Perhaps a Way out of Dissonance is to find Resonance with the Earth

Our staff canteen at breakfast has two TV screens on two different walls. Today morning one screen was showing a heart wrenching footage of refugees lining up to be granted permit, while another was simultaneously flashing a cheerful basketball match. My brain went into a spin! The dissonance was very taxing for me. Somewhere between the emotions invoked by the sight of the refugees and the adrenaline rush of watching the lively basketball match, I had to find a way to create space in my mind to design exercises for my next class on cognitive biases.

It is not that I do not want to care about the plight of the people who are suffering in another part of the country. However, it is difficult to ‘feel’ their pain and then at the same time also ‘cheer’ alongside another group celebrating elsewhere. In the absence of live television, life was a bit simpler at least in this matter. If there was a problem or some mourning happening in my neighbouring street I would definitely not have chosen that day to throw a party in my house. However, now TV has brought every part of the world into our room. So technically, everyone feels like a neighbour. This leads to a lot of dissonance because we can’t really feel happy AND sad at the same time. What we can feel however is compassion, and maybe as the result of all this excessive footage of news all around, compassion will be the only emotion we will be able to hold in ourselves without feeling dissonance.

I would like us however to live lives where we can also feel ‘cheerful’, ‘upbeat’, ‘ecstatic’ and joyous (like the kids on this street who are playing now), without any dissonance. Is there a way to do this without ‘shutting out’ the disturbing news? Frankly I do not know. What helps me at times like this is to turn to nature, turn to the earth, and turn to poetry. So that’s what I just did today.

Asking the Earth

Call me dear Earth

To come work for you

Whisper into my ears

What I can do

Call me where

You would like me to go

Show me whatever

You would like me to know

Tell me how I

Can be your scribe

And take your message

To the rest of my tribe

I’d like everyone

To see your glory

And experience your magic

Through my poem or story

Guide my fingers

When I write something down

Gift me the words

Each verb, each noun

Guide my thoughts

Give me some clues

Show me the colours

The shades and the hues

Tell me how I

Can help ease pain

When my tribe is locked

In stress and strain

I ask cos I know

You hold the key

To the joy of living

In harmony


Access more essays, video lectures and other resources at www.craftingourlives.com 

Buy my book ‘I’m Choosing Life’ – link for India – amazon .in and Link to buy from outside India – amazon .com

Published by Ramya Ranganathan

My identity is crafted around four Ps - Poetess-Philosopher-Parent-Professor. You can read more about my journey here (http://craftingourlives.com/ramya/)

One thought on “Perhaps a Way out of Dissonance is to find Resonance with the Earth

  1. I am a pipe the wind blows through

    Be still its the wind that sings….

    Arthur Osborne

Comments are closed.