It is probable that most folks giving time to these Mindfulness Trainings, and to the website www.theburninghand.com have a significant understanding of the science validating deep concerns about global climate change. Hence, it doesn't seem to us to be the best use of space for a few paragraphs to attempt to present an argument for climate change policies: one needs to only occasionally scan the news (other than FOX, of course) to realize the precariousness of life on this precious blue Planet... So, we are going to veer off in another direction...
"Let the beauty we love be what we do." Ah! Rumi tells the story of a man who climbed a walnut tree growing beside a small stream. This man picks nuts from around his perch in the tree and drops them into the water below. Someone passing by observes the situation and calls out, "Sir! Why are you dropping the nuts you pick into the stream? Can't you see they are floating away?" The man in the tree replies, "I'm not harvesting the nuts to eat... I'm listening to the music they make when they splash into the water." Now granted, perhaps this was a waste of food and someone nearby might have been hungry... but the story is not about hunger issues: the story is about a deep awareness of Beauty, of Music, of Art: of the Symphonic Harmony underlying all of Creation... and the possibility of entering ever more deeply into that awareness...
Yes: we do NEED rapid leadership and international legislation and action to reverse climate change to whatever degree it can be reversed: as we need to eliminate every weapon of mass destruction, and reconstruct international economics towards justice and sustainability... but we want to "toss a few nuts" into the stream of thought about our times. We believe that beyond emergency measures, sustainable and rEvolutionary transformation will only come through a mass conversion to a new vision of Earth and of Humanity. Tinkering around the edges of the Dominator Paradigm will not get us to where we need to go. We need to plunge into truly radical possibilities! We need to take a leap with our "nuts" and hear the sound that dynamic splash will make!
The core transformative vision and value that we are proposing is that of "Welcome Home". The Dominator Paradigm (read once again The Chalice & The Blade by Riane Eisler) has "infected" every area of our individual and collective lives and consciousness. The Dominator Paradigm is imbedded in theologies of "separation" and of "sin" -- with the feminine on the margins because of Her Earth centered spirituality which fosters inter-being, harmony, abundant simplicity, and sustainability. While on the other hand, the Dominator Paradigm is sustained by power associations: violence justifications, weaponry adoration, and wealth adulation, Fear is actively cultivated as a means of both political and religious control (follow "us" or you will go to hell; follow "us" or "they" will take everything you have, including your religious freedom, etc.). The proposition of "original sin" is the root of this Dominator Paradigm -- that's how deep we need to go to re-discover our intrinsic beauty and goodness. Only by uprooting this destructive proposition will we be able to effectively deal with the overwhelming specific issues which must be dealt with, and only by this uprooting will we be able to "change our minds", recover our original blessing, and once again liberate the Divine Feminine for a return to the Sacred Center of life on this precious blue Planet.
This is what we mean by "Welcome Home"! We need to "come home" to an awareness of our immanent and transcendent nature as human beings and our essential Oneness with Divine Consciousness. We need to actually, and truly, fall in love with Love: we need to be able to look into a mirror and know that the Face looking back is Right Now Worth Everything / Worth Love... and then we need to look out and survey All of Life and Creation and confirm by Sacred Action the very same essential truth for All (leaving no one out or behind). It will be at that point that we will have recovered our "right mind" and our true identity.
"When you make the two one, and when you make the inner as the outer and the above as below, and when you make the male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female not be female... then you shall enter the kingdom." (Gospel of Thomas, Logion 22)
So, here we are, with a few questions lingering, beginning with "How?" Even supposing everything in this Eleventh Mindfulness Training reflection "true", how can such a total personal and collective transformation come about? How in the world am "I", are "We", supposed to do "That"? There is only one way to break open a human heart, or the collective heart of humanity: we must love with the radical self-emptying love of one such as Yeshua the Poet, of Siddhartha the Buddha, of Rumi the Ecstatic, of Hildegard the Singer, of Francis the Ragged-Man, and of Dorothy Day, Saint of the Gutter Beautiful... We have a treasure of examples to follow: Susan B. Anthony, Mother Jones, Sojourner Truth, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Wangari Mathaii, Nelson Mandela: and those living still, like Arundhati Roy, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, Matthew Fox, Adam Bucko, Evo Morales, Dolores Huerta, Julia Butterfly Hill, and Andrew Harvey (to name but a few). It is by loving that we will discover our liberation and the Other. It is by loving that we will work up the courage to love even more and finally to leave all fear behind. And it is only by loving that we will come home to the Holy Secret: There is Only One -- and We are It. (Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian puts it like this: It is. We are it. We forget. We remember.)
"Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity... we shall harness the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
The Eleventh Mindfulness Training is a call to each one of us to accept personal responsibility for our total transformation as the first step in a Planetary transformation. When we surrender to, and then implement, the Way of Love, we will begin to fulfill our destiny for greatness. When we gather in Sacred Circles and organize for transformation -- when we truly commit to becoming mystic-activists -- we will become agents of the Fire that Teilhard wrote of. When we summon the courage to live lives of radical reverence and thrilling adoration for Good, Being, and Beauty, we will become the very Fire of Transformation!
A new culture, one of a radical (to the roots) commitment to the liberation and full development of every person is coming into existence (of course, not without the pangs of birth). A new awareness of One living "inter-being" of relationship between this precious blue Planet and the lives it sustains is likewise growing. Within every human being there lives a dream of the Paradise that is truly possible to build -- only Love will free us from our fears so we can together take a leap on the evolutionary ladder... We have to believe with incredible passion this is true!
The Eleventh Mindfulness Training
Aware of the opportunity before me to become an agent for transformation, I will to live as a possibilitarian for Justice and Beauty -- for our precious blue Planet and for the well-being of all life. I will become a living flame of love energized for greatness!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.