Don’t Just Resist, Return to Who You Are

–by Taiaiake Alfred (Mar 29, 2018)

When we talk about colonization, we tend to think of brutally stolen land, racism, broken treaties, boarding schools. Those are things that happened. Those are the well-known things that shaped the relationship between Indigenous people and the settler society on this continent. But what was the deeper and lasting impact of those things on nations of Indigenous people? Alienation, separation, disconnection.

Colonization is disconnection from the land, from ourselves, and from our culture. The felt manifestation of this disconnection is the alienation that we feel as a result of being caught between two worlds, not being able to live authentic lives. That is why it’s absolutely necessary to continually remind ourselves: It is all about the land.

To decolonize, we need to reclaim the sacred spaces of our traditional territories.
Rename those spaces to sever the emotional and intellectual ties of colonially imposed names and restore the full histories and ancient significances embedded in Indigenous languages. Reoccupy to create a sense of community and purpose and to regenerate our traditional cultural practices. Find a way to give our younger generations access to the lands and waters that are their birthright. Restoring this connection is the crucial task of our survival. […] Continue reading

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Set Our Mind Towards The Infinite

–by Rabindranath Tagore (Mar 28, 2018)

When we watch a girl trying to walk, we see her countless failures; her successes are but few. If we had to limit our observation within a narrow space of time, the sight would be cruel. But we find that in spite of her repeated failures there is an impetus of joy in the child which sustains her in her seemingly impossible task. We see she does not think of her falls so much as of her power to keep her balance though for only a moment.

Like these accidents in a child’s attempts to walk, we meet with sufferings in various forms in our life every day, showing the imperfections in our knowledge and our available power, and in the application of our will. But if these revealed our weakness to us only, we should die of utter depression. When we select for observation a limited area of our activities, our individual failures and miseries loom large in our minds; but our life leads us instinctively to take a wider view. It gives us an ideal of perfection which ever carries us beyond our present limitations. Within us we have a hope which always walks in front of our present narrow experience; it is the undying faith in the infinite in us; it will never accept any of our disabilities as a permanent fact; it sets no limit to its own scope; it dares to assert that a human being has oneness with the Universal Love; and its wild dreams become true every day.

We see the truth when we set our mind towards the infinite. The ideal of truth is not in the narrow present, not in our immediate sensations, but in the consciousness of the whole which give us a taste of what we should have in what we do have. Consciously or unconsciously we have in our life this feeling of Truth which is ever larger than its appearance; for our life is facing the infinite, and it is in movement. Its aspiration is therefore infinitely more than its achievement, and as it goes on it finds that no realisation of truth ever leaves it stranded on the desert of finality, but carries it to a region beyond. Evil cannot altogether arrest the course of life on the highway and rob it of its possessions. For the evil has to pass on, it has to grow into good; it cannot stand and give battle to the All. […] Continue reading

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No Hay Revolución Sin Evolución / There Is No Revolution Without Evolution

–por Victoria Santa Cruz (March 22, 2018) [English below]

Entrevistador (E): Quisiera formularle una pregunta de carácter personal, porque creo que en este caso es importante. El hecho de ser mujer, el hecho de ser negra y el hecho de ser latinoamericana, y también completamente de la parte del Planeta que llamamos Perú, ¿estos han sido 3 obstáculos para usted o no?

Victoria Santa Cruz (VSC): Han sido obstáculos porque me di cuenta de que eso me impedían ciertas cosas. Me he dado cuenta que es obstáculo, porque realmente he ido constatándolo. El nombre de esta conferencia que di en el congreso: “El importante rol que cumple el obstáculo”, es importante porque me di cuenta que el obstáculo cumple un rol: ¿quién en mi se molesta? ¿quién en mi reacciona y desde dónde? Y entonces empecé a descubrir, que el enemigo vive en casa.

