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

Finding friends for deep adaptation

Western Greenland Hit By Unseasonably Warm Weather
Greenland’s melting. Image via https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/greenland-ice-sheet-melt-865803/

This has been an unusual summer in lots of ways so far. Both on personal and planetary levels, change is in the very atmosphere. Things continue to heat up, burning away deep levels of accumulated dross on all levels for humanity and for dear Gaia. Are you also feeling the effects, Dear Readers?

https://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2019/07/comparing.html

Fires have been burning within and near the Arctic circle for much of this summer, while Alaska has seen its highest temperatures ever recorded during the past two months. More and more ice is melting in Greenland, in quantities difficult for the average human to wrap one’s head around. According to Rolling Stone, “Weather models indicate Tuesday’s temperature may have surpassed 75 degrees Fahrenheit in some regions of Greenland, and a weather balloon launched near the capital Nuuk measured all-time record warmth just above the surface. That heat wave is still intensifying, and is expected to peak on Thursday with the biggest single-day melt ever recorded in Greenland. On August 1 alone, more than 12 billion tons of water will permanently melt away from the ice sheet and find its way down to the ocean, irreversibly raising sea levels globally.”

On more refined levels, our world continues to be blasted with cosmic energy in the form of photonic light coming from distant areas of space. We are currently in the August gateway known as the Lion’s Gate, with energies pouring in from the star Sirius, which will peak on August 8 (known as the 8:8 Gateway). Apparently, there is no end in sight for the powerful light hitting Earth and everything upon it. (For more information on the Lion’s Gateway, read here.)

What this translates to can be summed up as intensity and transparency, transmutation and transition, and navigating the ever-changing terrain of our world now and in days, months and years to come. More people keep awakening to the earth changes, and some are realizing that the foundational starting point is within each person. Humanity is slowly becoming multidimensional, meaning we are tightroping between the third, fourth and fifth dimensions of consciousness. (For more explanations on these concepts, explore Sandra Walters’ excellent website here). Being in physical form, humanity is continually recalibrating its physical needs and wants. Given that there are upwards of seven and a half billion of us, the puzzle is mind-bogglingly complex.

Earlier this spring, I wrote about Professor Jem Bendell and his excellent paper on Deep Adaptation and its implications. He recently posted an interview on his website with climate scientist, Dr Wolfgang Knorr of Lund University in Sweden. I am sharing this link to Jem Bendell’s interview with Dr. Knorr here: https://jembendell.com/2019/07/31/climate-scientist-speaks-about-letting-down-humanity-and-what-to-do-about-it/  I highly recommend you take the time to read it in its entirety, and many other interesting posts Professor Bendell has on his blog. Dr. Knorr makes many excellent points in this interview about our predicament. Here are a few extracts from the blog post:

Jem Bendell: Do you think the IPCC reports tend to play down the risks of climate change?

Dr Knorr: It is not difficult to imagine why that should be so. They IPCC is after all an international agreement, and it answers to the interests of the governments of the countries it has signed up to, and it works largely by consensus. So special interests by fossil-fuel emitting countries can have a large impact. But I think there is a more fundamental problem, one that affects much of the larger science community and has to do with framing of the problem. When there is danger you have to confront, you go through essentially two stages. During the first, you need to establish that there really is a problem. During this stage, more uncertainty will lead to less perception of the problem, and less action. But once the existence of the problem has been firmly established in principle, the perspective changes. Now, you need to develop a risk coping strategy, and the less you know about the problem that can be used to assess level of risk, the more concerned you should be. In the first situation, we tend to avoid over-stating because we want to be sure the problem exists, during the second however, the normal reaction is to err on the side of caution. I believe that the IPCC is still stuck in phase 1 while we are now very clearly seeing climate change in action.

Jem Bendell: Are you worried?

Dr Knorr: I must admit that I am mostly worried for my children and their own children and grand-children if they one day choose to become parents themselves. This is absolutely my personal view, and might be to some degree the result of professional denial. My gut feeling says that it will take another 20-30 years until we see really massive impacts, but that these impacts will look very different from what we expect. The problem is that the image we have right now is so much influenced by modelling studies, at least in the scientific community. But with these climate and other simulation models it is just like the way it is with artificial intelligence. These are mere algorithms that lack any real understanding. The understanding is the work that needs to be done by the scientist. So what I worry about is that too much reliance on established scientific methods has led to a lack of imagination, and that there will be things that we have not considered. …There will be thousands of other subtle effects playing out in ways we won’t understand. This is what makes me worried most.

Jem Bendell: Given that I work on an agenda I call “deep adaptation” I am wondering what you see as the implications of your views for adaptation in general and preparing for a breakdown in our way of life?

Dr Knorr: I believe that adaptation really needs to start inside ourselves, with the realization that defence against pain is normal. I can see a lot of defensive mechanisms when it comes to climate change. Not only with the usual climate change deniers, many of whom simply feel an existential threat their way of life – and blame it on those who demand change, not climate change itself. I can also see it with the climate science community. One is a reluctance to admit that it is too late to control climate change, that there is no-one with political power who is really taking the problem seriously and suggesting in earnest measures who can make a real difference. And in the political realm, with politicians being supportive of the latest climate protesters, passing legislation to decarbonize the UK by 2050, but coming up with no specific measures except maybe the idea of phasing out petrol and diesel cars. I find that ridiculous. Once you get used to the idea of denial and defence, the public discourse in large parts looks like comedy. So the answer is – realize your own denial mode, get out of it, realize all the forces that will probably radically change the way most of us live in the coming years – rising inequality, surveillance,  authoritarian regimes, media addiction, junk food, and a destabilized climate that will first-of-all create uncertainty. Then prepare to live in an age of uncertainty, remind yourself that our ancestors did just that, and find a new, deeper meaning in life.

Dr. Knorr recommends that we strive to find ways to prepare for living with constant uncertainty, and find new, deeper meaning in life. I observe and read about people working on these issues in all sorts of ways, everywhere on Earth now. No matter where you live, what you do for a living, or what your life circumstances may be, the work of finding out what matters most to you and how you wish to contribute to humanity and Gaia in times to come is what is being asked of us all. The Earth changes are here and will continue to come. Some days are nerve-wracking and highly uncomfortable. Others are quieter, allowing for more breathing space. I feel it’s very important to find friendship in community, others who have similar interests and are also working on themselves and doing what they can to prepare for deep adaptation. Bendell’s website is a great resource, and he’s created some Facebook groups also for supporting folks in this work.

Lastly, I want to remind you, Dear Readers, that everything you think, speak, write, feel and do is important to the whole. As the mission of this blog is about finding and remembering interrelations between us all, please remember that energy out=energy back. This translates to personal responsibility as being a major key for how our world operates and what happens in future days. Deeper understanding of how life works and our place within its fabric has never been more important than now.