Eco-Thanatology

Five thousand, one hundred years ago,a human being walked through the ancient burial site that we call Newgrange in Ireland.  This person walked down a 25 meter tunnel in the darkness.  I can imagine the consciousness of foot touching earth and stone, of  the stillness of the air in the inner chamber of the tunnel, of the human knowing that there was only one way to go. An inevitable force of light and warmth was calling this person forward, ripe with intention and expectation.  Perhaps others followed, or this person was alone.  Sunrise was coming; perhaps steps were becoming more hurried until there, just there in front of this now wide awake human being, a shaft of sunlight sliced into the underground crypt.  Moving over the smoothed edges of stone, it silently flowed with a warmth that was immediately taken into the stone and the human being, and anything that was of stone in the human.  Everything was softened in its wake, and then the light moved onward carrying the larger intention of the world.

Life inspires light, movement, and rhythm. This is an inspiration that is at once manifest through the willowing breath, and also hidden in the continuing distillation of the ever-transforming body. 

The flow-forms of rhythm and light act as dynamic sources of integration and transformation that can lead us into an an experience of what I have called the kairobiology of life – the dream of the transforming body and spirit.

Kairobiology lies at the heart of eco-thanatology,and can be considered an extension of chronobiology.  The field of chronobiology is centered on the study of the activity of time as it activates and organizes all living creatures.  We are rhythmic beings – rhythmic in sound and in gait, in hormonal and chemical release, in rest and in a movement that is at once physical, emotional, and cognitive.  We have interpreted our bodies as always seeking homeostasis through a balance of constitution and spirit; yet in good health we show wide variability.  Rich with inter-disciplinary understandings, it is only within the last fifty years that contemporary scientists have begun to seriously explore how the time of chronos lives within us.

As human beings, we have always instinctively understood that we live by the grace and connection found through the movement of time experienced in relation to the sun, moon, and stars.  The Greek word Kairos alerts us to the unbounded moment, the moment in flow, here and already gone.  Considered an opportunity in the moment, it asks for our full presence and attention.  From this perspective, Kairobiology seeks to explore rhythm and time as a synthesis of sounding vibration, flow, and inner intention in conscious relationship with the unknown as well as the known.  It consciously holds meditative poles of tension between the multi-layered experiences of time that form and inform our world and our bodies. This larger vision of time allows and encourages a generative interplay between contemplative listening, revelation, and response. As contemplative musicians, we, like the honeybees, ingest the mysticism of place, body, and being that is our lives, and then offer our sounding relationships to the ever-changing metamorphosis of the world.

The sounding relationships inherent in the work of Lectio Musica and Viriditas are dynamic expressions of the activity of these thoughts on light, rhythm, and movement.