Y empecé a descubrir (y por eso es que me importa tanto compartir), que el obstáculo es una suerte de, (si un@ empieza a comprender y un@ empieza a ponerse de pie, es decir, a asumir su responsabilidad sin buscar a quien culpar), que empieza un@ a encontrar esa clave que dice:  “Conócete a ti mism@”. Esa es una clave maravillosa que existirá siempre. Porque mientras el ser humano no sepa quién es, tendrá siempre que buscar a quien culpar. [risas]

Es muy cómodo, pero es una trampa, porque todo lo que es cómodo es una trampa.

E: Estas dificultades que usted ha hallado, ¿a qué se deben, a una situación general de discriminación, a factores sociales, de qué orden?

VSC: Bueno, es discriminación. Me encanta que me ponga esa pregunta. Me importa mucho, porque nos empecinamos en decir que me discriminan por eso, me discriminan por el otro, y aquello no es más que consecuencia de otra cosa: que el ser humano, comprendámoslo bien, está dividido. Dice una cosa, piensa otra y hace otra. Y esta división, mientras no tome consciencia de algo, nos va a destruir.

Entonces, el racismo, la discriminación según las razas, la discriminación por religión, la discriminación por apellido, la discriminación por dinero, son consecuencias de una real división. Y entonces aquí hay algo que me encantaría compartir: desde el momento que el enemigo vive en casa, es que, por alguna razón, no estamos en casa. [risas]

Y entonces es empezar a ponerse de pie, a asumir nuestra responsabilidad, sin buscar a quien culpar, porque no hay revolución sin evolución, y esto se gesta al interior de cada un@ de nosotr@s. Y empezar a descubrir lo importante que es algo que se llama presente. Sólo en el presente hay acción, y sólo en la acción hay mutación, transformación.

Esto lo vengo descubriendo desde casi que tengo uso de razón, porque desde una memoria ancestral digo: “heredé aspectos básicos del ritmo, Africa.” Y cuando en la vida, que es la escuela que hemos olvidado, la vida cotidiana, empiezo a tocar fondo, en un momento de mi vida dije: “No obstante africano, esto es cósmico, porque ¿qué cosa tiene el ser humano, si es un aspecto del cosmos?” Entonces es muy fácil decir soy un microcosmos. Ok! Si eres un microcosmos, descubre las leyes dentro de tí y del macrocosmos, ¡y entra al sitio que te corresponde!

E: Aquí me parece que en su planteamiento hay una inversión, porque normalmente se dice que la transformación tendrá primero que ser social y entonces luego, personal. Y usted invierte los términos y dice que la revolución comienza…

VSC: … en casa! Ya lo creo, no hay revolución sin evolución. Además, lo social, ¿qué es eso? Es decir, es preciso que no continuemos nadando en un océano de palabras. ¿Lo social es qué? Y si no estamos conectad@s con nosotr@s mism@s, no podemos conectarnos con el otro, de hecho.

Además hay una cosa que hay que tener en cuenta (hablando de esta división y hablando de estas consecuencias de la división. Cuando existe esta división, que es terrible, en la célula familia… (y esta célula va desapareciendo ¿no es cierto? porque hoy en día trabaja el padre, la madre, l@s hij@s están en la guardería… y la célula familia es fundamental! hay ciertas cosas que no se aprenden si no es en esa célula familia)… cuando estamos conectad@s con nosotr@s, es entonces cuando un@ empieza a comprender lo que es respeto, y la base de todo, incluyendo el amor, es respeto.

Pero eso, cuando se comprende desde cierta edad, es una convicción porque hay una conexión interna. Entonces esto no es racional, esto no es analítico, esto no es una cosa convencional, esto ES, sin adjetivo. Y ahí viene lo que es compromiso, entonces eso se respeta porque está dentro de las fibras nuestras, y esto, entonces, empieza a dar paso a esa calidad de atención que desde adentro a afuera, empieza (porque todo es alimento, todo es vida y la vida necesita sustento) a alimentar algo que vive en nosotr@s, algo que vive en nosotr@s y que se llama dignidad.

