Being unafraid of this world’s pain

mindfulness-meditation-quote

This month I’ve been deep in contemplation about the world and about myself. Old questions have arisen with new urgency, such as Who am I? What is my reason for being here now? How may I best serve the world, and alleviate the suffering which seems to be everywhere? Some days I only crave solitude and stillness in order to listen deeply within. Other days I’ve sought the wisdom of other voices in order to help make sense of what feels utterly insane and incomprehensible.

Tonight I listened to a program by Bioneers, which was a conversation between several well- known wise women as they explored how Women and women’s innate knowing is a crucial piece to the process of healing our broken world. The speakers included Alice Walker and Joanna Macy, who both spoke passionately and eloquently on this topic. Joanna Macy is an activist, author and Buddhist scholar who has worked tirelessly for decades to support people in their journeys towards healing themselves and the planet. She has long taught a method called The Work that Reconnects. The gist of the method is that a person must be willing to dig into the pain which they carry (whether they are conscious of it or not) in regards to the state of our world. We must allow ourselves to feel the sorrow, anguish, rage, and despair that lives inside us which we usually stuff way inside and do not allow to consciously surface. It is through this allowing, Macy states, that we begin the process of healing both our individual and collective selves, and from there, our beloved, ravaged planet.

Clearly, this is difficult work on all levels. None of us wish to dig into our hearts and souls and dredge up painful emotions and memories. Speaking for myself, I admit that to consciously choose to look at the terrible tragedies playing out across our earth at this time is just about more than I can bear most days. It’s too big, too horrific, and too overwhelming to gaze with steady eyes and heart at what humanity is doing to itself and to our planet, our home. How can I possibly bring myself to take Joanna Macy’s advice and allow myself to feel the great weight of despair residing inside me? After all, I have to get up and go to my job, interact with other human beings on the daily, and if I truly allow myself to see what is happening in the world and to feel the suffering of those experiencing it, there is no way I will be able to function.

Yet, Macy understands deeply the Buddhist path to end suffering. She advocates that we acknowledge and feel the suffering, but that we don’t dwell there. Just as the Buddha did, we must work to find the place of peace and stillness within our soul that is untouched by the world and its vast drama. This is the most difficult and rewarding work we can do while incarnated. To be in the world and yet not of it means exactly this—we acknowledge the world’s suffering, understand that suffering is caused by mistakenly believing the illusion to be reality, and then stilling the mind and emotions enough to experience the truth—reality is not this three dimensional story of separation we’ve been telling ourselves for thousands of years. In fact, the earth itself is on a journey of ascending into a higher plane of existence, and those of us who are awake to it, are here to help it arrive safely, much like an army of midwives helping to birth the new age of Earth and of mankind.

I have a saying taped to a wall in my kitchen. It says,

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do Justly Now.
Love Mercy Now. Walk Humbly Now. You’re not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

When I become very quiet and still and can go beyond my ego mind’s chatter, then  I understand what the Buddha, Joanna Macy and many other wise teachers teach. Then, I acknowledge the pain and immense suffering of this world, while also calmly seeing that it all stems from the false belief that we are separate and discreet entities from each other, unconnected to Earth or to Divinity, the Great Spirit that dwells within each being. We have lost our way because we have forgotten our inherent connection to everything else. It’s so very easy to forget as we go through our daily routines. Other people are annoying, rude, ugly and every other negative adjective we can come up with. Why should we care about them? Why should we be kind or smile when they don’t care to return the favor? How can we bring ourselves to love those who are purposefully destroying all we love and wish to protect? To forgive those who bring pain and suffering to others and then lie, cheat, dominate and destroy? I mean, this is VERY big, and difficult work.

Coming back then, to Joanna Macy’s words that rang through my soul tonight, I get it. As unbelievably painful and hard as it is to see, acknowledge, and feel it, I know that the only way out of our global predicament is through. We cannot, we WILL NOT change our world until enough of us can do exactly this. Business as usual is destroying our planet bit by bit, fire by fire, melting ice cap by melting ice cap. We are all so busy running around our lives, failing to stop long enough to truly listen to Earth-Gaia-Madre Tierra, crying out for us to Stop, Look and Listen. To see what we are doing to our only home. To cry for what we have all done to Her. To find better, healthier, cleaner ways to live upon her, in harmony with her great cycles. Until we can collectively get on our knees and ask for her forgiveness, we will continue to teeter on the brink of extinction.

