Looking at problems in an animistic way

You can begin to feel it in the air. That sense of anticipation, of deep knowing that winter is almost at its end, and that a season of new growth will soon be upon us. Can you feel it? If no, then stop reading now and take a moment to smell the air. It is full of excitement, alive and waiting for its turn.

And the reason we can experience this now is because winter came first. Because nature has allowed herself time to die, time to digest and shake off all the outgrowth of last year. Because space was created for something new.

It is something that our society does not seem to allow itself to do anymore. To take the time to die. They are afraid of the losing control, and of becoming irrelevant. But unfortunately that means that all too often we try to apply yesterdays solutions to todays problems, stubbornly refusing to realize that today is a different world, and the inhabitants speak a different language and have a different culture.

This blog is on animism, and so let us try to understand how an animistic understanding of life and death can be useful when we try to deal with the many issues that ail the world today. We shall begin with our conviction that everything has a spirit. That includes more things than just the entities that have a body. It includes ideas, and it includes problems. Yes, problems as well.

If it exists, then it will have some kind of consciousness. It is a realization that can help us when we want to find a solution. For the best way to fail at solving a problem is not properly understanding what the issue really is. We see the symptoms but we fail to recognize the heart of the matter. But it is by working to heal the heart that we can most often make the problem go away with the least amount of damage done. Better still, we might be able to turn the problem into an opportunity and a teacher. It becomes a winter that has much to teach us on how best to prepare for the coming of spring.

And so here is an exercise that I invite you to try: first think of something in your life or in the world that you think is a problem. Then, try to have a conversation with it. Of course, you will have to represent both sides. But try to allow the problem to speak through you, as if you were channelling. Do not think too much and write down the first answer that comes to mind. When you allow things to happen spontaneously, you have the best chance of capturing a message that contains some deeper truths from ‘elsewhere’. Then see how the answers help you prepare for the future…

Here is a little example to illustrate the technique:

The problem we will speak with is ‘overpopulation’.

Me: hi, could you tell me a bit about who you are?

O: I am the fact that society is fractured. As a result, there is no longer anyone trying to look out for the elderly and the weak. It has caused an attitude where every person became convinced that they had to breed their own social security. Now the reason is no longer remembered by most people in the rich west, but the idea that the burden of caring for elder parents falls exclusively to their own children rather than society as a whole still lingers.

Me: so you say that our focus should be in moving away from focusing so much on the nuclear family and instead reconnect communities?

O: before the time of explosive growth, people mostly lived in tribes. Children belonged to the tribes, and it was not considered as very important who their birth parents were. It was seen as the responsibility of the entire tribe to raise them, just like the tribe would have to take up its share of the burden in ensuring the survival of the tribe once it became an adult. And so the number of children was never more than the amount the tribe and the land could support. Making more children would mean condemning them to death, so it simply did not happen.

Me: but how could they prevent children to be born?

O: there have always been ways for that. Also, your kind have mostly forgotten the science of listening to the signals of the body. It is possible to know when a woman is fertile, if she truly knows her body well. 

Is this a real channelling? Hard to say. But it does bring inspiration. Why not stop worrying about how many people live on this planet, but instead start to focus on becoming community again, and thereby giving everyone a better chance at happiness, and giving our children a better chance to grow into mature healthy adults, than the way we do it now: forcing every person into near-total independence, after which we are surprised at how many of us fail to cope with that burden, and either break or are barely functional. And if we would manage to move to a way of living where people have time to do more than just survive and lick their personal wounds, maybe we would stand a better change of solving the mess that is the world we are living in…

I wonder what other problems have to say? Anyone feel like having a chat with climate change or the corona virus?


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