This afternoon began sunny but turned cloudy and raw. Tomorrow is forecast to reach 80F for the first time in many months. Perhaps a walk will be in order during a break at the office.
The world is awakening. The willow has turned a fine yellow and the maples are budding bright red. Our croci are out. They seem to come and go literally overnight. The tulips and daffodils are up and flowers can’t be far behind. We are in the midst of that annual explosion of diversity that we call spring.
Diversity seems to be an essential part of ecosystem functioning. Given a chance, organisms change and adapt and fill all of the available niches. Even in apparently simple ecosystems microbes inevitably create a rich diversity, proving the adage that there is more to the world than we can see.
Mind is very much an ecosystem, generating new self-states in response to novel conditions. Ideally, the mind remains an open system that encourages communication throughout. However when under duress self-states may become walled off from the flow of new information as acute stress disrupts the flow of communication through the system. The resulting fragmentation creates enormous challenges.
The same, of course, is true when ecosystems become fragmented, reducing diversity and stability, and all too often emptying niches that are rapidly refilled with the most resilient and adaptable organisms. As we humans increase our presence in the world, changing the climate and destroying whole ecosystems, it is easy to feel hopeless. Yet, there is hope. Given time, perhaps now a very long time, diversity, and stability, will return.
I wonder whether, in these difficult times, we might encourage one another to remember that we, too, are ecosystems, and that taking care of mind, body, and spirit is a form of profound resistance to actions and practices that threaten the destruction of the world. Perhaps, having taken that first step, we can extend protection and nurturance to others who may be at risk. Surely the list of individuals and groups under siege is long, and the opportunities to be of aid and service are many.
Maybe, just maybe, we can then extend our care to the Natural world, to Mother Earth, Pachamama, herself. Perhaps we can then allow ourselves that terrible recognition that without Nature we are not only rootless, but profoundly endangered as persons and a species. If so, will we come full circle and see ourselves, minds and all, as Nature?
10 thoughts on “Minding Ecosystems”
An interesting challenge…to see myself as much an ecosystem as, say, a Sloth. 😉
I love sloths! If only we could train ourselves to move with grace and thought!
I like that idea-ourselves as ecosystems.
Andy, I think we are ecosystems. The kind of system we choose to identify with is up to us. Maybe you are a diverse, cretive city?
Yes, with borders forever open.
Ah, but not too open, ah? Need to be permeable without oozing everything out and desiccating!
Profound reflections about our connections to nature, Michael, and eloquently-said. ❤
Thank you Carol.
Oy, do we have fragmentation. We think consideration of others’ needs is essential, especially in cases in which others are oppressed or without rights and/or “voice” (ie nature, people, parts of psyche). We need to tune in. Thanks for your thought-provoking post
Thank you for this kind comment! Oy! seems an apt word in response our current conundrums. Our rabbi has begun handing out bumper stickers that say, “Less Oy! More Joy!