871st Week: Honoring and Invoking Emergence

Sitting in Central Park one morning, I thought about an On Being interview I heard about the importance of hope when looking toward what needs to change in our collective world of human presence and activity. As I listened, I thought about the war in Ukraine and about the powerful polarization that exists in my country, the U.S., and also in other countries around the world.

From a spiritual perspective, I interpret this polarization to involve those who, perhaps because of fear, orient to a stance of individual rights, discomfort with “difference”, and what I would call an orientation to separation. And, on the other hand, there are those who orient to collective well-being, interdependence, and an underlying sense of oneness within our human family and with nature. I’m sure there are many people in the middle, but in our seats of power it seems that the polarization expresses itself in fairly distinct ways.

I’ve written before about a dynamic in Nature, emergence, that has given me hope over the years, even in times like these where our human family seems to orient to short-term goals and tribal kinds of interests. What emergence refers to is the tendency of Nature to generate unexpected and unanticipated solutions, creating new options to meet and shift existing conditions. The example I usually offer is how Nature somehow brought together molecules of air that, when combined, created liquid—when oxygen and hydrogen came together to create water. I don’t think anyone could have imagined that air could create liquid and yet our lives depend on this moment of emergence from so long ago.

I think of emergence, in a sense, as Nature’s creative intelligence grappling with and solving challenging problems and issues that arise in the course of life’s unfolding itself. When I look around the world at this time, I find myself thinking a lot about emergence and wondering how to “call on it” to help us resolve all the various ways in which our human family is harming ourselves and the planet.

For this week’s practice, then, I invite you to play with the following meditative process and notice how it feels to you. It’s a process of invoking, calling on, the Spirit of Emergence—of imagining that we can call on the intelligence of Nature to help us at this crucial time. In whatever way you imagine the intelligence of Nature is fine. I’ll call it the Spirit of Emergence for this practice, but you call it and envision it in any way that works for you.

  • Begin by settling in and taking a moment to follow your next out-breath down into the place in you that is your internal home base, the place where you settle when you bring your awareness inside.
  • Notice that this is your internal center of gravity and it has, as an ever-present aspect, an underlying steadiness that is always there, a steadiness that is never disturbed.
  • You might also notice the quality and tone of your radiating presence, as this place is where your core presence arises and flows from within you out into the world.
  • Also take a moment to notice how your body receives the support that is under you, and also maybe notice your body settling in just a little bit more.
  • Now, take some time to simply call on the Spirit of Emergence, or on the essence of Emergence, asking it to come into our world and offer solutions to the problems we humans have become embroiled in at this time. For me, I ask the Spirit of Emergence to offer solutions that will support our underlying relationship with each other and the world in the direction of a recognition of our interdependence and our oneness, that if any of us suffer it affects us all.
  • Some people like to offer a spoken intention or a ritual and you might see if something like that comes to mind that you’d like to include here.
  • Offer yourself as much time as you’d like to invoke Emergence into our world, and notice what resonates best for you in terms of how you do this.
  • When you feel complete, take a moment to again notice your own core presence, the steadiness that’s always there, and the support of your body—that you have this internal home base to return to whenever you feel a need to settle.
  • When you’re ready to come back, wiggle your fingers and toes, look at the environment that’s around you right now, and come all the way back.

As with all these practices, there’s really no right way to do this one. Rather, this is a suggested opportunity for you to discover what works best for you. Also be sure to acknowledge and accept any mixed feelings you may have, as they are part of your underlying wholeness.

And, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything about them.

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