Lluvia del Alma/ Rain of the Soul

por Pancho Ramos-Stierle [English below]

en la noche
despierta con el aroma de los soles lejanos
mucho antes de que salpiquen
el techo de tu corazón

quítate las cobijas del saber ahora
y deja que el espíritu corra afuera descalzo
en los campos inconocibles de la Amada
ofrece una reverencia

y antes de que la piel de la mente
pueda sentir la primera gota
la renuencia mojada de la belleza
salpica tu corazónmente
con luces incansables
que nunca se rinden sino que entretejen

amo las estrellas y sus lluvias
cuando besan los ojos
plantan su fragancia en la corazón-mente

riega
lo que te haga amplio el corazón
lo que te ilumine el rostro

si, si bajas la mirada
hay un suelo que nos separa y nos hace diferentes
sigue levantando la mirada
y ve como el cielo nos une y nos asemeja

entonces la Tierra, su humedad, resplandor y vibración
emerge como nuestro amado hogar, sonrisa y celebración
siente la fuerza que nos une
te enamoras con la fuente
sigue siendo testigo dentro y afuera
y ofrece oraciones atrevidas, poemas vírgenes y canciones de amor
a esta inalcanzable
lluvia luminosa del alma

y deja ¡que llueva! ¡que llueva! ¡que llueva!

https://earthfamilia.org

Rain of the Soul
at night
wake to the scent of distant stars
long before they splatter
the roof of your heart

throw off the blankets of knowing now
and let the spirit run outside barefoot
into the unknowable fields of the Beloved bow

and before the mind’s skin could even feel the first drop
the wet reluctance of beauty
splashes your heartmind
with untiring lights
that never give up but bind

am in-love with the stars and their rain
when she kisses the eyes
plants her fragrance in the heartmind

water
what makes your heart wide
what makes your face shine

yes, looking down
there’s ground that separates us and makes us different
keep looking up
and see the sky that unites us and makes us the same

then the Earth her moist, radiance and vibration
emerges as our beloved home, smile and celebration
feel the unifying force
falling in-love with the source
keep witnessing in and out
and offer wild prayers, raw poems and love songs
to this unfathomable
luminous rain of the soul

and let it rain! rain! rain!

Follow Pancho’s present Pilgrimage at  https://earthfamilia.org/  with a purpose to dissolve borders (physical, intellectual, cultural, among many others) and to plant seeds of oneness in our planet/communities.  You too can participate: click here to support this pilgrimage

Advertisements
Posted in ahimsa, Awakin Oakland, meditation, natural philosophy, nonviolence, poetry, Shanti Sena, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Cosmos in the Tree as seen by Thích Nhất Hạnh

by Novasutras.org

A wonderful quote by Thích Nhất Hạnh in The Art of Mindful Living provides a lovely illustration of agaya which is a new term, intended as an expression of the deep, sacred beauty of the universe.

 “Look at the tree. [It] is a wonderful thing, a tree. A tree is very beautiful. A tree to me is as beautiful as a cathedral, even more beautiful. I look[ed] into the tree and I saw the whole cosmos in it.

I saw the sunshine in the tree. Can you see the sunshine in the tree? Yes, because without the sunshine, no tree can grow.

I see a cloud in the tree. Can you see? Without a cloud, there can be no rain, no tree.

I see the earth in the tree.

I see everything in the tree.

So the tree is where everything in the cosmos comes into, and the cosmos reveals itself to me through a tree. Therefore, a tree to me is a cathedral, and I can take refuge in the tree and I can get nourished by the tree…

I can get in touch with the tree only if I go back to the present moment, because the tree can only be found in the present moment.”

Of course, agaya can take you even deeper. The elemental atoms of the tree came from the heart of an exploding star billions of years ago, so that nova is in the tree (as it is in you). The water, the carbon, everything that the tree has taken in as it grows has been cycling in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere of Earth for about four billion years. Because of the number of atoms, and how well they mix over time, it is likely that any given tree might have taken in some of Cleopatra’s bathwater, some of the calcium from a dinosaur’s bones, some of the nitrogen from the first generation of jellyfish, some of the carbon dioxide you exhaled whenever you walked past. This is how agaya transitions into ubuntu – we are all made of the same things, and as participants in Earth’s biosphere we constantly share matter and energy.

Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term (South Africa) is a term meaning a sense of community with others. Is a term that represents the connections between all things and Thích Nhất Hạnh provided a beautiful expression of Ubuntu in the following sentences:

“We are all the leaves of one tree. We are all the waves of one sea; the time has come for all to live as one”

Posted in ahimsa, astrobiology, Awakin Oakland, fearlessness, natural philosophy, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

La vida espiritual comienza en el corazón / Spiritual Life Begins Within the Heart

por Joan Chittister [English below]

La verdad es que pasamos nuestras vidas en la centrifugadora de la paradoja. Lo que parece ciertamente verdadero por un lado, parece igual de falso por otro. La vida está hecha de incongruencias: la vida termina en muerte; Lo que nos trae alegría seguramente nos traerá una cantidad igual y equivalente de dolor; la perfección es un concepto muy imperfecto; Las fidelidades de todo tipo prometen apoyo, pero también a menudo terminan.

