The Bells of Mindfulness

The path
Galiano forest path…hiking

Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at a reality with mindfulness and concentration. Meditation is essential for our survival, our peace, our protection. In fact, it is our misperceptions and wrong views that are at the base of our suffering. Throwing away wrong views is the most important, most urgent thing for us to do. “ ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

These are the days that must happen to you.” ~ Walt Whitman

 

I am halfway Naomi Klein’s book and almost finished George Marshall’s one…as I was sharing with Carol, my “dark side” is trying to get through and I was fighting back till I start reading “A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency” and found Thay’s encouraging words. (Thay is the name many of us give to Thich Nhat Hanh, the founder of “Engaged Buddhism” and wisdom carrier on these confusing times).

As I will point out in some of my future posts, I’ve also discovered that many of the issues we have haven’t been “solved” because we are insisting in “solutions” instead of looking at the “problems” in a different way and seeing as what they are: complex and non-linear predicaments, all inter-linked.

But today, I would like to quote what I found from Thay as it truly made my day (Thank you Thay!).

Getting ready
Getting ready for the ride…

 

I decided to transcribe most of the text here because they reflect both the emergency and the active hope: they carry darkness and urgency but also a deep commitment to life and connectedness and our responsibility to not only become fully aware but also act upon this awareness:

“The bells of mindfulness are sounding. All over the Earth, we are experiencing floods, droughts, and massive wildfires. Sea ice is melting in the Arctic and hurricanes and heat waves are killing thousands. The forests are fast disappearing, the deserts are growing, species are becoming extinct every day, and yet we continue to consume, ignoring the ringing bells.

…The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps. We have to hear the bells of mindfulness that are sounding all across our planet. We have to start learning how to live in a way that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren.

…We need a kind of collective awakening. There are among us men and women who are awakened, but it’s not enough; most people are still sleeping. We have constructed a system we can’t control. It imposes itself on us, and we become its slaves and victims. For most of us who want to have a house, a car, a refrigerator, a television, and so on, we must sacrifice our time and our lives in exchange.

…We have created a society in which the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, and in which we are so caught up in our own immediate problems that we cannot afford to be aware of what is going on with the rest of the human family or our planet Earth. People in China, India, Vietnam, and other developing countries are still dreaming the “American dream,” as if that dream were the ultimate goal of mankind. In 25 years the population of China will be 1.5 billion people, and if each of them wants to drive their own car, China will need 99 million barrels of oil every day. But world production today is only 84 million barrels per day. So the American dream is not possible for everyone.

…We have to have another dream: the dream of brotherhood and sisterhood, of loving kindness and compassion. That dream is possible right here and now. We have the Dharma, we have the means, and we have enough wisdom to be able to live this dream. Mindfulness is at the heart of awakening, of enlightenment

…We don’t have to sink into despair about global warming; we can act. If we just sign a petition and forget about it, it won’t help much. Urgent action must be taken at the individual and the collective levels. We all have a great desire to be able to live in peace and to have environmental sustainability, but we haven’t organized ourselves. We can’t only blame our governments and corporations. It’s time for us to wake up and take action in our own lives.

…Buddhism is the strongest form of humanism we have. It can help us learn to live with responsibility, compassion, and loving kindness. We have the power to decide the destiny of our planet. If we awaken to our true situation, there will be a change in our collective consciousness. We have to help the Buddha to wake up the people who are living in a dream.”

From: “A Buddhist Response to the climate emergency” by Thich Nhat Hanh (chapter “solutions”: “The Bells of Mindfulness” p. 265-268)

we climbing the Blackcomb
We made it! (My sons and I climbing the Blackcomb)

 

As my dear Radiohead puts it:

“Immerse your soul in love IMMERSE YOUR SOUL IN LOVE”

~ “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”(Radiohead)

Galiano coast
Beautiful Gulf Islands…Galiano Beaches at sunset

 

11 thoughts on “The Bells of Mindfulness

  1. This is a very inspiring post. I too think a different way of viewing/seeing is so important, a waking up, perhaps, to the beauty, life and world around us.

    We’ve been so caught up in all that is not alive…and the concept of identity has, in some ways, become defined by the types of jeans we wear, rather than the right to be as living beings on earth.

    I remember standing at the water side earlier this year and watching little creatures burrowing into the sand, and realizing how beautiful they were. As I started to see the beauty, other things started to worry me less.

    I’d always had anxiety because I couldn’t really fit into the commercial world. Like you, I don’t really like driving (I like to walk because of the pace). I haven’t had much interest in very much, and if we move house, I miss the garden. I used to think something was wrong, or that I lacked ambition or something crucial to being human. And now I see that it’s okay, and this way of looking at life is important to me (this was after a period of grief and crisis).

    I think the question comes down to “What does it mean to be a person in this world? What have we been taught? How do we live, and how would we like to live?” but I’ve found the questions and the (my) answers to be such an incredible relief.

    I really appreciate your blog, and all the questions you ask, and the sharing. It helps me to think and re-view, and that has been lovely.

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    1. Dear Nicci,
      Such beautiful words from you…I feel blessed just by the mention that I can make any dent on the suffering of the world. I recognize myself in what you share (and thank you so much for sharing something so personal)…always lacking something, always feeling there is something wrong. My connections with Nature have never failed me, those are my anchors and my relief…it is a warm feeling to know there are others out there who feel the same.

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  2. A powerful and timely reminder that each one of us is responsible for choosing to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Thank you for turning despair into practical solutions and hope once again, Sylvia 🙂

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    1. Hi Carol,
      As you’ll see in my next posts (juggled during work breaks and in between study sessions for my upcoming plant biology final exam!) one of our mistakes as species is to think we can have solutions…but solutions are for problems: you deal with them, solve them and they are done, you can then move on…not in this case. What we have is predicaments: situations that by nature are “unsolved” because they are complex and non-linear. Predicaments don’t have solutions…we need to develop ways to deal with them, like we deal with death, chronic illness and the fact that Nature is not necessarily “friendly” or “fair’…she is what she is…from the point of view of a deer, nature is very unfair…and it may be the same from the point of view of the cougar who eats it, if it doesn’t find any deer…but both (the deer and the cougar) deal with this eternal predicament because they accept reality and enjoy life as much as it is possible for them…they don’t kill each other for fun or competition, but because they are hungry and that’s the way it is…we humans have tried to deny death and “unfairness” and on our way we have complicated things so much that now we have created much more complex predicaments…

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    1. Hi there, the “Follow Me” and “Subscribe” buttons are at the top right of the website, feel free to use them Henry 🙂

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