for what’s needed which in turn can trigger positive social tipping points. One pathway we are imagining is the restoring of our collective breath. We need to restore our breath in at least five dimensions (this is part of the praxis of work of Co Liberation) of being. In doing so we can enliven and create capacity for a global immune response to our virus of Wetiko (a native American Algonquin word for the insatiable spirit of consumption of the ‘white – man’) and its incisions and inflammatory diseases upon our body. This needs global interconnecting of islands of co liberation ready to repair and resist harm. An interdependence to create a safe enough earth home. This is what the Being The Change Global Affinity Network is putting into action.
Together with many of you in our vision field we feel the possibility of our collective body becoming a welcoming home. A home that supports all life and living.
- See Ian McGhilchrist, The Master and His Emissary
- See Darcia Novarez, The Neurobiology of Human Morality
- See Ronald Ruden, When The Past Is Always Present
- See Inflamed, Deep Medicine And The Anatomy of Injustice, Rupa Marya and Raj Patel
- See James Nestor, Breathe