 

–Victoria Santa Cruz, segmento de la entrevista en La Función de la Palabra. Victoria fue una gran maestra, compositora, coreógrafa y diseñadora, exponente del arte afroperuano, cuyo amor por la dignidad y el ritmo es evidente en este video/poema poderoso.

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The Organic and Harmonious Inter-Relation of Virtues

–by Nyanaponika Thera  (March 15, 2018)

Unbounded love guards compassion against turning into partiality, prevents it from making discriminations by selecting and excluding and thus protects it from falling into partiality or aversion against the excluded side. Love imparts to equanimity its selflessness, its boundless nature and even its fervour. For fervour, too, transformed and controlled, is part of perfect equanimity, strengthening its power of keen penetration and wise restraint.

Compassion prevents love and joy from forgetting that, while both are enjoying or giving temporary and limited happiness, there still exist at that time most dreadful states of suffering in the world. It reminds them that their happiness coexists with measureless misery, perhaps at the next doorstep. It is a reminder to love and joy that there is more suffering in the world than they are able to mitigate; that, after the effect of such mitigation has vanished, sorrow and pain are sure to arise anew until suffering is uprooted entirely. Compassion does not allow that love and joy to shut themselves up against the wide world by confining themselves to a narrow sector of it. Compassion prevents love and joy from turning into states of self-satisfied complacency within a jealously guarded petty happiness. Compassion stirs and urges love to widen its sphere; it stirs and urges joy to search for fresh nourishment. Thus it helps both of them to grow into truly boundless states. Compassion guards equanimity from falling into a cold indifference, and keeps it from indolent or selfish isolation. Until equanimity has reached perfection, compassion urges it to enter again and again the battle field of the world, in order to be able to stand the test, by hardening and strengthening itself.

Joy holds compassion back from becoming overwhelmed by the sight of the world’s suffering, from being absorbed by it to the exclusion of everything else. Joy relieves the tension of mind, soothes the painful burning of the compassionate heart. It keeps compassion away from melancholic brooding without purpose, from a futile sentimentality that merely weakens and consumes the strength of mind and heart. Joy develops compassion into active sympathy. Joy gives equanimity the mild serenity that softens its stern appearance.

Equanimity rooted in insight is the guiding and restraining power for the other three sublime states. It points out to them the direction they have to take, and sees to it that this direction is followed. Equanimity guards love and compassion from being dissipated in vain quests and from going astray in the labyrinths of uncontrolled emotion. Equanimity, being a vigilant self-control for the sake of the  final goal, does not allow joy to rest content with humble results, forgetting the real aims we have to strive for. Equanimity, which means “even-mindedness”, gives to love an even, unchanging  firmness and loyalty. It endows it with the great virtue of patience. Equanimity furnishes compassion with an even, unwavering courage and fearlessness, enabling it to face the awesome abyss of misery and despair which confront boundless compassion again and again. To the active side of compassion, equanimity is the calm and  firm hand led by wisdom — indispensable to those who want to practice the difficult art of helping others. And here again equanimity means patience, the patient devotion to the work of compassion.

In these and other ways equanimity may be said to be the crown and culmination of the other three sublime states. The  first three, if unconnected with equanimity and insight, may dwindle away due to the lack of a stabilizing factor. Isolated virtues, if unsupported by other qualities which give them either the needed  firmness or pliancy, often deteriorate into their own characteristic defects. For instance, loving-kindness, without energy and insight, may easily decline to a mere sentimental goodness of weak and unreliable nature. Moreover, such isolated virtues may often carry us in a direction contrary to our original aims and contrary to the welfare of others, too. It is the  firm and balanced character of a person that knits isolated virtues into an organic and harmonious whole, within which the single qualities exhibit their best manifestations and avoid the pitfalls of their respective weaknesses. And this is the very function of equanimity, the way it contributes to an ideal relationship between all four sublime states.

