We dived deep into the Embrace of the Human Culture during our three-hour gathering last Saturday. This Cultural Embrace has always been the most troubling one in so many ways. The first problem is how to define it; is there a global human culture? Does it include our fields of wheat, and what about computers? And the violence? The second problem is the resistance many of us have against being part of a culture destroying the planet.
So I spent several hours before the meeting to sort it out, and I found four different human Embraces, each with its own boundaries and qualities. And during the gathering, we sensed into them one at a time and experienced their various flavours and potentials. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed and shared during the session; it was beautiful to sense into these spheres together and astonishing how similar our experiences were.
Four Human Embraces
These are the four Embraces we sensed into:
- Homo Sapiens – Biology.
- Humanity – Biology and relational.
- Noosphere – Mind.
- All of the above, including artefacts and domesticated animals and plants.
I’ll go through them one by one below, but first, some words about resistance and fuzziness.
Humans are the bad guys – I’m not bad, so I don’t belong.
Many people, especially those of us with an environmental background, have a very negative sense of modern human culture in all its forms. So the invitation to rest in the Embrace of the Human Culture and feel that we belong unconditionally, raises a lot of resistance, fear and guilt. We don’t want to belong to the culture we see destroying the Earth.
You can read more about this divide in my blog post, ”Are you a Nature-person or a Human-person?” https://widerembraces.org/2019/05/nature-person-or-human-person/
However, when we let go of our resistance and dare to sense into our deep belonging, tremendous healing and power is awakening. And it always touches me deeply when I, as the guide, hear the joy and relief from someone who fully embraces their humanity for the first time.
If we want to change our human trajectory, it’s much more powerful to do it from the inside than from the outside. I know the truth of this from twenty years of intense aikido training; to blend with your partner, move as one, and change direction together. Firmly and effortless and the same time.
Fuzzy Guiding – Fuzzy Experiences
It was pretty early in the development of the Wider Embraces method that we figured out that there are three main types of Embraces; the physical, biological and cultural, or any combination of the three. The physical and biological are both very concrete; location and kinship. But what is human culture?
When guiding, I have most of the time tried to include as much as possible when I evoke the Embrace of the Human Culture. Then everyone has more or less consciously carved out her own personal ideas about the Embrace, so we have ended up in a diverse range of places.
Here are the four different cultural Embraces I found:
Homo Sapiens, Our Species – Biology
The pure biological Embrace of our species, Homo Sapiens, is the same type of Embrace as every other species has. It felt dense and not very interesting. Biological evolution moves slowly.
Humanity – Biology and Relational
In the next step, we leaned out into the Embrace of Humanity. This Embrace includes the biological but also adds all our relations and our social and emotional layers. Sensing into how meaningful our connections are to us, how much we love to connect, how we suffer due to Corona. In this Embrace, there was a lot of joy and light, and it felt dynamic and rich.
Noosphere – Mind
The Noosphere, in short, is a stupendous thinking machine.Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In this Embrace, we let go of biology and our relations and focus entirely on our ideas and knowledge. The word noosphere comes from the Greek noos (mind) and sphaira (sphere). It was coined by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in 1922.
When we sensed into this Embrace, I had no body, just a head, and it was a very airy feeling.
All of it, including artefacts and domesticated life
The last Embrace we leaned out into included all the three previous ones and all our things, from stone tools to computers and violins and all plants and animals we have domesticated. This Embrace is a bit overwhelming because it’s not easy to engulf so much and sense all of it as one. And that is precisely what we have tried to do for a long time. No wonder it has been a bit unclear and hard to grasp!
Which one to choose?
After moving through all four human Embraces, we briefly talked about which one to choose as our default Embrace, and I’ve kept thinking about it together with some advanced embracers. My conclusion is that all aspects and all combinations have their benefits, and clarity is what we need.
During the Wider Embraces standard process, we start off by moving through three Embraces; our physical Universe, the living Biosphere and our human Culture. We do this both from an evolutionary perspective and the present connections. One question is if the two later Embraces include the previous ones, or if we define them as separate?
- Do we see life as something in itself, or is matter an essential part of life?
- Do we see culture as something in itself, or are matter and life essential parts?
Each sphere is adding something new while building on the previous ones; they transcend and include. So the choice is ours, to sense into everything that is included or to the new layer exclusively.
I think I will continue to have the complex and messy Embrace of the Human Culture as my default, the Embrace that includes all of it, nothing excluded. But also, on other occasions, evoke the Embrace of the noosphere and all our human relations, of mind and emotions, I will call this the Embrace of Humanity. And of course, we can keep sensing into all the different aspects of the human culture, sorting it out in all possible ways, depending on our purpose.
What are your thoughts on our Human Culture and how to best Embrace us? Please write in the comments below!
All photos from the South of Sweden by the author