“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!).
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)
As my dear Radiohead puts it:
“Immerse your soul in love IMMERSE YOUR SOUL IN LOVE”
~ “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”(Radiohead)