Equanimity is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight. But in its perfection and unshakable nature equanimity is not dull, heartless and frigid. Its perfection is not due to an emotional “emptiness”, but to a “fullness” of understanding, to its being complete in itself. Its unshakable nature is not the immovability of a dead, cold stone, but the manifestation of the highest strength. […]

Love, compassion and joy continue to emanate from the mind and act upon the world, but being guarded by equanimity, they cling nowhere, and return unweakened and unsullied.

Thus within the person who deeply cultivate these virtues nothing is lessened by giving, and she/he does not become poorer by bestowing upon others the riches of her/his heart and mind. This person is like the clear, well-cut crystal which, being without stains, fully absorbs all the rays of light and sends them out again, intensified by its concentrative power. The rays cannot stain the crystal with their various colours. They cannot pierce its hardness, nor disturb its harmonious structure. In its genuine purity and strength, the crystal remains unchanged. “Just as all the streams of the world enter the great ocean, and all the waters of the sky rain into it, but no increase or decrease of the great ocean is to be seen” — even so is the nature of holy equanimity.

 

–Nyanaponika Thera from the booklet, The Four Sublime States: The Practice of Loving-Kindness  [Photo taken from the Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)]

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El Regreso al Templo Interior / The Return to the Inner Temple 

–por Zola Dubnikova (Mar 8th, 2018) [English below]

Es nuestra responsabilidad bailar
para encarnar la esencia de nuestra verdadera divinidad
En nuestras almas, tod@s somos bailarin@s
curander@s
cantantes
y creador@s
tod@s tenemos algo poderoso que decir
que dar

cuando estamos en sintonía con los ritmos de la Tierra
con nuestro ritmo interno
sabemos cómo caminar en límite del tiempo y de los mundos

Tierra
madre
el apoyo profundo debajo de nuestros propios pies

Mujer
la fuerza mística
de la cual tod@s venimos

Tierra
quien nos nutre
quien nos hospeda incondicionalmente

Mujer
la dadora de vida
la pacifista
y el portal al otro lado

Queridos seres a través del tiempo y mundos
es hora de que tod@s nosotr@s regresemos al templo
no al templo de los dioses
profetas
deidades
y leyes
pero el templo de toda la humanidad
el templo del corazón

Es nuestra responsabilidad ver más allá de las historias
y manifestar cambio
y este viaje comienza dentro de cada un@ de nosotr@s
cada mujer
y cada hombre
es hora de recordar

Que recordemos que las raíces crecen
cuando escuchamos la llamada
que nos guía desde adentro,
la llamada que nos lleva a nuestra familia del alma
y nos guía hacia el camino de la verdad,
dándonos un “hogar”
donde sea que estemos.

–Zola Dubnikova del video Raíces: El regreso al templo interior con la música de Estas Tonne. [Foto del post  de la reunión de Gandhi 3.0 en 2018].


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Revolutionary Love: A Feminist Intervention

–by Valarie Kaur  (March 01 2018)

My first lesson in revolutionary love was that stories can help us see no stranger. […]

And then my son was born. In a time when hate crimes against our communities are at the highest they have been since 9/11. When right-wing nationalist movements are on the rise around the globe and have captured the presidency of the United States. When white supremacists march in our streets, torches high, hoods off. And I have to reckon with the fact that my son is growing up in a country more dangerous for him than the one I was given. And there will be moments when I cannot protect him when he is seen as a terrorist … just as black people in America are still seen as criminal. Brown people, illegal. Queer and trans people, immoral. Indigenous people, savage. Women and girls as property. And when they fail to see our bodies as some mother’s child, it becomes easier to ban us, detain us, deport us, imprison us, sacrifice us for the illusion of security. […]

Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is freedom from hate. Because when we are free from hate, we see the ones who hurt us not as monsters, but as people who themselves are wounded, who themselves feel threatened, who don’t know what else to do with their insecurity but to hurt us, to pull the trigger, or cast the boat, or pass the policy aimed at us. But if some of us begin to wonder about them, listen even to their stories, we learn that participation in oppression comes at a cost. It cuts them off from their own capacity to love.