¿Cómo podemos justificar estas cosas? ¿Cómo podemos lidiar con ellas? ¿Cómo podemos encontrar tanto consuelo en ellas como confusión? Estas son las preguntas que no desaparecerán, pero a las que los gigantes espirituales de todas las edades sabían que debemos de enfrentarnos si alguna vez nos elevamos por encima de la inquietud que nos provocan. Hay un punto en la vida en el que sus paradojas no solo deben considerarse, sino que deben dejarse reposar.

La gran verdad de la espiritualidad monástica temprana, por ejemplo, reside en la conciencia de que solo cuando la vida se vive en el aura de lo trascendente, en el descubrimiento del Espíritu que se nos presenta en los lugares comunes de la vida, donde se encuentran las paradojas, podemos, posiblemente vivir la vida en toda su plenitud, la vida que cae a plomo hasta sus profundidades. […]

Para la persona promedio cuya vida es ilustrativa sobre todo por su carácter ordinario, por ejemplo, para personas como tú y como yo, lo que sucede dentro de nosotros es lo que importa para la vida sana y la espiritualidad real.

Claramente, la vida espiritual comienza dentro del corazón de una persona. Y cuando las tormentas internas retrocedan, el mundo que nos rodea se detendrá y estabilizará también. O para decirlo de otra manera, fue la codicia lo que hizo quebrar a Wall Street, no la falta de algoritmos financieros. Lo que sea que albergamos en el alma a lo largo de las noches de nuestra vida es lo que viviremos durante las horas del día.

Esta concentración centrada en la esencia y el propósito de la vida, junto con un enfoque en la calma interior y la compostura, hace que la vida se viva con luz blanca y calor profundo en el centro mismo del alma. Centrarnos en los espíritus dentro de nosotr@s, en lugar de estar obsesionad@s con las vicisitudes y las pequeñas imperfecciones de la vida, le da al alma su estabilidad, independientemente de los tipos o grados de turbulencia que haya a su alrededor. […]

Son las paradojas de nuestros tiempos las que merodean dentro de nosotros, que nos confunden, minan nuestra energía y, al final, desafían nuestra fuerza por la cotidianeidad de la vida. Nos llaman a profundizar en nosotros mismos. Nos obligan a ver la vida detrás de la vida. Enfrentando las paradojas de la vida que nos rodea y en nosotros, contemplando el significado que tienen para nosotr@s mism@s, con el tiempo y finalmente, nos llevan a dar espacio al trabajo del Espíritu en nuestras propias vidas.

La hermana Joan Chittister ha sido monja desde su adolescencia, es defensora de la justicia y es autora de más de 50 libros. Extraído de su libro Entre la oscuridad y la luz del día.

Spiritual Life Begins Within The Heart

The truth is that we spend our lives in the centrifuge of paradox. What seems certainly true on the one hand seems just as false on the other. Life is made up of incongruities: Life ends in death; what brings us joy will surely bring us an equal and equivalent amount of sorrow; perfection is a very imperfect concept; fidelities of every ilk promise support but also often end.

How can we account for these things? How can we deal with them? How can we find as much comfort in them as there is confusion? These are the queries that will not go away but which, the spiritual giants of every age knew, need to be faced if we are ever to rise above the agitation of them. There is a point in life when its paradoxes must be not only considered but laid to rest.

The great truth of early monastic spirituality, for instance, lies in the awareness that only when life is lived in the aura of the transcendent, in the discovery of the Spirit present to us in the commonplaces of life, where the paradoxes lie, can we possibly live life to its fullness, plumb life to its depths. […]

To the average person whose life is exemplary most of all for its ordinariness—to people like you and me, for instance—it is what goes on inside of us that matters for the healthy life and real spirituality.

Clearly, the spiritual life begins within the heart of a person. And when the storms within recede, the world around us will still and stabilize as well. Or to put it another way, it was greed that broke Wall Street, not the lack of financial algorithms. Whatever it is that we harbor in the soul throughout the nights of our lives is what we will live out during the hours of the day.

This single-minded concentration on the essence and purpose of life, along with a focus on inner quietude and composure, makes for a life lived in white light and deep heat at the very core of the soul. Centering on the spirits within us, rather than being obsessed with the vicissitudes and petty imperfections of life gives the soul its stability, whatever the kinds or degrees of turbulence to be dealt with around it. […]

It is the paradoxes of our own times that skulk within us, that confuses us, sap our energy, and, in the end, tax our strength for the dailiness of life. They call us to the depth of ourselves. They require us to see Life behind life. Confronting the paradoxes of life around us and in us, contemplating the meaning of them for ourselves, eventually and finally, leads to our giving place to the work of the Spirit in our own lives.

Sister Joan Chittister has been a nun since her teen years, is an advocate for justice, and authored more than 50 books. Excerpted from her book Between the Dark and the Daylight.

