This morning I read an article whose main intent, it seemed, was to drum up outrage and panic about synthetic bacteria being created by BP and its partner corporations to deal with oil in the Gulf. It played deeply into the perpetrator/victim mindset and the life-as-warfare paradigm. Such stirring-up of emotional frenzy, of course, can sometimes be effective at creating political change. It also tends to reinforce disempowerment and fear. This particular article struck a chord with something I feel strongly about: our conditioned fear of the microorganic realm, or what author Barbara Hand Clow calls the “telluric realm” or second dimension.
It’s easy to become alarmed about things like bacteria and genetic engineering because, for most of us, they’re too small to see—they’re both powerful and invisible. Our common mythology is that only doctors and scientists have the privilege of direct access to the microscopic realm — the way the clergy was (and is), in many organized religions, thought to be the only link between humans and the divine. Especially in the heyday of the Church, the devout were taught that their only means of communicating with and experiencing the numinous realm was through a priest. This kept all things divine and transcendental safely out of reach of “regular people.” It also kept the clergy in power.
It’s certainly true that many doctors, scientists, and corporations have an unbalanced hold on information and technology related to the realm of the very very small, and that they’re not always using this access for the highest good of everyone. Certainly their attempts at manipulating us “regular people” stem from the same tradition of disempowerment through claims of privileged access that the Church wielded. But even though bioengineering firms may know how to build genetically engineered bacteria, they have no monopoly on access to that realm.
The more we imagine the conspiracies and nefarious agendas going on behind the doors of laboratories and BP-partnered biotech firms, the more of our own power we give away. We need to turn our focus inward, to come up with new ways of experiencing our relationship to the invisible and microorganic—to chemicals and bacteria, to our own bones and blood, to radioactivity, to faeries and devas, even—and our abilities to interact with, transform, and be transformed by these realms.
It is time to realize our alliance with the second dimension, with those beings and energies that exist beneath the surface of our skin and of the earth. It is time to recognize our dependence on and kinship with microorganisms, especially bacteria and even viruses. We spend such time and energy speculating about and looking for potential cohorts from outer space, but what about inner space? Our bodies depend on billions of bacteria and other microorganisms to survive; our being is a vast synergy of tiny lives existing together in complex, balanced, flowing harmony.
One second-dimensional lesson is that of slowness, of slowing down. According to Barbara Hand Clow, author of Alchemy of the 9 Dimensions, the denser second dimension (2D) vibrates at a much slower rate than we do in the 3D realm (the day to day, touch/smell/feel/taste/see realm). It’s common knowledge that stress is one of the most potent causes of illness, and so often this stress comes from rushing around, juggling multiple tasks, and living at such an intense velocity that we lose touch with the pace of our body. Slowing ourselves down when we feel unbalanced or on the brink of illness is a potent method of healing. In slowing down and tuning in with the processes within our body and even within the earth—whether through meditation, visualization, or simply sitting quietly and resting—we realign ourselves with the second dimension. The winter, of course, is the perfect time to do this—to really sink in and feel ourselves in our bodies, feel all the activity occurring inside them, and to realize that this activity is occurring within the Earth as well. The second dimension within us is in symbiotic relationship with the planet’s second dimension, and the more we can feel, imagine, and work with this dimension, the healthier our bodies and the planet will be.
The oil that petroleum companies mine flows directly from the second dimension. Many people still believe that 2D “is a dead world to be mined, exploited, and processed” (Hand Clow)—or in the case of our own bodies, a mechanical system capable of destroying itself, to be mystified by and alarmed about, to hand over to the “experts.” Chemicals and radioactive elements are also second dimensional, and they too have been manipulated to excess in the past century. It is clear that this is a time of unprecedented interaction between the second and third dimensions. Will this meeting continue to be one of confrontation and exploitation (leading to further fragmentation and disease) or one of recognition and collaboration, leading to regeneration and renewed health for our bodies, communities, and global ecosystems?
The latter is the far more interesting, life-affirming, and challenging choice. Part of me believes this collaborative regeneration is the only way things can unfold as we enter a world in which creative, loving, intellectually/emotionally/spiritually expansive ways grown from the ashes of old, worn-out patterns (confrontation, separation, war, fear-based agendas). This isn’t idealism talking; this is an assertion based on evidence and a basic awareness of systems. Methods that fail to adapt simply expire. It’s fairly unimaginative to think that our species and the planet will collapse based on the outmoded motivations and actions of a few confused people. Rather, those motivations and actions are what can no longer survive (and if those folks find they can’t survive without them, well, that’s their choice).
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be outraged and taking action in regards to the highly toxic dispersants BP’s unleashing in the Gulf, or that bioremediation will just happen on its own (though who knows? Those petroleum-eating bacteria don’t need no humans to tell ’em how to live!). It’s only to say that it’s time to drop our fear of the second dimension and start asking ourselves what a world looks like in which we’re fully allied with our microorganic kin (and with all that exists beneath our skin and the earth’s surface).
Our task now, or one of them, is to keep imagining this and to keep learning about ourselves. To keep feeling. To keep opening up into perhaps-unfamiliar ways of perceiving and understanding our bodies and the planet. The second dimension is a vast, barely-charted realm to which we all have access. You don’t need special tools to explore it; all that’s required is openness, slowness, curiosity, and awareness.
Hand Clow writes that “the diversity we see on the Earth’s surface is formed by the complex world within interacting with higher dimensions. All that matters to the 2D elementals is that the biological, chemical, mineral, and crystalline forms of 3D resonate with them; they are our ancestors that hold memory.” The more we resonate with the second dimension, the more it teaches us, and the more we can collaborate with its intelligence. What creations might arise from such a collaboration, unprecedented in our cultural experience?
(A friend just pointed out that fermentation, like kimchi and sauerkraut, is a 2D collaboration! So healthful and tasty… and just the beginning!)