This was my second lesson in revolutionary love. We love our opponents when we tend the wound in them.Tending to the wound is not healing them — only they can do that. Just tending to it allows us to see our opponents: the terrorist, the fanatic, the demagogue. They’ve been radicalized by cultures and policies that we together can change. I looked back on all of our campaigns, and I realized that any time we fought bad actors, we didn’t change very much. But when we chose to wield our swords and shields to battle bad systems, that’s when we saw change. I have worked on campaigns that released hundreds of people out of solitary confinement, reformed a corrupt police department, changed federal hate crimes policy. The choice to love our opponents is moral and pragmatic, and it opens up the previously unimaginable possibility of reconciliation.

But remember, I had to tend to my own rage and grief first. Loving our opponents requires us to love ourselves. Gandhi, King, Mandela — they taught a lot about how to love others and opponents. They didn’t talk a lot about loving ourselves. This is a feminist intervention.

Because for too long have women and women of color been told to suppress their rage, suppress their grief in the name of love and forgiveness. But when we suppress our rage, that’s when it hardens into hate directed outward, but usually directed inward. But mothering has taught me that all of our emotions are necessary. Joy is the gift of love. Grief is the price of love. Anger is the force that protects it.

This was my third lesson in revolutionary love. We love ourselves when we breathe through the fire of pain and refuse to let it harden into hate.

That’s why I believe that love must be practiced in all three directions to be revolutionary. Loving just ourselves feels good, but it’s narcissism. Loving only our opponents is self-loathing. Loving only others is ineffective. This is where a lot of our movements live right now. We need to practice all three forms of love. And so, how do we practice it?

Number 1, in order to love others, see no stranger. We can train our eyes to look upon strangers on the street, on the subway, on the screen, and say in our minds, “Brother, sister, aunt, uncle.” And when we say this, what we are saying is, “You are a part of me I do not yet know. I choose to wonder about you. I will listen for your stories and pick up a sword when you are in harm’s way.”

And so, number 2: in order to love our opponents, tend the wound. Can you see the wound in the ones who hurt you? Can you wonder even about them? And if this question sends panic through your body, then your most revolutionary act is to wonder, listen and respond to your own needs.

Number 3: in order to love ourselves, breathe and push. When we are pushing into the fires in our bodies or the fires in the world, we need to be breathing together in order to be pushing together. How are you breathing each day? Who are you breathing with? Because … when executive orders and news of violence hits our bodies hard, sometimes less than a minute apart, it feels like dying. In those moments, my son places his hand on my cheek and says, “Dance time, mommy?” And we dance. In the darkness, we breathe and we dance. Our family becomes a pocket of revolutionary love. Our joy is an act of moral resistance. How are you protecting your joy each day? Because in joy we see even darkness with new eyes.

And so the mother in me asks, what if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our future is not dead, but still waiting to be born? What if this is our great transition?Remember the wisdom of the midwife. “Breathe,” she says. And then — “push.” Because if we don’t push, we will die. If we don’t breathe, we will die.

Revolutionary love requires us to breathe and push through the fire with a warrior’s heart and a saint’s eyes so that one day, one day you will see my son as your own and protect him when I am not there. You will tend to the wound in the ones who want to hurt him. You will teach him how to love himself because you love yourself. You will whisper in his ear, as I whisper in yours, “You are brave.” You are brave.

— Valarie Kaur. Excerpt from her TED talk, 3 Lessons Of Revolutionary Love in Times of Rage. [The art above by Colleen Choi]

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La Intimidad y Sus Diferencias / Intimacy and Its Differences

–por Diane Musho Hamilton  (Feb 23, 2018) [English below]

Tami Simon: Quería leer una cita de tu libro que realmente me llamó la atención: “Hay un límite incorporado a nuestra intimidad y confianza porque rehuimos de reconocer la verdadera profundidad de nuestras diferencias”. Mientras leía esto, estaba pensando en todo tipo de relaciones, incluso nuestras relaciones más íntimas con amig@s y nuestr@ espos@, y que puede ser aterrador para la gente reconocer, en serio, la verdadera profundidad de las maneras en las que somos diferentes. Quería que platicáramos un poco sobre esto. ¿Por qué es esto tan aterrador? ¿Por qué nos sentimos tan amenazad@s sólo porque alguien en nuestro círculo es diferente?

