We have not yet earned the title of 'homo sapiens' we gave to ourselves in 1758. Can't believe we gave it to ourselves! It was given by a Mr. Carl Linnaeus.

In terms of 'belonging' we are currently classified as a primate and belonging to 200 other species. Oh bliss. We are nearly 99% identical to our closest relatives chimpanzees and bonobos. Oh bliss! This explains my longing to be physically close to them! We need to restore that belonging and to earn this title of 'wise'. I believe this is done through restoring self-belonging. Until we understand and warm our internal world with compassion, thaw out the conditioning that separates us from our feelings and longings, our instincts and intuition, from each other's hearts and from the natural world, we will not have access to the wisdom that is needed to restore earthly belonging in a new paradigm where everyone's needs matter. When we continue to look outwards to ease our discomfort and pain to satisfy our needs, we will continually repeat the violent patterns in our ancestry.

For centuries now we have been hardening our capacity to feel, removing ourselves from the interconnection that is our natural heritage. We have been desensitised. A radical process of resensitisation needs to take place. If we can feel and breathe in the life force of our earthly belonging it becomes impossible to do harm, we just couldn't bear it.

I recently experienced this belonging through the bringing home of some of my plants that dear friends were taking care of for me whilst my life was a bit topsy turvy through the impact of the pandemic on my circumstances. I feel so warm towards them and around them. And I had a sense that they missed me. I realised I missed their loving presence and that perhaps they missed mine? 'Gardening', though I just have a wee paved area at the front of my home, has become a conversation with my returned friends. Wondering what they need, wondering how they are in this cityscape, and letting them know what a gift they are to me and that perhaps between us we can offer something out into the ecosystem. (I think a wee birdie might have visited the other day!).

So, when I have room in me for 'the other', whether that's human, animal or plant, ocean or wind, when I know and sense that I belong to them and them to me, I understand that the meeting of my human needs is entirely dependent on the mutual consideration of everyone's needs. This interconnection is, I believe, one way we can inherit the title of 'homo sapien', 'wise one', and is perhaps the wisdom that is now called for to heal the rupture between human beings and the planet that is our heritage.

Clare O'Sullivan

Resensitisation Through Compassion Coach


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