con-spirare: to breathe with
curiosity: formed from cura, to care
To conspire literally means to breathe with. I guess if you’re in the same bubble as someone then you are breathing with them. In terms of COVID and vaccination, there are two main bubbles. One bubble believes the current scientific medical approach is the only way and that anyone who believes otherwise is backward, a risk to society and should be corralled into compliance. The other bubble believes that the state, the scientific-medical establishment and the pharmaceutical companies are inherently corrupt, out to damage the wellbeing of individuals for their own power and profit, and should be brought down. People in each of these bubbles breathe the same stories as the others in their bubble, recycle each other’s air and reinforce the boundaries of their bubble. Being in a well-defined bubble gives us a sense of security in a complex, hard to understand and highly volatile world. Both of these bubbles could be defined literally as conspiracies, groups of people breathing the same beliefs together. (For an exploration of more perspectives at play around COVID and vaccination see my earlier blog To Vax or Not to Vax).
The most informed and useful position lies of course somewhere in between. The problem is that each of these conspiracy bubbles gets energy and a sense of identity from contrasting itself with the other, creating an either-or polarity where any middle ground disappears. Indeed anyone from within one bubble who even suggests that there may be something to learn from the other bubble is instantly accused of betrayal and lumped together with the other side (for an exploration of this “Assimilation Contract Effect”, see this blog).
The way to uncover a path forward that contains the greatest wisdom and compassion is by holding the two bubble poles in a dynamic relationship. As Iain McGilchrist’s work demonstrates so well, all life emerges from apparent opposites, from poles held in a creative tension. If one has two apparent polar opposites, there are two ways to relate to them. One can choose to see them as separate, and force an either-or choice. In this case destructive energy is likely to be the result leading to much pain and suffering. This happens because we have acted in contradiction to the actual reality, namely that all things are interconnected as part of one dynamic volutionary system. When we act in a way that breaks the natural relationships of life, we create a destructive spiral that leads to pain and suffering in and around us.
The other way to relate to apparent polar opposites is to hold them as two perspectives on one scale, in dynamic relationship. When we hold a space of tension like that with compassion and curiosity, we invite in the creative life-giving force that always seeks to transcend yet embrace the two poles. The general directionality of life is both increasing interconnectedness and increasing differentiation – ever more defined parts get seen for their unique qualities and contribution while those parts find themselves in more relationships with the growing number of other parts. Think for example how our discoveries of ever smaller parts of life have gone hand in hand with our discoveries of further reaches of the universe. Life reveals its smaller and larger scales in parallel. The microscope was discovered around the same time as the telescope.
When we hold open an apparently unresolvable tension between two poles, that life force seeks to make those parts whole, heals the apparent separation, with the emergence of a highest common denominator insight. In that process however it does not erase the identity of the two originating poles. In fact it clarifies and crystallises the role that each pole has to play, the contribution it makes to the whole. There is a recognition that without the creative essence of each of the poles, the higher truth would not have been able to emerge. The peripheral distracting noise of each pole – that is often related to past trauma – is burned away in the pure flame of something more life-affirming and functional than either of the original poles could have been on their own.
Care to be Curious
So how do we practise holding that creative tension open? Curiosity. Curiosity kills the conspiracy. Curiosity bursts the bubbles of isolation and separation, releasing the air and bacteria from inside of each to mix and co-create something way beyond, yet including, the core of each bubble’s real concern and commitment. Curiosity comes from the word cura, meaning care. When we really care about finding a solution to a challenge that honours the life force flowing from different perspectives, when we assume that deep down no-one can be 100% “wrong”, but that they are voicing some need in life (with more or less skill, more or less under the influence of pain from past trauma), then we create the conditions for life’s creative force, the natural intelligence, to show us the way forward.
This of course requires great discipline on our behalf. It is likely that something inside of us resonates with the pain and passion of one of the poles more than the other. If we are not profoundly relaxed and deeply aware then we can easily fall into the polarised rational argumentation of a fixed position. We need to remind ourselves that beyond the absolute Oneness there is no absolute truth. Every position in our relative world exists in relationship to other positions. We need to be curious about the essence of each position, to care about discovering why life has given expression to that position, what lies at its core.
Does this mean that we shouldn’t take positions and act on them? Absolutely not! No polarities, no life! We live in the relative world and have to take positions and make choices many times each day. The thing to remember is that each position we take has a relationship with other positions, that we can never be one hundred percent sure of the accuracy of our position, nor of the implications of the choices we make. That is what humility and curiosity is all about.
This practice is an example of the 3-2-1 practice that I describe in detail in this other blog. We see something as an “it” in the third person, for example a polar position on a subject – 3. We then look for its relationship to another pole, so the two poles become a second person “you” – 2 – to each other rather than separate “it”s. We then hold that relationship as a unified whole – 1 – and be curious about what form life is going to manifest that wholeness as.
This practice is not something we are educated or trained in. We are usually brought up to see the world differentiated as lots of third-person “it”s without the understanding or experience of their interconnectedness in the dynamic volutionary web of life. That is the reason for all the conflict and fragmentation. Learning to hold the differentiated multiplicity in the context of the whole within which it exists is a radical practice that I believe is at the core of how we can navigate through the current transition. As is the nature of these non-linear transitions we can expect to see more of the fragmented polarisation that will create increasing pain and suffering as we go against the grain of life’s natural order in parallel with the emergence of more creative polarisation that will reconnect Heaven and Earth, bringing in the light of more integrative intelligence to heal the splits and help us into a world of simple being as life itself. What we practice is our choice.