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The Bells of Hallgrímskirkja and What Adaptation May Really Be About

Hallgrímskirkja. My son sees it every day and says that, up close, it looks like a sticker against the sky. I agree.
I had a dream, or maybe it could be called vision. I like to take short meditation 'naps' to recharge. Sometimes I feel a deep need to lay down and close my eyes right now, and if I can, I do. After years of doing this, they usually end up being almost exactly 15 minutes long. I think that might have to do with the fact that I've lived within a stone's throw of Hallgrímskirkja for almost 17 years now, and worked right next door to it for 6 years, and it chimes on the quarter from 9am to 9pm, every day. So maybe I've synched with it, and know exactly...
what 15 minutes feels like. I obviously don't always start my meditations on the quarter hours, but still, that chunk of time is embedded in me. I even hear the bells ring when I'm not in the country! 

The other day I laid down for a 'nap' and, according to my daughter, this time I was only out for about 7 minutes. I went deep into a dream right away, feeling like I was gone for hours. In what became the closing scene of the dream, one person answered another's question in this way, "How does it work? It's all about adaptation." 

As soon as that word was spoken, I zoomed out of the dream with it, and knew my meditation was over.

These little meditation moments are getting odder and odder, with more intense experiences in shorter amounts of time. Usually I feel a bit sleepy or ready to rest, then lay down with something over my eyes, go "away" into a very specific, clear dream that like this one seem to last for hours, then come zooming back, as if out of a tunnel, and almost always with a word or phrase, completely clear-headed and fresh. I decided after this one to write about the word I came out with, and so I did:

I pretend to know that evolution, whether you believe in long-term selective processes or the epigenetic, or fluke, or manifestory or mutagenic kind, is about adaptation to current circumstances, and not about who or what has been historically fittest up until that moment.

Adapting can be hard, though, because we love our prior references. We love our histories....they're all we know! Adapting to a new paradigm means risk, and it's an absolute given that we humans do not all adapt at the same rate, or in the same way. This means that for someone who wants or needs to change their experience as a human, adaptation can seem like it's going to be a lonely experience. 

But what are we adapting to? My first cynical thought is that as sheeple we're being pressed to integrate into a Huxleyan Brave New World void of individuality and free expression, that we're supposed to adapt or be doped up on prescription meds, adapt or be jailed, adapt or, in some cases, die. The cynicist (is that a word?) in me knows we're being mass-manipulated, and that maybe, just maybe, hive mind truly is the next destination. 

But then I consider that there's another word for that kind of situation: conformity. To adapt is not to conform. They do not have to be synonymous, are not equals when taken out of context and considered. To conform is to blend in, while to adapt most often means allowing for changes that may just mean sticking out like a sore thumb for now, for this generation, for this circumstance, but may also end up being the very things that save your life, or that of your species. To adapt means to roll with changing circumstances. To conform is try to ensure that circumstances don't change at all. 

Our modern times demand constant adaptation to our external world, and I'd like to believe that life itself demands constant adaptation in our internal psychic world as well (and that this may in fact be the more crucial of the two.) If our bodies and psyches are subconsciously experiencing with every new moment new sensory input, new environments, new people and dealing with new challenges, why would we not allow for our conscious selves to be "new" too? In this circumstance the only thing holding any of us hostage, unadaptable, is our history, otherwise known as our Story. 

Of course, if we were all running around changing all the time, mutating into something unrecognizable or being absolutely unpredictable from hour to hour, this whole fragile system that is the human experience would fall apart. But I wonder, if we were to let go of trying to grasp and recall and uphold and justify our Stories, would we really collapse into chaos? 

What if it turns out that there was some beautiful thing, some energy, like Sheldrake's morphogenic field, that held us together, as individuals, and as a species? What if adapting meant the "I" really becoming the "We", and communication becoming as simple as sensing the soul of others and letting compassion guide us? What if we've never known this before because we weren't ready yet, because the time wasn't right, because our human Story had to play out until now, before we were given the chance or the need to mature into some other aspect of potential? What if in this new era we're at exactly the Right Time and in exactly the Right Place to adapt, each on our own, and thus basically together, to a new paradigm of openness and care? 

Remember, only a matter of decades ago the world was a very different, much less noisy place, less complex, less dastardly in many ways, but much much more repressive for huge swaths of society. And we've made it this far! 

So many families, though, have been damaged by past conformities forced upon them, people burying aspects of themselves to fit social norms. And so much violence has been witnessed, the individual and collective traumas of the horribly bloody world and smaller wars, and we're the generations who have inherited their Stories. 

I think it's our turn to adapt to a new mode, each when we can, in our own grand or humble ways. Adapt to forgiving ourselves and others, and to our putting our binding, blinding Stories down so we can help our collective souls heal.

I think we all love to see someone we know feel better, look better, make better choices for themselves, and I truly think that that is ALL we really want for each other. Even when we're angry or frustrated with someone, I believe there's a Little Us inside, our long-hidden child, who still believes in magic....the kind of magic that makes everyone shiny and happy and loving. 

But I don't think standing around waiting for someone to change or mature or grow, or expecting it to happen in ways that serve us helps them or anyone else. The challenging fact is that when we stand back and let a person adapt, they may very well do it in a way that we don't like or understand at the time. They're threatening our Story of who they are. Even me writing down my opinion of how we should adapt as a species is basically selfish, though it's what I can do, in my own small way, to take part in what I hope to be a baby-steps adaptation to a new and more beautiful world.  

A serene scene


Unknown said...

What a wonderful snappy and to the point essay. It made the muscles under my skin glow.

Iceland Eyes said...

Why, thank you Ward! I'm so glad to have helped add some much-needed glow to the world : )

James Pannozzi said...

Magnificent pictures, fascinating observations and culture !

Hope you make some observations on the politics of Iceland, they seem to have defied conventions and the banking interests and made out well by putting the people first !

Perhaps a lesson for Greece ?

And that ancestry database...fabulous !

After much effort, I can trace my ancestors back to about the 1780's. Going much farther would cost a small fortune.

Many thanks !