Posted in ahimsa, Awakin Oakland, fearlessness, meditation, Mindfulness, nonviolence, Peace Army, satyagraha, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Our Spiritual Bond with Nature

–by Rachel Carson 

A large part of my life has been concerned with some of the beauties and mysteries of this Earth about us, and with the even greater mysteries of the life that inhabits it. No one can dwell long among such subjects without thinking rather deep thoughts, without asking oneself searching and often unanswerable questions, and without achieving a certain philosophy…. Every mystery solved brings us to the threshold of a greater one. […]

The pleasures, the values of contact with the natural world, are not reserved for the scientists. They are available to anyone who will place themselves under the influence of a lonely mountain top — or the sea — or the stillness of a forest; or who will stop to think about so small a thing as the mystery of a growing seed.

I consider my contributions to scientific fact far less important than my attempts to awaken an emotional response to the world of nature. So the “wonder” book, and “Remembrances of Earth” I should consider more important than any mere reporting of scientific fact. […]

Beauty — and all the values that derive from beauty — are not measured and evaluated in terms of the dollar. […]

I believe natural beauty has a necessary place in the spiritual development of any individual or any society. I believe that whenever we destroy beauty, or whenever we substitute something man-made and artificial for a natural feature of the Earth, we have retarded some part of humanity’s spiritual growth.

I believe this affinity of the human spirit for the Earth and its beauties is deeply and logically rooted. As human beings, we are part of the whole stream of life. We have been human beings for perhaps a million years. But life itself — passes on something of itself to other life — that mysterious entity that moves and is aware of itself and its surroundings, and so is distinguished from rocks or senseless clay — [from which] life arose many hundreds of millions of years ago. Since then it has developed, struggled, adapted itself to its surroundings, evolved an infinite number of forms. But its living protoplasm is built of the same elements as air, water, and rock. To these the mysterious spark of life was added. Our origins are of the earth. And so there is in us a deeply seated response to the natural universe, which is part of our humanity.

–Rachel Carson. Passage from Brain Pickings. [] 

Tukuram Poem:   My Lucky Rock

I said to a squirrel, “What is that you are carrying?”
and she said,
“It is my lucky rock; isn’t it pretty?”
I held it and said, “Indeed.”

I said to God,
“What is the earth?”
And God said, “It is my lucky rock;
isn’t it wondrous?”

Yes indeed.


Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907–April 14, 1964) — the pioneering marine biologist and writer who catalyzed the modern environmental movement and ushered in a new literary aesthetic of writing about science as something inseparable from life and inherently poetic. Carson examined the question of beauty as a lens on comprehending the universe in a stunning speech she delivered before a summit of women journalists in 1954, later published under the title “The Real World Around Us” in Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (public library)

Posted in ahimsa, anarchism, astrobiology, Awakin Oakland, fearlessness, meditation, natural philosophy, nonviolence, Peace Army, poetry, science, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

La major medicina para mi aflicción de crisis climática /The Best Medicine for My Climate Grief

por Perter Kalmus [English below]

A veces una ola de angustia sobre la crisis climática me invade. Ocurre inesperadamente, tal vez durante una presentación de libros, o mientras hablo por teléfono con un representante del Congreso. En un milisegundo, sin previo aviso, siento que mi garganta se anuda, mis ojos arden y mi estómago cae hacia el fondo del planeta.

Por lo general, no me altera el dolor que se manifiesta. Es aclarador. Tiene sentido  y me inspira a trabajar más intensamente. Ocasionalmente, sin embargo, siento algo bastante diferente, una sensación de ansiedad paralizante.

Con lo mucho que podemos perder – el futuro que habíamos imaginado para nuestr@s hij@s; nuestro sentido de progreso; lugares queridos, especies y ecosistemas – la psicología será compleja. Así que contacté a Renee Lertzman para obtener información sobre cómo estamos lidiando con tan grandes pérdidas inminentes. Lertzman es psicóloga y estudia los efectos de la crisis ambiental en la salud mental y es autora de Environmental Melancholia: Psychoanalytic Dimensions of Engagement.

“Hay investigaciones abrumadoras que demuestran que la angustia y la ansiedad relacionadas con la crisis climática están aumentando”, me dijo. “Yo diría que muchas personas están experimentando lo que yo llamaría una forma de ansiedad o temor que está “latente “, en el sentido de que tal vez no estén hablando mucho de eso, pero lo están sintiendo”.

Si estamos sintiendo estas emociones o si sabemos de otr@s quienes están sintiendo lo mismo, sería útil hablar de estos sentimientos. “Lo principal es que encontremos formas de hablar sobre lo que estamos experimentando en un contexto seguro y sin prejuicios, y de escuchar con el corazón abierto. Frecuentemente, cuando surge la ansiedad o el miedo, tod@s queremos alejarlo y enfocarnos a “soluciones”.

Woman Silhouette Walking On Beach. Sunset. Thailand. 2016. Photo by Milamai/Getty Images

Un informe de 2017 de la “Asociación Norteamericana de Psicología” descubrió que el cambio climático está causando estrés, ansiedad, depresión y tensión en las relaciones entre human@s. El peso psicológico del cambio climático puede conducir a sentimientos de impotencia y miedo, y a la desconexión climática. No es sorprendente que l@s afectad@s directamente por los desastres climáticos han aumentado: por ejemplo, después del huracán Katrina, el suicidio en las áreas afectadas se duplicó; la situación en post-maria Puerto Rico es igualmente grave.