Diane Musho Hamilton: Hay diferentes tipos de niveles con los que podemos explorar o mirar esta pregunta, Tami. Uno es desde un punto de vista espiritual donde la separación y la experiencia de la división es la experiencia del sufrimiento. Entonces, cuando nos sentimos separad@s, desconectad@s, cuando esa desconexión conduce al conflicto, cuando ese conflicto conduce a la distanciamiento, cuando los distanciamientos conducen a injusticias o cuando todo esto se suma a una opresión, eso es exactamente lo que es el sufrimiento. Es una diferencia exagerada.

Solo para señalar que nuestro estado natural es el de unión, de coherencia, de estar junt@s y el cuerpo humano de verdad se relaja en circunstancias en las que nos sentimos junt@s. Cuando miras profundamente los ojos de tu pareja y tod@s están relajad@s, o cuando cargas a un bebé y tienes contacto con el bebé, la oxitocina simplemente fluye y se siente muy, muy bien. Tan pronto como experimentamos una diferencia, la adrenalina comienza a gotear, el cortisol, porque cuando hay diferencia, también hay una amenaza.

La otra cosa: podemos ver la diferencia desde una perspectiva etnocéntrica. Básicamente, en el transcurso de nuestra evolución, nuestra supervivencia dependía de la unión en nuestras pequeñas bandas de 15 a 60 homínidos, y que teníamos más probabilidades de ser herid@s o matad@s por un humano fuera de la banda que por otro depredador. Las diferencias en la cultura son, en nuestro sistema nervioso, profundamente equiparadas con la amenaza. Cuando estamos bajo coerción, nos juntamos con aquell@s que son como nosotr@s. Nos movemos profundamente en esa unión y alejamos a cualquiera que sea diferente.

Incluso las diferencias en nuestra familia pueden parecer amenazadoras, diferencias con l@s vecin@s de la calle, que tienen un color de piel dediferente al nuestro y cuya comida huele diferente y cuya música suena diferente a la nuestra. Eso se vuelve más amenazante porque lo que me resulta familiar y asegura mi supervivencia y me ayuda a sentirme en casa, está de alguna manera amenazado por esa diferencia. Esa es en parte de la razón por la que escribí el libro: creo que de alguna manera, hoy en día, prestamos mucha atención a la comprensión de las diferencias y al cultivo de la diversidad, pero creo que no reconocemos suficientemente el sufrimiento que es innato en nuestras diferencias y cuán amenazadoras pueden ser para nosotr@s, particularmente a nivel cultural, nuestras diferencias.

La noción de ser capaz de tolerar nuevas perspectivas o chocar con personas que son diferentes a nosotr@s, ese es el mecanismo por el cual el universo se evoluciona a sí mismo. Por lo tanto, no crecemos si no encontramos diferencias, pero las diferencias básicamente no nos hacen sentir bien. Al principio son emocionantes y después somos muy rápid@s en normalizarlas e integrarlas. Entre más podamos tolerar mirar la diferencia, y reconocer nuestras diferencias, y permitir que estén allí, más ampliaremos nuestro campo para incluir esa pertubación a la homeostasis de nuestro cuerpo-mente. Una mayor atención plena permite más perturbaciones.

No he visto a nadie más que esté hablando al respecto de esta manera. Sé que hay algun@s neurocientífic@s que hablan sobre cómo el cerebro evoluciona de esa manera, creando nuevos y diferentes patrones de sinapsis y redes, y que a medida que se integran, así es como de verdad evoluciona el cerebro. He oído esto. Escuché a Ken Wilber hablar sobre el tema con el universo. Pero creo que es verdaderamente importante que lo comprendamos en la intimidad más profunda.

