If you've ever watched Stranger Things (if you haven't you should because it's awesome) you'll remember that the upside down world is a place that looks exactly the same as our world but is darker, lonelier and way scarier. Could it be us, humans, the ones that are living in an upside down version of a better world?
I recently read an amazing article about plant intelligence, how they communicate through networks of fungi and volatile particles, how they alter the level of tannins on their leaves to deter predators from eating them or even take care of the young and the dying providing nutrients through the underground. Apparently, certain plants display signs of "parental care" which is something that has only been observed in the most evolved animals. This study and many others that have recently came to light regarding animal emotion or plant neurobiology etc, have made me grow more and more fond of an idea that has been going round in my head for a while: That we live in an upside down idea of the world. We constructed our perception of life thinking the world is some sort of pyramid with us at the top; that god made the world for us, that resources are there for us, that we understand what goes on with all the other living beings but they can't even understand themselves. Our idea of life is completely anthropocentric.
What if all of this was wrong?
Many many years ago I was meditating in my room and I had this voice/vision in my head. The voice asked me "How do you feel when little kids do things that are cruel or that you think are wrong. Do you get angry at them?" No, I said, because they're kids. They're learning. And so the voice said "Well, humans are kids. They are learning too."
Not much later in life I learned that the indigenous peoples of Colombia call western peoples or those of white descent their "little siblings" and as you would with any little sibling they think they must be patient with us and compassionate, because we're learning and some times we get lost. On the other hand, they call the plants grandparents and regard them and other animals as their teachers. They are the elders of the world and those who in times of need show us the way. The eagle, the jaguar, the bear, the snake; peyote, coca, ayahuasca, tobacco. All animal and plant spirits are there to guide us on the ways of the Spirit. Have you figured out where I'm going with this?
Other animal and plant species have been around way longer than we have been. In that time -and in their own way- they have learned. They have learned to adapt, to survive and especially, to live together. Plants and animals know something that we don't: how to live in harmony. How to be free. Isn't it kind of funny that we actually consider ourselves so much better than them when we don't actually have a clue of what we're doing? We think, we invent and we make our lives safer and easier, but you just have to have a look around to realize we're not making it any fairer, or even happier. We are overworked, under payed, stressed, burnt out. We have no time for each others or for ourselves. We have to hire people to take care of our children, to walk our dogs, to grow our food. We need a mindfulness app to remind ourselves to breath. We have no idea of how to heal ourselves. We're pharmacodependant. We take pills for everything: to be happy, to sleep, to be attentive, to digest, to relax. We get more and more confined. We're too many. We live so close to each other but yet we are lonely. We have to do thousands of things we don't want to do. We have enslaved ourselves. We've lost the touch of the wild. We have isolated ourselves and now, we feel like we are pretty much screwed.
So yes, we are living in the upside down. But here's the thing: This way of living is just a way of seeing. It's just a way of feeling the world; a way of thinking.
Take what I've said for example about the plants... and just like that, start seeing them as teachers. Realize every being on this planet has a spirit and that there are spirits that are way older than us. The sense of reverence, of gratitude, of humbleness that comes with that, is just honestly too much to assimilate without shedding a tear. Suddenly you are not this animal that is supposed to be king of the world and know everything about everything.
Phew! what a relief! Instead you are the little sibling of nature, trying to find your way in life. And your heart that is pure in essence -as that of any child- always seeks the guidance and love of nature to rest, to be comforted. We long for the presence of animals in our lives, we escape to the mountains when we feel tired. But we go back to our games because we haven't figured out what life is really about and then the world sighs and waits patiently for us to understand.
As you change your perception of plants, you start changing the perception of animals. The reason why they're here, their own right of being that is completely detached from us. And you see them in their majesty and their power and you slowly realize that there is no greater call but the call of freedom. Animals know this but we haven't been able to understand it. And so, we cage them and domesticate them because we don't know the worth of wilderness. Not for them and clearly not for ourselves.
As you go back into your senses you start going through all the other beings and realizing how truly upside down everything is. You realize it's so messed up that you finally notice we have also taken the truth of nature away from our own children. That we have being treating them as brainless adults, as incomplete versions of ourselves when they actually have so much to offer! So much to teach and give. Generations and generations of mutilated kids that have lost to this upside down system their will, their creativity, their spontaneity, their joy of living... their spirit! And then you start feeling again this overwhelming compassion for yourself. Not pity. Just love and understanding. How could have you made things different if you never saw any of this! If you were never really free!!
But now you see. And you can't "un-see". And everything crumbles around you. And the upside down starts turning... and there's so much beauty in world. So much wisdom. So much magic!
Bow your head to the world around you, for it is old and wise.
Open your eyes. Feel this endless love surrounding you.
Everything is fine.
Mother holds you on her lap. Her heartbeat in your ear.
Father sings a song of yestertime.
Everything is fine my dear.
Bow your heart to the earth. as she's old indeed and wise
You are still a frightened child you see
But everything is fine.