Pensar a diario sobre el cambio climático y cualquiera de sus graves implicaciones puede ser una fuerte carga  psicológica. Cada uno de nosotr@s es solo un/a mamífer@, con todas nuestras limitaciones de mamífer@s: nos cansamos, estamos tristes, irritad@s, enferm@s, abrumad@s, y la crisis climática es consecuencia de 8 mil millones de human@s con infraestructura, corporaciones, capital, política e imaginación inter-relacionadas en los combustibles fósiles.

“Es importante recordar que la inacción rara vez se trata de una falta de preocupación: es un sentimiento más complejo”, dijo Lertzman. “Es decir, que los occidentales estamos viviendo en una sociedad que todavía está profundamente arraigada en las prácticas que ahora sabemos que son perjudiciales y destructivas. Esto crea un tipo de situación muy específica: lo que l@s psicólog@s llaman disonancia cognitiva. A menos que sepamos cómo trabajar con esta disonancia, continuaremos enfrentando resistencia, inacción y reactividad ”.

Pero, dijo Lertzman, “debemos tener cuidado de no tener prejuicios o suposiciones sobre otras personas. Incluso si la gente no lo demuestra, las investigaciones demuestran lo contrario. Frecuentemente están en sus mentes estos temas y es una fuente de incomodidad o angustia “. Si tiene razón, tal vez el cambio radical en la acción pública que necesitamos desesperadamente esté más cerca de lo que parece. Sin duda sería útil poder hablar abiertamente sobre nuestros sentimientos hacia el cambio climático.

Las cosas se sienten algo diferente en el presente, tanto porque más personas se están quejando y porque soy parte de comunidades que están tan preocupadas como yo (por ejemplo, mi grupo local de la Presión Política Crisis Climática). Hay más personas en mi vida que hablan abiertamente sobre el cambio climático. Y eso ayuda.

Otra forma de confrontar es simplemente utilizar menos combustible fósil. Esto elimina la disonancia cognitiva interna al alinear mis acciones con mi conocimiento. También provee grandes beneficios adicionales, como más ejercicio de ciclismo, alimentación vegetariana más saludable, más conexión con la tierra a través de la jardinería ,y más conexión con la comunidad a través del activismo y la divulgación pública.

Además, me oriento activamente hacia la esperanza. En la película “Melancolía”, sobre un misterioso planeta en curso de colisión con la Tierra, el protagonista acepta pasivamente, incluso abraza, el apocalipsis. Nada puede detenerlo;   la aniquilación ecológica es inevitable.

El cambio climático moderno es completamente diferente: es 100 por ciento causado por l@s human@s, por lo que es 100 por ciento solucionable por l@s mism@s. Si l@s human@s se unieran como si nuestras vidas dependieran de ello, podríamos dejar el combustible fósil en cuestión de años. Esto requeriría un cambio radical en la sociedad global, y no sugiero que suceda. Pero pudiera ser, y esta posibilidad deja abierto un camino intermedio, algo entre una acción climática radical y una aniquilación planetaria inevitable — un cambio cultural rápido — en el que todos podemos contribuir a través de nuestras conversaciones y nuestras acciones diarias. Y eso provee mucha esperanza.

Peter Kalmus

Extraído de la revista YES

Sometimes a wave of climate grief breaks over me. It happens unexpectedly, perhaps during a book talk, or while on the phone with a congressional representative. In a millisecond, without warning, I’ll feel my throat clench, my eyes sting, and my stomach drop as though the Earth below me is falling away.

Usually I don’t mind the grief. It’s clarifying. It makes sense to me, and inspires me to work harder than ever. Occasionally, however, I feel something quite different, a paralyzing sense of anxiety.

With so much at stake—the futures we’d envisioned for our children; our sense of progress; beloved places, species, and ecosystems—the psychology is going to be complex. So I reached out to Renee Lertzman to gain insight into how we’re coping with such huge impending losses. Lertzman is a psychologist studying the effects of environmental loss on mental health and the author of Environmental Melancholia: Psychoanalytic Dimensions of Engagement.

“There is overwhelming research that distress and anxiety relating to climate is on the rise,” she told me. “Many people, I’d argue, are experiencing what I’d call a ‘latent’ form of climate anxiety or dread, in that they may not be talking about it much but they are feeling it.”

If we’re feeling these emotions or if we know others who are, it would be helpful to talk about them. “The main thing is that we find ways to talk about what we are experiencing in a safe and nonjudgmental context, and to be open to listening. All too often, when anxiety or fear comes up, we all want to push it away and move into ‘solutions.’”

2017 report by the American Psychological Association found that climate change is causing stress, anxiety, depression, and relationship strain. The psychological weight of climate change can lead to feelings of helplessness and fear, and to climate disengagement. Not surprisingly, those directly impacted by climate-augmented disasters fare even worse: For example, after Hurricane Katrina, suicide in affected areas more than doubled; the situation in post-Maria Puerto Rico is similarly dire.