For those of you who would like to hear Joanna Macy, here are more links to some of her talks. Joanna Macy- Embracing Pain
Active Hope Show 1_ Prophecy of Shambhala Warriors

Preparing for the new decade of “profound truth”

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image credit: https://www.weforum.org

Hello dear Readers! I wish you all a restful and calm entry into 2020. By all indications, the decade and year ahead of us promises to be full of intensity, revelations, increasing awareness on many levels, and changes for humanity. I have heard it described as a decade of “profound truthtelling.” All this past year on this blog, I’ve written about the deep and profound changes our human race is continually confronting, or denying. 2019 brought many revelations about our collective shadow into the light, along with continued Earth changes and extreme weather events. For those readers interested in photojournalism, go to the New York Times, The Guardian.org and Time Magazine’s websites for amazing photo essays of not only the past year, but the past decade on Earth. We are truly all living through the most extraordinary of times.

On the eve of the 2020s, I’d like to offer a thought experiment. Let me take you forward in time about 500 years. Pretend that it is the eve of the year 2525. For the sake of this experiment, a few parameters are necessary. First, there are still humans living on Earth, and we look mostly the same as we have since the start of the 2000s. And there is still wild nature upon Earth, including land animals, creatures of the sea, birds, insects, temperate forests, beaches, rainforests, rivers, mountains, snow and the tropics. It has changed from what it was like a few hundred years ago, but still recognizable to those of us living in 2020.

Here is where it gets interesting. Beyond those basics of life on Earth in 2525, I’d like you to use your imagination to fill in the details of life on Earth. How do people live now? Are there vast cities, small villages, communities? What do people do with their time? Do they still have what we call “work?” What is life like for the children? Do families live together? Do they have pets? What kind of pets do they keep? How do people eat? Dress? Entertain each other and themselves? Are there many different cultures across the planet? How do they communicate? What is transportation like? Is the Earth clean, healthy, sustained without doing the planet harm, like in the old days of the fossil fuel wars? Have the Earth’s people learned to live in a peaceful way, and no longer harm and destroy each other and the planet? Have they learned to go beyond their base instincts and created societies without hunger, disease, and corruption?

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What might our world be like, and who will we be hanging out with 500 years from now?

Now think about how the humans interact with all the many beings from other planets and star systems they’ve come to know during the past 500 years. Once they stopped fearing the presence of galactic societies, the gateways opened and they began to have contact with many other races from within and beyond their own galaxy. After a certain point, old popular science fiction films from the 21st century were no longer fiction, as people realized their galactic and interstellar friends had been there all along, simply waiting for the proper time to reconnect. The reunions of humans with their star brethren were a joyous time for all. Instead of remaining in fear and dread concerning what they had once considered dangerous ETs, the human family as a whole learned to trust and rely upon vast assistance from their more advanced galactic friends. This process accelerated the huge undertaking of Earth’s cleanup and restoration towards the end of the 21st and into the 22nd centuries.

Dear Readers, I bring this thought experiment to you as a way to encourage each of us to take our future as humans living on Earth/ Gaia very seriously. For this brand new year and decade of the 2020s is an invitation to us all to use our powers of imagination and creativity for the highest good of our race and for our beloved planet. Can we lay down our old, tired fears and anxieties in this new decade, and DECIDE for the Good, the True, and the Beautiful to reign? Aren’t we completely exhausted from the old paradigm of negative and neurotic thoughts, of greed and war and corruption ruling humanity as it has done for millennia? If you, like me, are ready to create a world based upon love as the foundation, and can envision our world as peaceful, the people as fulfilled, joyful, and living in harmony with Nature, then please join me now and in the days to come in imagining a new world—Nova Gaia. It doesn’t have to simply be a nice, yet impossible dream any longer. The old, cynical point of view we’ve been fed throughout the past half century–that it’s impossible to create a better and peaceful world–must be buried starting NOW–There is more light pouring onto our planet than EVER before, more of humanity awakening to the possibility of a better, more just and healthy way for all to live each day, and an amplified presence of light and of love upon Earth. Critical mass for positive change is well underway, and the new decade will usher it in. Won’t you join our movement for a peaceful, just, compassionate, kind and loving humanity? We are many millions strong and growing bigger every day.

