“That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” – Hermes Trismegistus
The Stoic idea of ‘living according to nature’ is hopelessly obscured in our common era of tumultuous politics, shock media, and click-bait. I think now more than ever it’s vital to take a step back and think about our relationship to the universe as a whole. The more in step we are with universal principles, the better and more compassionately we can respond to local crises, and evolve gracefully.
I think the first step is about getting perspective. I’m reminded of the story of the fish who couldn’t understand what water was. We’re so immersed in our day-to-day that we can’t conceive of anything else. The fact is, historically, we’re just a small point on a very long line. Civilizations have been rising and falling for millennia. We’re just another node on the wave. We get so jammed up in our interpersonal relationships we fail to see the big picture sometimes. I think of this every time I’m on a plane at night and see the multitude pinpoint lights of houses and buildings far below. It’s comforting that I’m just one point of billions in the sea.
My go-to for perspective is meditation. Clearing my mind for 10 or 15 minutes a day, and letting my thoughts exist outside of me instead of inside where they tend to rule the roost if unchecked. My friend Alessa once said “I’m not crazy, my mind is just hilarious”, and while it may have been an offhand Facebook quip, I think it remains a very deep statement. There is an oft-forgotten separation between self and mind. Once this is embraced, a greater sense of relaxation and mindfulness can be achieved.
My go-to for participation has always been creation. I feel closer to the world when I make music and poetry using the same rules that nature uses when constructing sunflowers and galaxies. It’s my way of living in accordance with nature.