Sunday, 20 February 2011

As Without So Within

Astrologers have a saying "as above so below", meaning that what goes on in the sky is reflected in what goes on down here. Now I'm not big on astrology, being a fairly rational kind of person (but we'll get to the faith vs science bit next week), but one thing I have discovered.

Whatever goes on inside ourselves is reflected in the outside world. And this is crucially important just now.

We are undoubtedly up against it, not only in this country (recession, bankers, Tories, spending cuts, petrol prices, food prices, pensions, social services, just give DC a horned helmet and call him Attila) but as a species, as a planet. Loss of biodiversity is the biggest threat to planetary survival at this time, and the biggest threat to biodiversity is climate change. We really are all in this together. It's time for radical action.

And yet. One of the biggest planks in my lúcháir project strategy is stress reduction. Meditation. Down-time. Chilling and living in the moment. Why? Because 'as within, so without'.

Why do we over-consume? Anxiety. We comfort shop. We defend ourselves with stock-piles of stuff we don't need 'just in case'. We feel we have to have our own stuff rather than borrowing because we are too uptight to lend or borrow comfortable. We have to have our own space because we get anxious being too involved with other people. We are security nuts (though this is a bad time to talk about security the week after almost all the sheds in the village were broken into. They didn't touch ours although it would have been dead easy, and they didn't seem to take anything but garden tools which was all they'd have got anyway). Everything from burglar alarms to nuclear weapons is a stress-related purchase.

We also make foolish, short-term and irrational decisions under stress, which inevitably leads to waste and inefficiency. And we fall down on our good resolutions, and then have to cheer ourselves up and start all over again. A stressed person is not only ineffective, but despondent, resentful, self-pitying, and frankly no fun.

If we are really going to tackle the enormous problems of the way we live, we are going to have to start with a bit of useless, self-indulgent navel-gazing. We need to be job fit. And that doesn't include guilt trips, bullying, or self-righteousness. Just chill for a bit, and we can start fair.


Floss said...

ABSOLUTELY true! I have done a lot of navel-gazing that I would have previously deemed 'useless' over this last year. The transformation not only in my life, but more importantly, in its effect on those I love (and perhaps on the world too???) has been more dramatic and more positive than most of the 'action' I took in pervious years. I have discovered that this is an ongoing project, though...

Elizabeth Rimmer said...

Oh, absolutely! And just when you think it's done, you do the slip down the snake thing and have to start over---