Happy 2020 to everyone! May you each be blessed in your lives with peace and love, abundance, joy, and with the unshakeable knowledge that a peaceful, healthy and abundant world is not only possible, but it is being created by each one of us who hold light and love every day through our thoughts, words and actions. I see the light within each of you, and honor your presence.

A note of thanks and encouragement

Thank You Word Cloud background
via 123rf.com

Hi Readers and Bloggers! Today I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has read my blog, interrelatedplanet.org, over the past year. This blog has a tiny readership by most media standards in today’s world. I have done very little to promote it, other than sharing posts via my FaceBook and LinkedIn accounts. The purpose of this blog is to give me a platform to inform, inspire and share my opinions about the world we live in and how we are all connected and interrelated at the core level. The fact that during this past year people from 51 countries have read this blog is, in my mind, pretty amazing!

There are days when I admit to giving into the feelings of despair and isolation that crop up when reading mainstream media on the internet. It’s clear that we are collectively going through a period of chaotic and intense change, unlike anything that humanity has known since recorded history began. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all and lose hope that our world will one day soon become a global society based on equity, justice, the rule of law, compassion, care for all life, and respect for all people. I’ve written before of of the United Nations charter , created 74 years ago, which lays out the blueprint for how a world based on these qualities and principles could be for humanity. In these times of great change, it can very much seem as if the forces of darkness and evil are, indeed, winning the battle.

Today, dear Readers, I want to encourage all of you who take the time to read my words to NOT GIVE UP on ourselves and our world. Yes, terrible atrocities continue happening daily across the world. Yes, the corruption, greed and power-mongering by the richest world actors and government leaders continues, as news outlets’ daily headlines clearly show. Yes, climate change is happening faster than we can keep track of, with extreme weather affecting millions of people across the planet. I could go on and on, but you understand. These are crucial times, extraordinary times, and exceedingly difficult times to be living through. Our current systems allow for and even promote oppression, inequity, and environmental degradation. Given all the factors and actors vying for power and control of the world’s precious resources at all costs, how do we find hope that a future world based on peace, justice and love is coming?

This week, most of the world’s leaders have gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York City for the 74th annual General Assembly. The UN is committed to transparency, and want all people to be able to know and understand the global issues and challenges we face. Towards this end, they post all the speeches made by each country’s representative on their You Tube channel so anyone with an internet connection may watch them. This week I’ve taken time to watch some of their speeches, but perhaps even more interesting, I scrolled through their channel to look at the faces of the people who are leading our current world society. I have to say, the vast majority of them look unhappy, tired and perhaps even a bit desperate. Only the smallest fraction of their faces are smiling or seem positive.

smiling-kids-around-world
World leaders would do well to find their inner child, who remembers how to smile.

The conclusion I draw from this experiment is, most leaders in the world today know our current system is broken, highly unfair, and unsustainable for our collective future. While some continue to display ungracious arrogance and stubbornly refuse to listen to reason or science, for the most part I believe that the great majority of people on Earth today sincerely desire us to change for the better. Most of us are beyond weary of war, power struggles, violence and living in fear. In our deepest hearts we know we are better than this. Problem is, how do we get from our current state of chaos, violence and inequity, to the more beautiful and peaceful world we know is possible?

It is a long, tedious, and painfully slow road from where we are now to where we want to be. But it is NOT impossible. The beloved Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh, reminds us that smiling is very important. If we cannot smile, the world cannot have peace.  It is step one. How I would love to suggest to the world’s leaders this week that they ought to begin their speech by finding one thing to say that is positive about our world at large, and smile as they do so. Even such a small gesture would have resounding impact on everyone in the hall, and everyone on our planet.

Again, I wish to thank you all who read this blog. I would love to read your comments too, as long as they are respectfully given. I encourage all of you to continue doing your good work in our world, in whatever field you are working. In order to change everything (for the better) we truly need everyone. Namaste and blessings to each one of you, from my heart.