When we think about the lack of action on climate change, as well as the ongoing rush to strip the planet of ‘resources’ and thus continue the devastation of the environment regardless of our obvious need to take care of the earth, we can easily slip into despair. Seeing as world politics including Australian ‘leadership’ seems to be going in the wrong direction, blind hope is not going to help us. So what do we do?

Aside from turning to the good things that are happening in our communities – and there are plenty of them! – we can return to the breath. Leave the societal realm behind and breathe into the body. This gets us back to the experience of awareness, of the one state we can definitely change for the better – our own body and mind. Deep breath awareness not only relaxes the mind and thereby reduces stress, it can also lower our heart rate and create space so that we are not merely reacting to the world at the moment, but exploring a space of freedom and creativity as well. We can also give some air to feelings that have compounded around the issue that has wound us up; we may feel sadness and grief, frustration and anger … this is a good opportunity to can allow ourselves to be human, to have the feeling and then to let it go (don’t rush!).

In the body, when we have breathed through our tension or anxiety, we can find comfort; we can recognise whatever needs to be changed, what it takes to be in our power, to be ready for action, to stand for what’s right, to be poised as an animate being capable of self-awareness … and when we have reignited these potentials, we can go further, breathe into the depths of the mind/body beyond the personal self, to the core truth of being human, which is that we are also more than this; we are interdependent beings, open to the elements through breath and ingestion, made up of DNA shared by plants and other animals and mitochondria and clay and water and salts …

Through breath we can find psychological freedom and return to the intertwined mystery of human being: we are consciousness embodied in self-aware primate form, both completely dependent on nature for our lives and also capable of experiencing ourselves beyond the limits of time and space. This is the paradox of being human; we are only here and now and also always more than this. Just like light and consciousness, metaphors for each other … but that’s another story, for another time.

For right now, return to breath, rebalance the self and remember the more-than-self, and return to the world ready to fight the good fight for another day.  Beyond all else …

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