by Thea Iberall
Nothing is static and stationary. Everything is changing. In the constant ebb and flow of existence, we create an illusion for ourselves that time exists, that we are in control, and that we grasp the world in and around us. But everything is changing. Including us. The universe works in cycles. Slow ones, fast ones. Everything in its path, in its own time, and in its own space. Slow cycles like the ocean basin cycle and the slow carbon cycle take millions of years. Heart beats and eye blinks take only seconds. Within our bodies, other things cycle through their paces. Our two-minute sleep stage cycle, our three-day water balance cycle, the 28-day menstrual cycle.
In the world we live in, there are other cycles. The fast carbon cycle, the 4-month ozone circulation cycle, the one-year sea ice cycle.
In the solar system, there are still more cycles. The Earth spinning on its axis, the 1-year Earth orbit, the 11-year sunspot cycle, the 1800-year lunar tidal cycle.
Sometimes I wonder, with everything changing within us and outside of us, how do we maintain a constancy? How do I continue being me and how do I continue believing the world that I know will be there when I wake in the morning?
I have a process inside of me called homeostasis which is from the Greek meaning "standing at about the same level." Homeostasis occurs in response to subtle ebb and flow. It maintains the internal stability of my body no matter what is happening around me. If it gets hot outside, homeostasis triggers my sweat glands. Too cold, and blood is short-circuited into my trunk. The same process works on my blood glucose, oxygen, fluids, and chemicals. It even works in my brain. The illusion I live under is that I am the same person throughout a day. The reality is that I am changing every second of every day.
The stability I cling to for my sanity is all an illusion. And the tighter I hold onto it, the more painful it is when various cycles amplify each other. To me, its loss. In reality, it’s just cycles.
I read about a theory called the Gaia hypothesis which says that living matter – the collective we of all living things -- has integrated with our inorganic surroundings in order to maintain the conditions for life on our planet. That we are part of a vast self-regulating organism. Our planet is a living system. By my actions, the planet works to keep me alive.
What I hear in these messages is profound: it turns my reality into illusion and makes me accountable for all my actions. It tells me to hold on loosely. To let go. I have to have faith that the processes in and around me will keep working, just as I have a responsibility to all living things to act with integrity for the health of the planet.
That is so powerful. See the meditation reading (see March 13) about the cyclical nature of life and spirituality. Where we get into problems, when you think of flow in that circle, is when people get constipated and bottle things up. What we have to do is keep that flow between us, other people and nature constantly going. There’s a natural tendency to attachment and to clutch onto things. But it almost never works. When you immerse yourself into that flow, it releases all sorts of power.
It seems to me, through all these systems and eons and periods, the through line is the heart.
That is true at so many levels. It keeps us going and it connects us and it keeps us open.
I think the reading was both at the same time reassuring and unstabilizing. My reflection is how important it is for me to take this in and see what it means for me. I’m often out of sync with the fact that I am part of something so much more vast, and that we are all in this universe together in some way. It’s a profound thing to really take in and feel the stability it could possibly give. What I feel most is unstable and unsure what it all means and how I interact with it.
Thank you for joining us today in this adven