To think daily about climate change and any of its dire implications can be a crushing psychological burden. Each of us is just one mammal, with all our mammalian limitations—we get tired, sad, irritated, sick, overwhelmed—and the climate crisis wields the force of 8 billion humans with infrastructure, corporations, capital, politics, and imaginations heavily invested in burning fossil fuels.

“It’s important to remember that inaction is rarely about a lack of concern or care, but is so much more complex,” Lertzman said. “Namely, that we westerners are living in a society that is still deeply entrenched in the very practices we now know are damaging and destructive. This creates a very specific kind of situation—what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Unless we know how to work with this dissonance, we will continue to come up against resistance, inaction, and reactivity.”

But, said Lertzman, “we need to be careful not to make assumptions about other people’s relationships with these issues. Even if people may not be showing it, research shows again and again that it’s still on their minds and a source of discomfort or distress.” If she’s right, maybe the sea change in public action we desperately need is closer than it seems. It would certainly be helpful if we could talk openly about how climate change is making us feel.

Things do feel somewhat different now, both because more people are calling for and also because I’m now part of communities with people who are as concerned as I am (for example, my local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby). There are more people in my life talking openly about climate change. And that helps.

Another way I cope is by simply burning less fossil fuel. This eliminates internal cognitive dissonance by aligning my actions with my knowledge. It also brings some great fringe benefits, such as more exercise from biking, healthier eating through vegetarianism, more connection to the land through gardening, and more connection to my community through activism and public outreach.

Finally, I actively work to be hope-oriented. In the film Melancholia, about a mysterious planet on a collision course with Earth, the protagonist passively accepts, even embraces, apocalypse. Nothing can stop it; ecological annihilation is inevitable.

Modern climate change is completely different: It’s 100 percent human-caused, so it’s 100 percent human-solvable. If humans pulled together as if our lives depended on it, we could leave fossil fuel in a matter of years. This would require radical change across global society, and I’m not suggesting it will happen. But it could, and this possibility leaves open a middle path, something between sweeping climate action and an unavoidable planetary collision—a rapid cultural shift, one that we all can contribute to through our conversations and our daily actions. And that’s a very hopeful thing.

Excerpt from YES Magazine

—————————————————————————————————————————

Peter Kalmus es un científico del Clima en el “Jet Propulsion Laboratory  de la Nasa” con un Doctorado en física de la Universidad de Columbia. En el trabajo, estudia la física de las nubes en un clima irregular, y en su hogar explora cómo podemos reparar el cambio climático mientras vivimos más felices y conectad@s. Reside en Altadena, California, con su esposa y sus dos hijos en 1/10 de los combustibles fósiles del promedio estadounidense. Publicó en 2017 Being the Change: How to Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution

Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University. At work he studies the physics of clouds in a changing climate, and at home he explores how we can address climate change while living happier, more connected lives. He lives in Altadena, California, with his wife and two children on 1/10th the fossil fuels of the American average. He published in 2017 Being the Change: How to Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution

Posted in ahimsa, Awakin Oakland, education, fearlessness, natural philosophy, satyagraha, science, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Returning the Gift

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth, gifts we have neither earned nor paid for: air to breathe, nurturing rain, black soil, berries and honeybees, the tree that became this page, a bag of rice and the exuberance of a field of goldenrod and asters at full bloom.    

Though the Earth provides us with all that we need, we have created a consumption-driven economy that asks, “What more can we take from the Earth?” and almost never “What does the Earth ask of us in return?”

 The premise of Earth asking something of me—of me!—makes my heart swell. I celebrate that the living planet has the capacity to ask something of us and that we have the capacity to respond. We are not passive recipients of her gifts, but active participants in her well-being.

For much of human’s time on the planet, before the great delusion, we lived in cultures that understood the covenant of reciprocity, that for the Earth to stay in balance, for the gifts to continue to flow, we must give back in equal measure for what we take.

In the teachings of my Potawatomi ancestors, responsibilities and gifts are understood as two sides of the same coin. The possession of a gift is coupled with a duty to use it for the benefit of all. A thrush is given the gift of song—and so has a responsibility to greet the day with music. Salmon have the gift of travel, so they accept the duty of carrying food upriver.  So “What is our gift?”

As human people, most recently evolved here, we lack the gifts of our companion species, of nitrogen fixation, pollination, and 3000-mile migrations under magnetic guidance… But we carry gifts of our own, which the Earth urgently needs. Among the most potent of these is gratitude.

Gratitude is powerful medicine!Dr. Robin Wall KimmererGiving thanks implies recognition not only of the gift, but of the giver. When I eat an apple, my gratitude is directed to that wide-armed tree whose tart offspring are now in my mouth, whose life has become my own. Gratitude is founded on the deep knowing that our very existence relies on the gifts of beings who can in fact photosynthesize. It challenges the fallacy of human exceptionalism—the idea that we are somehow better, more deserving of the wealth and services of the Earth than other species.

The practice of gratitude can, in a very real way, lead to the practice of self-restraint, of taking only what we need. Acknowledging a feeling of enough-ness which is an antidote to the societal messages that drill into our spirits telling us we must have more. Practicing contentment is a radical act in a consumption-driven society.

