Friday, August 23, 2019

Wendell Berry: The Peace of Wild Things


 The Peace of Wild Things
 
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
 
Wendell Berry 
 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

George Monbiot: The New Political Story That Could Change Everything


Please go here for the full TED Talk and transcript:  

"Neoliberal's time has passed.
We need a new politics of belonging."
— George Monbiot

I am so incredibly grateful for my many wise, conscious, courageous, and fierce warrior friends fighting for a loving, just, peaceful, sustainable, and caring world. They help me find links to amazing things like this TED Talk by George Monbiot.
Tears... Because my heart is so touched...
Through my own decades long and ongoing personal journey of awakening, healing, and transformation, I’ve come to deeply understand how critical it is to first fully see, own, and embrace the truth about the obstacles to our embodying the loving beings that we all are in our greater Selves. Half the solution is first seeing the problem.
So I post a lot about what I’ve been learning about obstacles — our human illusions and ignorance, our vulnerability to being propagandized and brainwashed, the ways that we get lost in our addictions and anger and fears, our propensity to judge and dehumanize and engage in wars large and small, and the many faces of violence that we often unknowingly inflict upon ourselves and other beings and the planet. I do this with the humility and deep compassion of personally knowing what it is to build walls around my own heart ... AND to also root into the courageous journey of dismantling the obstacles I’ve built against love.
Because I’ve long been working to be in this world with my eyes, mind, and heart open, I often hurt. My heart hurts. Because every year as I grow older I’m able to be less empathically impaired and more present to my pain and to that of others. And living more and more open-heartedly continuously changes me. I save spiders. I haven’t eaten anything with a face for 13 years. I give out a dollar and deep caring gaze and “bless you” to every person standing on a street corner holding a “please help” sign. And my circle of caring just grows and grows and grows. And having once been addicted and disassociated and largely cut off from the depths of my own heart and that of anyone else, today I am so grateful to feel! To be here now! To care!
And with all the suffering in the world, when I get to listen to someone like George Monbiot talk about a New Story, I am SO GRATEFUL. Here’s someone else who is aware and awake and who’s not just describing the obstacles, but also the SOLUTIONS!
It’s George Monbiot and Riane Eisler and Joanna Macy and countless other human beings whose lives are devoted to alleviating the suffering in the world who nourish and inspire me and give me hope. And I say YES TO A NEW STORY! — one which illuminates our human capacity to transform ourselves and evolve and become who we already most deeply are. May it be so! đŸ™ Molly

George Monbiot: The Politics of Belonging


Our good nature has been thwarted by several forces, but I think the most powerful of them is the dominant political narrative of our times, which tells us that we should live in extreme individualism and competition with each other. It pushes us to fight each other, to fear and mistrust each other. It atomizes society. It weakens the social bonds that make our lives worth living. And into that vacuum grow these violent, intolerant forces. We are a society of altruists, but we are governed by psychopaths. 

But it doesn't have to be like this. It really doesn't, because we have this incredible capacity for togetherness and belonging, and by invoking that capacity, we can recover those amazing components of our humanity: our altruism and cooperation. Where there is atomization, we can build a thriving civic life with a rich participatory culture. Where we find ourselves crushed between market and state, we can build an economics that respects both people and planet. And we can create this economics around that great neglected sphere, the commons.


The commons is neither market nor state, capitalism nor communism,
 
but it consists of three main elements: a particular resource; a particular community that manages that resource; and the rules and negotiations the community develops to manage it. Think of community broadband or community energy cooperatives or the shared land for growing fruit and vegetables that in Britain we call allotments. A common can't be sold, it can't be given away, and its benefits are shared equally among the members of the community. Where we have been ignored and exploited, we can revive our politics. We can recover democracy from the people who have captured it. We can use new rules and methods of elections to ensure that financial power never trumps democratic power again.  


Representative democracy should be tempered by participatory democracy so that we can refine our political choices, and that choice should be exercised as much as possible at the local level. If something can be decided locally, it shouldn't be determined nationally. And I call all this the politics of belonging. 