Entonces, puedo ser más íntima contigo si de verdad cultivamos lo mismo, pero si también creamos un lugar para las maneras en las que nuestra experiencia es muy diferente. No es simplemente estar de acuerdo en estar en desacuerdo. Sino permitir que esa separación informe y sea parte de nuestra relación.

–Diane Musho Hamilton. Pasaje de la entrevista El poder evolutivo de la comunicación con atención plena, con Tami Simon publicada en el DailyGood. [Foto de  La Foto del Día de Astronomía.]

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You Are One Of Us

–by Steve Karlin (Feb 15, 2018)

Steve Karlin [SK]: When I’m talking, I’m trying to be in my place in the center. Now, I’m aware of all my [hand]shaking going on. But when I’m trying to communicate, I’m not aware of it at that point…It just really keeps reminding me that I have to be reflective of what’s really going on and who I am as a human being. Am I a shell that’s shaking? To some people, yes; to most people, yes. To me, it’s the being inside: all the stories, all the experiences wrapped around that core spark of existence.

Phill Borges [PB]: So, for you, it is just a reminder that we really aren’t in control?

SK: Yes, and that we have to stop spending our lives trying to be in control. I’m not saying don’t be a powerful person and do wonderful things in this world, instead, just lie there and be a schmuck in the middle of a forest. But realize that we are only on this Planet for a very short period of time. We are not this shell. This is the story we have made up in our minds, of who we are. Because, beyond all of our personality, there is something in here that is connected with everything in existence on this Planet, and if we can become aware and conscious and part of that…And this is why people do meditative practices; there is such an experience of oneness that you can’t put into words. It’s the language before words, the language after words; it’s the language of existence. And to be experiencing that oneness of all living things is the epitome of being a human being.

The indigenous cultures, they have all these stories about spirits of the forest, spirits of the trees. How else can you relate it? You can’t put it into words. So, you have this incredible experience with trees and forests and this connection when you know certain tree saps save your life…If you are living in the forest, and that tree saved your aunt, and you made something out of this flower, and it saved your mother, those trees are holy; those trees are sacred. They are sacred because they have such an affinity, such a relationship with you. So how should we treat that flower, if it saved our relative, a human being?

PB: With a lot of reverence.

SK: Yeah! How should we treat the forest that provides a carbon sink and oxygen, and plankton that provides all this green algae? All this stuff is sacred because of our relationship with it—it keeps us alive… Continue reading

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La Claridad No Tiene Miedo / Clarity Has No Fear

–por Margaret Wheatley  (Feb 08, 2018) [English below]

Querer ver claramente es un verdadero acto de valentía. Abrir nuestro corazón y nuestra mente, estar abiert@s a lo que la vida nos ofrece en este momento, requiere un tremendo valor y firmeza.

Al abrirnos, encontraremos la información que habíamos desechado, los mensajes que no quisimos oír, las ideas que habíamos rechazado, la gente que habíamos hecho invisible.

Nuestra apertura también invita a las emociones penetrantes como la pena, la tristeza, el amor, la compasión.

No creamos el espacio de visión clara con nuestros métodos habituales. Sin questionarnos, sin análisis, sin distinciones. Simplemente permanecer como testigos de lo que está presente. Cuanto menos clasificamos, juzgamos, categorizamos o distinguimos, más vemos y sentimos.

Sin nuestros filtros y límites habituales, dejamos de sentirnos rechazad@s o amenazad@s o asustad@s. Descubrimos que somos mucho más grandes que nuestros límites habituales. De hecho, somos lo suficientemente grandes como para aceptarlo todo.

Y es maravillosamente cierto que, cuanto más abiert@s estamos, menos miedo está presente. El miedo hace un buen trabajo al mantenernos alejados de estar en el presente abordándonos con pensamientos sobre lo que puede ocurrir en el futuro, o lo que parece que ocurrió en el pasado.

