‘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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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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Does it Matter? Pt 2

 'It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Joy is life living through you.

Satisfaction and strength

is life living through you.

He says don't be afraid.

Don't be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.'

(from Roger Keyes 'Hokusai Says' published by the Mindfulness Association) 

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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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Enjoy The Ride

This is the last section from the final chapter of 'Neurodharma' by Rick Hanson:

Enjoy the Ride

It's a wild life. Here we are on a small planet going around an ordinary star on the edge of one galaxy amidst a couple of trillion others. Nearly 14 billion years have passed since our universe bubbled into being. And here we are now. Countless creatures have died so that tiny improvements in their capabilities could be stabilised through evolution in increasingly complex species, and eventually in us today. So many, many things have happened already. And here we are.

It's strange isn't it, this life? You live and love and then you leave. My time will come, and yours, and everyone else's. Meanwhile, we can be gobsmacked with awe and gratitude , and committed to enjoying this life as best we can while learning as much as we can and contributing as much as we can each day.

Along the way, take in the good, helping your beneficial experiences sink in and become lasting strengths inside, woven into the fabric of your body. So many opportunities for this mindful cultivation occur in even the hardest life. Recognise what is wholesome, helpful, beautiful in yourself and in others and in everything. Let it land in you, becoming you.

I once asked the teacher Joseph Goldstein about an experience while wondering if I was on the right track. He listened and nodded and said, "Yes, that's it." And then he emailed and said, "Keep on going." (p. 252)

   -  Rick Hanson


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