George Monbiot

Please go here for the full TED Talk:

Monday, August 19, 2019

Pema Chödrön: What Truly Heals Is Gratitude and Tenderness

We live in troubled and traumatizing times. This post of quotes from one of my beloved teachers is for all of us... so that we may live more open-heartedly in the midst of the looming challenges and heartbreaks and blessings of our times. May we nourish inside of ourselves and in this beautiful hurting planet Earth that we share the kindness and love, wisdom and gratitude, resilience and awareness, and compassion and consciousness that is so deeply needed. May we each increasingly be the peace our world hungers for. Namaste... Molly


If One Wishes Suffering To Not Happen
To People and the Earth, It Begins 
With a Kind Heart

If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That's the true practice of peace.

When we are training in the art of peace, we are not given any promises that, because of our noble intentions, everything will be okay. In fact, there are no promises of fruition at all.  Instead, we are encouraged to simply look deeply at joy and sorrow, at laughing and crying, at hoping and fearing, at all that lives and dies. We learn that what truly heals is gratitude and tenderness. 

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. 

We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice. 

When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.

Nothing will ever change through aggression.

The painful thing is that when we buy into disapproval, we are practicing disapproval.  When we buy into harshness, we are practicing harshness.  The more we do it, the stronger these qualities become.  How sad it is that we become so expert at causing harm to ourselves and others.  The trick then is to practice gentleness and letting go.

We can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same.

It isn't what happens to us that causes us to suffer; it's what we say to ourselves about what happens.

What we call obstacles are really the way the world and our entire experience teach us where we're stuck.  

Difficult things provoke all your irritations and bring your habitual patterns to the surface. And that becomes the moment of truth. You have the choice to launch into your lousy habitual patterns, or to stay with the rawness and discomfort of the situation and let it transform you.

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering—yours, mine, and that of all living beings.

***** 


Loving kindness towards ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. It means we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already.

If you are invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet. 

You must face annihilation over and over again to find what is indestructible in yourself.

Being open and receptive to whatever is happening is always more important than getting worked up and adding further aggression to the planet, adding further pollution to the atmosphere.

It is said that we can’t attain enlightenment, let alone feel contentment and joy, without seeing who we are and what we do, without seeing our patterns and habits.  This is called maitri—developing loving-kindness and an unconditional friendship with ourselves.

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.  We think the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved.  They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together again and fall apart again.  It’s just like that.  The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. 

Those events and people in our lives who trigger our unresolved issues could be regarded as good news.  We don’t have to go hunting for anything.  We don’t need to try to create situations in which we reach our limit.  They occur all by themselves, with clockwork regularity.  

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher. 

Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself.  

The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.  Yet it’s never too late or too early to practice loving-kindness.  It’s as if we had a terminal disease but might live for quite a while.  Not knowing how much time we have left, we might begin to think it was important to make friends with ourselves and others in the remaining hours, months, or years. 

Sometimes when things fall apart, well, that’s the big opportunity to change. 

Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves. 

Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away. 

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.

Openness doesn't come from resisting our fears but from getting to know them well. 

A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.

This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted, and shaky – that’s called liberation.  

Not causing harm requires staying awake.  Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say or do.  The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down, and notice.

The experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself. Don’t cop out on that. Don’t run away and hide under your cover. Lean into it. 

The peace that we are looking for is not peace that crumbles as soon as there is difficulty or chaos. Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.

Rather than going after our walls and barriers with a sledgehammer, we pay attention to them. With gentleness and honesty, we move closer to those walls. We touch them and smell them and get to know them well. We begin a process of acknowledging our aversions and our cravings. We become familiar with the strategies and beliefs we use to build the walls: What are the stories I tell myself? What repels me and what attracts me? We start to get curious about what’s going on. 

Awareness is the key. Do we see the stories that we're telling ourselves and question their validity? When we are distracted by strong emotion, do we remember that it is our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else? If we can remember to experiment like this even occasionally, we are training as a warrior. And when we can't practice when distracted but KNOW we can't, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what's going on. 

What you do for yourself, any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself, will affect how you experience your world. In fact, it will transform how you experience the world. What you do for yourself, you’re doing for others, and what you do for others, you’re doing for yourself.

Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world. 

You are the sky. Everything else it’s just the weather. 

Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it.
Pema Chödrön