Indigenous story traditions are full of cautionary tales about the failure of gratitude. When people forget to honor the gift, the consequences are always material as well as spiritual. The spring dries up, the corn doesn’t grow, the animals do not return, and the legions of offended plants and animals and rivers rise up against the ones who neglected gratitude. The Western storytelling tradition is strangely silent on this matter, and so we find ourselves in an era when we are rightly afraid of the climate we have created.

Reciprocity among parts of the living Earth produces equilibrium, in which life as we know it can flourish. When the gift is in motion, it can last forever.

How can we reciprocate the gifts of the Earth?

  1. We must recognize ourselves as only one member of the great democracy of species and understand that we, like every other successful organism, must play by the rules that govern ecosystem function. The laws of thermodynamics have not been suspended on our behalf. Unlimited growth is not possible. In a finite world, we cannot relentlessly take without replenishment. 
  2. Long before the descent of humans, a solar economy of plants created a living world from inanimate materials, constantly regenerating life through networks of reciprocity. Industrial economies are hell-bent on reversing that process, converting the gloriously animate to cold dead products with stunning efficiency. Our paths on the Earth are shaped by what we love the most. We participate in economies that appear to love profits for a few members of one species more than a good green world for all. We have a choice to invest our love otherwise. We must align our economies with ecological principles and human integrity.
  3. Ecological restoration is an act of reciprocity and the Earth asks us to turn our gifts to healing the damage we have done. The Earth-shaping prowess that we thoughtlessly use to sicken the land can be used to heal it. It is not just the land that is broken, but our relationship with land. We can be medicine for the Earth, partners in renewal.
  4. Reciprocity is rooted in the understanding that we are not alone, that the Earth is populated by non-human persons, wise and inventive beings deserving of our respect. We tolerate governance that grants legal personhood and free speech to corporations but denies that respect to voiceless salamanders and sugar maples. The Earth asks that we be their voice. Indigenous-led movements across the world are conferring legal personhood on rivers and mountains. The Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth has been presented to the United Nations. I think the Earth is asking for our vote.

Gratitude is our first, but not our only gift. We are storytellers, music makers, devisers of ingenious machines, healers, scientists, and lovers of an Earth who asks that we give our own unique gifts on behalf of life.

 Let us live in a way that Earth will be grateful for us.

Excerpt from Center for Humans & Nature  “contributor response”

Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, writer, and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.

Posted in ahimsa, Awakin Oakland, education, natural philosophy, science, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lo que ves es lo que tienes/ What You See Is What You Get

por Annie Dillard [English below]

Naranjo de Luisiana/Osage Orange Tree

Cuando tenía seis o siete años y vivía en Pittsburgh, solía tomar un precioso centavo y esconderlo para que alguien más lo encontrara. Fue una compulsión curiosa; lamentablemente, nunca me ha motivado el hacer lo mismo desde entonces. Por alguna razón, siempre “escondí” el centavo a lo largo del mismo tramo de acera hacia el norte. Lo acuñaría en las raíces de un sicómoro, por ejemplo, o en un agujero dejado por un trozo de acera astillado. Luego tomaba un trozo de tiza o gis  y, comenzando en cada extremo de la cuadra, dibujaba enormes flechas que conducían al centavo desde ambas direcciones. Después de que aprendí a escribir, etiqueté las flechas: SORPRESA ADELANTE o DINERO EN ESTE RUMBO.  Estaba muy emocionada, durante todo estos esquemas de flechas, al pensar en la primer persona afortunad@ que recibiría de esta manera, independientemente del mérito, un regalo gratuito del universo. Pero nunca aceché. Me iría directamente a casa y no pensaría en el asunto hasta que, unos meses después, el impulso de esconder otro centavo me atrapara nuevamente.

Todavía es la primera semana de enero y tengo grandes planes. He estado pensando en ver. Hay muchas cosas que ver, regalos sin envolver y sorpresas regaladas. El planeta está bastante tachonado y cubierto de centavos arrojados por una mano generosa. Pero, y este es el punto, ¿quién se emociona con un simple centavo? Si sigues una flecha, si te agachas inmóvil en una orilla para ver una vibración temblorosa en el agua y eres recompensad@ al ver a una rata remando desde su guarida, contarás ese trozito de cobre, e seguirás tu camino de manera triste? De hecho, es una pobreza extrema cuando un human@ está tan desnutrid@ y cansad@ que no se inclinará para recoger un centavo. Pero si cultivas una pobreza saludable y de simplicidad, de modo que encontrar un centavo literalmente te alegrará el día, entonces, dado que el planeta está plantado en centavos, con tu pobreza has comprado toda una vida de días. Es así de simple. Lo que ves, es lo que tienes.

