Journey to the Heart of the World, a parable reminiscent of the work of Paulo Coelho, was released in Kindle in 2015, and in print in 2016. Its message, both environmental and spiritual, has been hailed by such luminaries as spiritual author Marianne Williamson, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, National Geographic Explorer of the Millennium Wade Davis, and Earth Guardians teenage activist, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.
With the current change in the political, economic, and environmental landscape, it seemed important to follow up with the author of the book, John Lundin, especially for Earth Day, which has had an even greater significance with recent events.
Could you talk a little bit about Journey to the Heart of the World, its subject matter and general significance at the time you wrote it?
The book project began in the spring of 2011, with an historic gathering of indigenous ‘elders’ from throughout the Americas - Hopi, Havasupai, Navajo, Algonquin, Mohawk and more - and a delegation of shamanic elders, ‘mamos’ as they’re called, from la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. They represented the Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa and Kankuamo, indigenous peoples who have changed their ways little since the time of Columbus’ arrival on their shores more than five-hundred years ago.
I was leading spiritual retreats at the Menla Mountain Retreat Center in the Catskills of New York, loosely affiliated with the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. During the 10-day event I came to know the elders from Colombia, and they learned of my earlier book written with His Holiness. In fact they even had the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama. They asked if I would come to Colombia, live with them, learn from them, and write a book with them - one that would share their environmental and spiritual message with the world. Of course I was thrilled with the idea and readily accepted. That was six years ago. Today the book has been researched, written, and published - and I’m still in Colombia!
So, what was the environmental and spiritual message the elders wanted me to share? Very simple, really. Our Earth Mother is gravely ill (I use the metaphor of a cancer in Journey to the Heart of the World) and she will surely die if we, the ones they call the “Younger Brother,” do not change our ways.
This was not a new message six years ago, but it was being widely ignored and even denied in 2011. The Kogi of la Sierra Nevada were actually among the first to sound the warning almost thirty years ago when they invited the BBC to come to la Sierra Nevada and report on what was happening. They expected the “Younger Brother” to be horrified and take action immediately. We all know that didn’t happen.
But when I was invited to come visit them, the world was beginning to take notice.
Nonetheless, what the elders were asking me to do was radical. They wanted me to tell their story in a book, when they don’t even have a written language or any idea what a book really is! They presented their request and invitation to me with tears in their eyes. Their mother was dying. Getting their message out to the world was the only way to save her. And they weren’t really sure how to do that. And experience had already taught them that the rest of the world might not listen.
But over the past few years people have begun to listen. Still, I felt a responsibility and a sense of urgency as I researched and wrote the book, which was first published two years ago.
Please continue this interview here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/spirituality-the-environment-and-trump-an-interview_us_58f93109e4b0de26cfeae234?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003