Summer Perspectives : reflections on polarisation


For me August feels like time to breathe more…find more space amongst teaching and study.  The garden is a joy and it’s easy to eat well, naturally and with diversity with such fabulous ingredients from our own little slice of paradise.

Sitting on our garden seat I reflect on the wider world. I’m noticing the uncomfortable feeling in my belly responding to the wider polarisation in society over covid amongst other issues.  The establishment of camps of for and against.  My rights, your wrongs.  It’s easy to get caught up in a black and white agenda.

Beneath each side of polarisation fear will be lurking.   Fear is not something to extinguish, rather it’s a necessary part of our physiology.  Designed to alert us to ‘tigers’ in our space and prime our system to fight or run.  It’s our wiring of survival and so something to be grateful for.

Once the ‘alarm bell’ of the brain has sounded the alert, ideally our evolved human brains appraises the situation, maybe determining that there are no tigers in the room, just something that is being said or done that makes us feel uncomfortable. One of the reasons we practice mindful Yoga and Mindfulness sitting practice is to strengthen this higher brain function that re-appraises and quietens our ‘alarm bell’.

Without being kept in check this  ‘alarm bell’ runs amok and we are constantly triggered by all manner of things.  We lose our ability to step back and notice what we feel, how the other feels and what is driving the alarm bell in their brain.  We fail to see the bigger picture.

This situation may be simple or complex.  It may be in relationship with one other or with a global situation.  With more spaciousness of mind, we allow the possibility of relating using our higher brain capacities for connection rather than separation and the potential for reactivity to make space for wisdom and discernment.

Note to self …..keep practising!

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