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The Wave & The Ocean Podcast

Author: Nicholas

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Non-duality & spiritual ecology
2 Episodes
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Letting Earth Lead Us into Rest — Co-regulating with Nature and Honoring the Body’s Capacity as Colonial ResistanceFor the past five years, I’ve had the honor of learning directly from incredible teachers — most of them indigenous. And one of the greatest teachings I’m assimilating is the recognition of this body as an ecosystem. Millions of living organisms coexisting on a vast landscape with its own water, earth, wind, & space… bacteria and virus cells that outnumber human ones… the DNA of our ancestors, their stories, successes, and struggles…All coming together to create this human body. The earth around us is also an ecosystem. And anywhere you look, at any scale, you see an ecosystem… infinite ecosystems within ecosystems within ecosystems, each piece a part of some whole, but each of those wholes also piece of some even bigger whole (hehe). In December 2019, after half-a-lifetime of chronic health issues and treatments, I was eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease (and a laundry list of other opportunistic infections). Since then I’ve had severely limited physical capacity. So in recent years, my experience with illness — and the wisdom of my teachers — has guided how I navigate the winter season. I pay closer attention to the changes in the earth around me. The sun works shorter hours, trees drop their leaves to conserve energy, and most animals either migrate, significantly reduce their activity, or hibernate entirely. And my body changes in the same way. It sleeps earlier. It wakes up slower. It longs for the warmth of a hot beverage, a soft blanket, or a crackling fire.The wintery landscape of these seasonal bodies craves rest, comfort, and slowness. Yet work hours, activity levels, and the ever-increasing pace of modern society remain the same. We’ve been forcibly separated from nature and tethered to the “always on” machine of capitalism so that only the most privileged among us are able to migrate, reduce their activity levels, or truly rest.Bodies forced beyond their capacity respond with fatigue and depression, so we create diagnoses like Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) — just one example of how the colonialist system blames individuals for systemic problems. That’s why co-regulating with nature and honoring the body’s capacity is so important. Rest is resistance. Yes, it’s impossible or highly impractical to abandon capitalism outright, and we all have varying degrees of privilege and accessibility. But resistance starts by ending oppression with ourselves. Here are some of the ways I’m navigating this winter season: — I notice my desperation to escape coldness. The body constricts. I inhale and exhale deeply, and allow my body to relax in any places it is able. — I enjoy heat in my home, but turned low. Coldness is a natural occurrence, rather than something to conquer. — I go to sleep earlier, and wake up slower. If I need to, I’ll have a short nap in the afternoon. — I make up for less sunlight by getting sun on my skin each day at sunset and sunrise, and I avoid screens (tv, phone, etc.) in the evenings. — I am taking a break from Instagram for the month of December.These are just a few ways I’m learning to co-regulate winter rather than resist it, but I’d love to hear from you. Do you have your own ways of embracing the season and honoring your body during winter? Comment directly on this audio to share with me. With love,Nicholas This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit thewaveandtheocean.substack.com
Welcome to The Wave and The Ocean podcast, a space for non-dual spiritual inquiry and decolonial healing. I’m your host, Nicholas, and in today’s episode we are going to be exploring the phrase: “Healing Happens in Relationship”What does it mean, what doesn’t it mean, and most importantly… how can we apply it to our everyday lives?Let’s begin. The dominant culture in western society is individualistic. Self-reliance and individual freedom are among our highest values. I say this not as a value judgment, but as a statement of comparative fact.Many of our deepest wounds occur in isolation and separation. Yet for some reason we think we can — or even should — solve our problems on our own. We’re conditioned to feel weak asking for support, relying on other people or institutions, or even acknowledging our obvious interdependence with nature. But despite our sincerest efforts to deny it, the truth persists:To be seen and held in community is a basic need, and we’re not meant to survive, thrive, or heal alone. We are in relationship with all of life. And knowing this underlying truth, we are naturally invited to examine the hazy boundaries of what we call our “self”. Because if I can’t do it on my own, then I must include more than just me! Right?In my spiritual tradition of Advaita Vedanta, a foundational practice is Viveka — discernment. It’s a persistent inquiry into the nature of the self: who I am, and who I’m not. You may have heard the notion that you are not your body/mind…. that you are a spiritual being having a physical experience. Perhaps you even subscribe to it. But through consistent Viveka with a qualified teacher we come to not only accept that we are not the decaying body nor its racing mind — but also to understand how that’s true. And this great remembering creates a fundamental shift in our being: Because if I am not the body/mind… if I am separate from it, beyond it, and it arises within me… then I must be in relationship with it. (If you’re not yet sold that you are separate from your body/mind, that’s okay. I intend to explore nondual self-knowledge more in future articles; gradually and methodically, as per my tradition. But for now, I hope you’ll take this idea on faith, just for the duration of this short inquiry)If I’m in a relationship with my body/mind, I get to choose what kind of relationship I’m fostering. I can seek connection, understanding, reciprocity, and compassion with my body/mind. Or I can control, judge, force, or extract from it. As in all my relationships, I can seek to relate… or to dominate. If my aim is right relationship with all my relations — what the great Andean mystics call Ayni — then my body/mind is just another arena to hone my skills. And from that awareness, healing begins to emerge. So now, let’s switch gears by taking a more practical approach to this idea of treating our body as a relative rather than a resource. Because these are beautiful words, but how can we apply them to our everyday lives?First, let’s explore what it looks like to be dominant with our bodies. (for many of us, this will be our norm — if that's the case for you, try to be curious about it, rather than judgmental)
* I take what I want from my body, whenever I want, never giving back or considering how my body will be affected by my actions
* I force my body to do things it’s not prepared to do even if it is tired, afraid, etc., subjugating its capacity to my mind's desires
* I seek to fix, improve, optimize, upgrade, & control my body, judging it when it doesn't conform to my ideals
* I treat my body as a tool to achieve my ends rather than as a sovereign being with its own needs, experience, etc.
* I forget my body when I’m not using it for my ends, failing to check in on it, nurture our relationship, give thanks, etc.Conversely, what does it look like to be relational with our body?
* I take from my body only what I need, reciprocating where I can & being mindful how my actions affect my body
* I honor my body’s capacity as distinct from my mind’s desires, considering its needs, and compromising where appropriate
* I meet my body where it is, seeking understanding and connection through dialogue & curiosity
* I treat my body as an equal partner and teammate, working with it to achieve a commonly agreed upon goal
* I check in with my body, learn to understand its sensations, say thank you, and nurture our relationship with time & energy
Here's an illustration to more clearly visualize these key differences. Now I’m no relationship coach, so I’ll take my exit here and leave it between you & your body to explore your dynamic. Suffice it to say that — in my experience — the usual relationship clichés ring true. Communication really is key ;-)Until next time! This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit thewaveandtheocean.substack.com
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