… Durante una semana, en un septiembre pasado, los “mirlos de alas rojas” migratorios se alimentaban junto al arroyo en atras de la casa. Un día salí a investigar el ruido; me acerqué a un árbol, un naranjo de Luisiana, y cientos de pájaros se fueron volando. Simplemente se materializaron del árbol. Vi un árbol, luego un batido de color, luego un árbol nuevamente. Me acerqué y otros cien mirlos tomaron vuelo. Ni una rama, ni un palito vibrando: las aves aparentemente no tenían peso y eran invisibles. O, era como si las hojas del Naranjo de Luisiana hubieran sido liberadas de un hechizo en forma de mirlos de alas rojas; volaron del árbol, me llamaron la atención en el cielo y desaparecieron. […] Estas apariencias se atrapan en mi garganta; son los obsequios, los cobres brillantes en las raíces de los árboles.

Todo es cuestión de mantener los ojos abiertos.

por  Annie Dillard -Extraído de Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Mirlo de Alas Rojas/ Red-winged Blackbird

When I was six or seven years old, growing up in Pittsburgh, I used to take a precious penny of my own and hide it for someone else to find. It was a curious compulsion; sadly, I’ve never been seized by it since. For some reason I always “hid” the penny along the same stretch of sidewalk up the street. I would cradle it at the roots of a sycamore, say, or in a hole left by a chipped-off piece of sidewalk. Then I would take a piece of chalk, and, starting at either end of the block, draw huge arrows leading up to the penny from both directions. After I learned to write I labeled the arrows: SURPRISE AHEAD or MONEY THIS WAY. I was greatly excited, during all this arrow-drawing, at the thought of the first lucky passer-by who would receive in this way, regardless of merit, a free gift from the universe. But I never lurked about. I would go straight home and not give the matter another thought, until, some months later, I would be gripped again by the impulse to hide another penny.

It is still the first week in January, and I’ve got great plans. I’ve been thinking about seeing. There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But—and this is the point—who gets excited by a mere penny? If you follow one arrow, if you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple thrill on the water and are rewarded by the sight of a muskrat kid paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go your rueful way? It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won’t stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.

…For a week last September migrating red-winged blackbirds were feeding heavily down by the creek at the back of the house. One day I went out to investigate the racket; I walked up to a tree, an Osage orange, and a hundred birds flew away. They simply materialized out of the tree. I saw a tree, then a whisk of color, then a tree again. I walked closer and another hundred blackbirds took flight. Not a branch, not a twig budged: the birds were apparently weightless as well as invisible. Or, it was as if the leaves of the Osage orange had been freed from a spell in the form of red- winged blackbirds; they flew from the tree, caught my eye in the sky, and vanished. […] These appearances catch at my throat; they are the free gifts, the bright coppers at the roots of trees.

It’s all a matter of keeping my eyes open.

By Annie Dillard–Excerpt from  Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Posted in Awakin Oakland, Mindfulness, natural philosophy, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Paying Lip-Service or Act, on Gandhi Jayanti?

by Arun Gandhi – Grandson of Mathatma Gandhi

WHEN THE WORLD is torn apart by violence and government’s commit war crimes to preserve power; when inhumanity has reached its nadir and when hopelessness tears civilization asunder, we think of Gandhi and his message of peace. Another October 2 is upon us when most of the world will pay lip-service to a man who sacrificed his life to show the world that there is a better, peaceful, way of resolving conflicts.

Towards the end of his life when a journalist asked Gandhi what the future of nonviolence will look like, he said: “The people will follow me in life, worship me in death, but not make my cause their cause.” Prophetic words that could be attributed to any of the great women and men we worship today.

Does that mean that a peaceful, civilized way of existence is impossible? Of course not! We lack the compassion and commitment to live peacefully in a world that glorifies greed, selfishness and opulence as basic human rights. We have allowed ourselves to become pawns in a Culture of Violence that permits a few to rule over the destinies of a vast humanity to promote material progress.

What would Gandhi do today? Well, I think he would ask: Have we become a herd of sheep to be led meekly to the slaughter-house? Progress is not material possessions; life is not about selfishness and greed; freedom is not about living in fear; rights cannot be ensured if we refuse to shoulder the responsibility of creating harmony between fellow citizens of the world.

No country, however powerful, can ensure security and stability for itself if the rest of the world is in flames. Gandhi would say we are on the path to self destruction and spiritual annihilation. Salvation lies in the realization that We Must Become The Change We Wish To See In The World!

Excerpt from Gandhitoday.org

Arun Gandhi is an Indian-American socio-political activist and the fifth grandson of “Mahatma” Gandhi

Gandhi Jayanti is a national festival celebrated in India to mark the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born 2 October 1869. It is celebrated annually on 2 October, and it is one of the three national holidays of India

Posted in ahimsa, Awakin Oakland, fearlessness, Peace Army, satyagraha, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Carpe Diem / Aprovecha el día / Seize the Day

by Walt Whitman [English version below]

No dejes que termine el día sin haber crecido un poco,
sin haber sido feliz, sin haber alimentado tus sueños.

No te dejes vencer por el desaliento.

No permitas que nadie te quite el derecho a expresarte,
que es casi un deber.

No abandones las ansias de hacer de tu vida algo
extraordinario.
No dejes de creer que las palabras
y las poesías, sí pueden cambiar el mundo.

Pase lo que pase nuestra esencia está intacta.
Somos seres llen@s de pasión.
La vida es desierto y es oasis.
Nos derriba, nos lastima, nos enseña,
nos convierte en protagonistas de nuestra propia historia.
Aunque el viento sople en contra,
la poderosa obra continúa:
Tú puedes aportar una estrofa.

