Last March, I – like many, many other people in the beginning of the pandemic — started writing a story. I envisioned it as a thick novel. I’ve never, ever before written a novel. I’ve written a handful of thin few and far between short stories. That’s it. But I had this idea and I got my notebook. It was a composition book with the cover patterned with printed cracks. I got a pen and I started sketching out ideas.
Where I got to was a story taking place a hundred years in the future. One of the main characters, Evangeline (my wife dislikes the name), would be looking back at our pandemic time and trying to understand what it was like when the world changed. The historically important time when humanity got on the right path. And since telling the story in Evangeline’s voice, I came up with a worldview for that world that time. Getting into the head of people, a hundred years in the future.
Most people at that time thought the world is a living creature and we as people are as cells. In this Earth-being, species communities are sorts of organ systems in the Living Earth.
Now listen to this: Over time, as I was working on the story (this was March/April), I started to believe it. Really believe it. It seemed so obviously true. And I still feel that way. And what I see supports this idea: The Earth is one being and we are just a piece of it and connected to all living beings in that in that way.
Not so many months ago, I came across this New York Times piece by Ferris Jabr entitled, The Earth is Alive. The article was written in 2019 — about a year before I developed my story. Jabr’s article was almost exactly the same as the world view I sketched out in the story and have come to believe. I mean, I do have a subscription and am a frequent visitor to nytimes.com. It seems likely that I had seen the article at some point, right?
In the Jabbr article, he explores the idea that the systems of the Living Earth, such as the water cycle and the exchanges in the atmosphere, are like our own circulatory and respiratory systems. Humans, as a species, constitute an organ system for the Earth something like our nervous system and brain. We observe, we understand, we remember, we are self-aware.
We are not doing well. As both species and organ system, we are doing the opposite of our purpose of keeping the Earth-body safe. How do we fix that!? Well, meditation is a good start. Any kind will do: walking, standing, sitting, yoga, tai-chi, prayer. All can help us to become more grounded when we make decisions and to make them in line with our values.
Adapted from TaoSong 15, The Gentle Movement, TaoSong 16