Pero en este momento presente, no encontramos el miedo por ningún lado. Ver claramente no tiene ningún miedo. Estamos en este preciso momento libres del agarre hipnotizador del miedo.

Para estar libres del miedo, solamente necesitamos estar presentes en el momento. Y entonces podemos ver claramente.

— Margaret Wheatley es una escritora y consultora que estudia el comportamiento organizacional. Este texto está sacado de su libro Perseverancia. [Pasaje escogido de Awakin. Foto de  La Foto del Día de Astronomía].

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Words Make Worlds

–by Robin Wall Kimmerer  (Jan Feb 01 2018)

Writing as an indigenous plant woman I might say, “My plant relatives have shared healing knowledge with me and given me a root medicine.” Instead of ignoring our mutual relationship, I celebrate it. Yet English grammar demands that I refer to my esteemed healer as it, not as a respected teacher, as all plants are understood to be in Potawatomi. That has always made me uncomfortable. I want a word for beingness. Can we unlearn the language of objectification and throw off colonized thought? Can we make a new world with new words?

Inspired by the grammar of animacy in Potawatomi that feels so right and true, I’ve been searching for a new expression that could be slipped into the English language in place of it when we are speaking of living beings. Mumbling to myself through the woods and fields, I’ve tried many different words, hoping that one would sound right to my leafy or feathered companions. There was one that kept rising through my musings. So I sought the counsel of my elder and language guide, Stewart King, and explained my purpose in seeking a word to instill animacy in English grammar, to heal disrespect. He rightly cautioned that “our language holds no responsibility to heal the society that sought to exterminate it.” With deep respect for his response, I thought also of how the teachings of our traditional wisdom might one day be needed as medicine for a broken world. So I asked him if there was a word in our language that captured the simple but miraculous state of just being. And of course there is. “Aakibmaadiziiwin,” he said, “means ‘a being of the earth.'” I sighed with relief and gratitude for the existence of that word. However, those beautiful syllables would not slide easily into English to take the place of the pronoun it. But I wondered about that first sound, the one that came to me as I walked over the land. With full recognition and celebration of its Potawatomi roots, might we hear a new pronoun at the beginning of the word, from the “aaki” part that means land? Ki to signify a being of the living earth. Not he or she, but ki. So that when the robin warbles on a summer morning, we can say, “Ki is singing up the sun.” Ki runs through the branches on squirrel feet, ki howls at the moon, ki’s branches sway in the pine-scented breeze, all alive in our language as in our world. […]

The ecological compassion that resides in our indigenous languages is dangerous once again to the enterprise of domination, as political and economic forces are arrayed against the natural world and extractive colonialism is reborn under the gospel of prosperity. The contrast in worldview is as stark today as it was in my grandfather’s time, and once again it is land and native peoples who are made to pay the price.

If you think this is only an arcane linguistic matter, just look to the North Dakota prairie where, as I write this, there are hundreds of people camping out in a blizzard enduring bitter cold to continue the protective vigil for their river, which is threatened by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the pipeline’s inevitable oil spills. The river is not an it for them—the river lies within their circle of moral responsibility and compassion and so they protect ki fiercely, as if the river were their relative, because ki is. But the ones they are protecting ki from speak of the river and the oil and the pipe all with the same term, as if “it” were their property, as if “it” were nothing more than resources for them to use. As if it were dead.

At Standing Rock, between the ones armed with water cannons and the ones armed with prayer, exist two different languages for the world, and that is where the battle lines are being drawn. Do we treat the earth as if ki is our relative—as if the earth were animated by being—with reciprocity and reverence, or as stuff that we may treat with or without respect, as we choose? The language and worldview of the colonizer are once again in a showdown with the indigenous worldview. Knowing this, the water protectors at Standing Rock were joined by thousands of non-native allies, who also speak with the voice of resistance, who speak for the living world, for the grammar of animacy. Continue reading

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