No dejes nunca de soñar,
porque sólo en sueños puede ser libre l@s Human@s.
No caigas en el peor de los errores:
el silencio.
La mayoría vive en un silencio espantoso.
No te resignes, huye…

“Emito mis alaridos por los tejados
de este mundo”,dice la/el poeta.
Valora la belleza de las cosas simples.
Se puede hacer bella poesía sobre pequeñas cosas,

No traiciones tus creencias.
Porque no podemos remar en contra de nosotr@s mismos:
Eso transforma la vida en un infierno.

Disfruta del pánico que te provoca
tener la vida por delante.
Vívela intensamente, sin mediocridad.
Piensa que en ti está el futuro
y encara la tarea con orgullo y sin miedo.

Aprende de quienes puedan enseñarte.
Las experiencias de quienes nos precedieron,
de nuestros “Poetas Muert@s”,
te ayudan a caminar por la vida.
La sociedad de hoy somos nosotr@s:
L@s “Poetas Vivos”.

No permitas que la vida te pase a ti
sin que la vivas …

Carpe Diem
Don’t allow the day to end without having grown a bit,
without being happy, without feeding your dreams.

Don’t be defeated by discouragement.

Don’t allow anyone to take away your right to express yourself,
which is almost a duty.

Don’t abandon the desire to make something extraordinary of your life.
Don’t stop believing that words and poetry can change the world.
No matter what happens, our essence is intact.

We are beings filled with passion.
Life is both desert and Oasis.
It knocks us down, it hurts us, it teaches us,
it turns us into the protagonists of our own stories.
Even if the winds blow against us,
the powerful masterpiece continues:
You can add a stanza.

Never stop dreaming,
because in Dreams Humans can be free.

Don’t fall into the most fatal of errors: Silence.
The majority live in a frightful silence.
Don’t resign yourself to this, flee…..
“I emit my screams from the roofs of this world”, says the poet.
Value the beauty of the simple things.
One can make beautiful poetry about little things.

Don’t betray your beliefs,
because we can’t row against our own selves:
That turns life into hell.

Enjoy the panic provoked by having your life in front of you.
Live it intensely, without mediocrity.
Remember that the future is within you,
so face your duties with pride and without fear.

Learn from those who can teach you.
From the experiences of those that preceded us,
our “Dead Poets”,
They will help you walk through life.
The society of today is us:
The “Living Poets”

Don’t allow life to get by you
without living it…..

Walt Whitman : Poeta estadounidense, ensayista y periodista. Was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. El padre del “Canon Estaudonidense. Father of the American Canon. Su propia vida fué atacada por su presunta homosexualidad. His own life came under scrutiny for his presumed homosexuality.

Posted in Awakin Oakland, fearlessness, Mindfulness, natural philosophy, nonviolence, poetry, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Agapanthus

By Pavithra K. Mehta

I never notice agapanthus before she blooms. This lack of awareness allows for yearly ambush. A blue bombardment, like so many miniature firecracker displays in freeze frame, they seize the sidewalks, fully formed– their delicate globes fashioned from white or  lavender bluebell blossoms, balancing perfectly on very tall stems. Agapanthus rises above it all, as sublime beings do, transcending a close-to-the-ground commotion, a happy hubbub of green leaves. The perfect spheres of their heads seem poised to take leave of their lithe bodies, as if at any moment they might elegantly decapitate themselves, lift off lightly, a synchronized indigo flock of crystal balls. 

Ethereal guardians of summer gardens, parks and parking lots. Undiscriminating. I’ve even known them to stand gorgeously outside the dry cleaners, lending an air of nobility and charm to an otherwise nondescript neighborhood. Agapanthus from agape. The flower of love. 

The ancient Greeks knew there are at least as many kinds of love as there are directions on the Earth. There is eros for instance, love that flies on a trickster deity’s arrow tip, generating all manner of mischief and delight. And there isphilia, love like a hearthfire that draws minds close around the warming glow of friendship. But agape is love that drops your jaw, makes you stand agaping. 

Agape is love without reservation. Monsoon love, juggernaut love, love that cannot be staunched like a wound or undone like a hairdo. Love that cannot be pulled like a plug, diverted like traffic, dammed like a river because its beginningless quality is suffused without end in everything. Agape is the Infinite’s love for the finite — and vice versa. 

Does the symmetry of that astound you? Then we are a pair. Our unsuspected birthright– to stand on this small ledge of life and love on equal footing with Eternity. Why were we not properly informed? And who will answer for the sins of omission?

But wait– Look! Summer’s chariot hurtles across the sky. Purple bobble headed flowers recite old poems with perfect enunciation in scriptless tongues. The seasons are a floral tradition, an oral tradition, perennial and precise. They whisper in our ears a thousand times a thousand times a day withholding nothing.

But am I paying attention? —

Are you?

From “The Poetry of blog”

Botanical painting by Mally Francis

Posted in Awakin Oakland, Mindfulness, natural philosophy, poetry, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged , , | 2 Comments