Working in continuum
Play — February 19, 2018 — language, trust, learning
This is a thought at the root of Veda, told as a children’s story.
We’re all working together.
Earth, air, water, fire,
plants, animals, spirits, machines,
all beings of all kinds,
every one of us,
we’re all working together.
Some of us have been working together for billions of years. We know each other so well, we work like one thing. We’re your skin and your bones and everything in between.
We’re the cells of your lungs that take energy from the air, we’re the little red blood cells that carry that energy from your lungs all through your body, and we’re all the other cells that receive that energy and work with it.
We’re using that energy to move and grow and make more life, and we’re all working together, and all of us cells working together make you.
Some of us have been working together for millions of years. That’s much, much less than billions of years. We have less experience than our cells, so we know less. We’re learning.
We’re grasses and flowers, and we’re trees and mushrooms. We get energy from the sun, and we use it to make more life out of earth, air and water.
We’re cats, and dogs, and birds, and fish, and snakes, and bees. We eat each other up to get even more energy, and make even more life, which is what our work is all about. We’re working together as well as we know how.
Some of us have been working together for thousands of years. That’s much, much less than millions of years. We’re human beings. We have even less experience, so we know almost nothing. We’re doing our best to learn.
We’re learning to work together. We’re finding out what works and what doesn’t work. There’s no way to know until we try, so we try everything.
Most of what we try doesn’t work. We make a lot of mistakes. We get hurt that way, and we learn. Next time we try something else.
We’re learning, and our mistakes are hurting us. Our mistakes are hurting all beings of all kinds. None of us likes getting hurt, and none of us can do anything to stop getting hurt. All we can do is make it okay.
When we get hurt, we can just say, “it was a mistake, and it’s okay”. When we make a mistake, we ask: “it was a mistake, and I learned from it; is it okay?” Then whoever got hurt can say it was okay.
Sometimes we make mistakes that hurt ourselves, so we have to ask ourselves if it was okay. It’s always okay when we’ve learned all we can learn from a mistake, so when it’s not okay, we can think about it more, and learn more, until it is.
Sometimes we get hurt and no one learns anything. That’s the worst. We can make it better by celebrating our mistakes, so more of us know what happened, so more of us can think together about what we can learn.
When enough of us know what happened, we always learn something, and we can always make it okay.
Sometimes we can even make it okay before anyone gets hurt. Everything is okay when it’s done in consent, by saying “may I?”, and “yes”, and “no”.
Consent is powerful magic. It only works when we know enough.
We have to know enough to notice when we’re about to do something surprising, and to ask “may I?” before we do.
We have to know enough to say “yes” when our answer is really yes, and “no” when our answer is really no.
We have to know enough to notice when someone says “yes”, but doesn’t really feel yes.
Most important is: we have to know enough to know that a yes is a yes, and a no is a no.
We will never know enough to stay in consent all the time. We will make mistakes, and learn, and ask, “may I try again?”
We will get hurt, and we won’t stay hurt. It will always, eventually, be okay.
We’re all working together.