Does it matter? Part 3

“ The idea is for us to become more and more aware of what we’re doing, and more and more aware that our actions have consequences. Examining our behaviour to see whether it’s polarising is an extension of the question “Does it matter?” Once we see what’s at stake - not just for ourselves, but for our surrounding environment and for the planet as a whole, which suffers so much from polarisation - we are naturally motivated to apply payu, heedfulness. We can gradually refine our payu so that it’s present at more subtle levels of our behaviour, beginning with our words.”

(from Pema Chödrön’s ‘Welcome the Unwelcome’ p24)

 

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‘Maybe We Have Time’ extract 2

’’We never knew whose it was,

the blood that shrouded us,

we made endless accusations,

endlessly we were accused.

They suffered, we suffered,

and when at last they won 

and we also won,

truth was already dead

of violence or old age.

Now there is nothing to do.

we all lost the battle.

And so I think that maybe 

at last we could be just 

or at last we could simply be.

We have this final moment,

and then forever 

for not being, for not coming back.”

 (from ‘Maybe We Have Time ’ by Pablo Neruda -

from  ‘Isla Negra’  translated by Alastair Reid) 

 

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Are We Happy Yet?

The following are extracts from two essays taken from: 

'Echopsychology - Restoring the Earth Healing the Mind' edited by Theodore Roszak, Mary E Gomes, and Allen D Kanner  - published in 1995.

1. 'Are We Happy Yet?' by Alan Thein Durning 

'Every psychology has a theory of what makes people happy. Ecopsychology raises the following question: is human happiness inevitably in conflict with the needs of the planet? Or are there sources of satisfaction that flourish in harmony with the natural world? In recent decades in the developed world, people have sought happiness in an increasing array of consumer products. This has had a devastating impact on the Earth. In fact, it is widely agreed that consumerism is one of the central roots of the environmental crisis, rivalled only by population growth.' (p.68)

'The future of life on Earth depends on whether the richest fifth of the world's people, having fully met their material needs, can turn to non-material sources of fulfilment; whether those who have defined the tangible goals of world development can now craft a new way of life at once simpler and more satisfying.

In the final analysis, accepting and living by sufficiency rather than excess offers a return to what is, culturally speaking, the human home: to the ancient order of family, community, good work, and good life; to a reverence for skill, creativity, and creation: to a daily cadence slow enough to let us watch the sunset and stroll by the water's edge; to communities worth spending a lifetime in; and to local places pregnant with the memories of generations.' (p.76)

2. 'The All-Consuming Self'' by Allen D. Kanner and Mary E. Gomes

'It is common for ecopsychologists whose work includes long wilderness trips or intense urban restoration projects to report dramatic dramatic break-throughs that shake individuals to their core. When the natural world reawakens in every fibre of our being the primal knowledge of connection and graces us with a few moments of sheer awe, it can shatter the hubris and isolation so necessary to narcissistic defences. Once this has happened, ongoing contact with nature can keep these insights alive and provide the motivation necessary for continued change. It is these experiences that will ultimately fill the empty self and heal the existential loneliness so endemic to our times. (p.91)

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‘Maybe We Have Time‘ extract 1

“Maybe  we still have time

to be and to be just.

Yesterday, truth died 

a most untimely death,

and although everyone knows it,

they all go on pretending.

No one has sent it flowers.

It is dead now and no one weeps.”

(from ‘Maybe We Have Time’  by Pablo Neruda - from ‘Isla Negra’  translated  by Alastair Reid) 

 

 

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Living like Crazy

'Living like Crazy' has highlighted the fact that we have a range of evolved motivational potentials for good or for bad. Our problem is our minds are easily manipulated and textured by social context.'

'We have food industries that convince us to eat and eat, giving way to obesity and diabetes; companies that encourage us to pollute the seas with plastic bottles ... and that's just the tip of the iceberg ...'

'Despite their benefits, social media and internet giants like Google and Facebook can run algorithms to discover anything they can about us that would allow them to manipulate values, political tribal loyalties, and of course purchase products. Everyday our minds are being patterned and influenced without our awareness, not for the benefit of humanity but for various self interests. The compassionate challenge is how to wake up and see what's happening. Practicing mindful compassionate wisdom, while not fool proof, holds the potential to claim back our minds in the service of humanity. What is so heartening is that today more and more people are waking up to the fact that we have an evolved brain, and a culturally inherited created mind, that is driving us crazy. More and more people are now genuinely thinking collectively and scientifically about how to create a better world for us all to live in.'

'Despite many efforts at compassion, our dark sides have ruled our history for many thousands of years and competitive self-interest, greed and tribalism still do. Indeed, many religions have used the dark side to promote themselves. All those who think that compassion is somehow a weakness or an indulgence, or is just being nice, kind, or polite and could never solve any serious problem are seriously misguided. As some of the contemplative traditions have shown us for thousands of years, and science is beginning to reveal, compassion is one of the most important courageous and healing motivations that nature ever came up with. Not to cultivate it and use it for the benefit to us all would be to continue living like crazy.'  (p 535 - 536)

(from 'Living like Crazy' by Paul Gilbert; published 2017)

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