It’s not certain if we’re at 2.0 or 3.0. What’s certain is that we need an update and upgrade. Our brain and neurology needs an upgrade, our mind too and our heart. In Buddhism there’s the concept of heart-mind. Ayya Khema tells us, “In Pali, heart and mind are one word (citta), but in English we have to differentiate between the two to make the meaning clear.” Pali is the language of many of the earliest Buddhist scriptures.
This teaching is a central one in Buddhism known as Bodhicitta, an awake heart-mind, or the heart-mind of enlightenment. In Tibetan psychology, the heart is synonymous with the mind. Tibetan worldviews are highly influenced by Buddhism, and consciousness, mental clarity, and the sense of self is known to rest in the heart. To put it simply, heart-mind points to a balance of wisdom and compassion, engaging both and giving both fair say in how we choose to live.
Today there are hopeful signs and utter chaos all at the same time. In the previous post I wrote: “At this very juncture, Earth’s and humanity’s narrative within it is being radically rewritten.” And: “We must participate in the emergent story of the Earth and humanity without the mistakes and limitations of the old one.” This observation is being made widely, and any thinking-feeling person can see the themes without trying too hard.
Robert Atkinson, Professor of Human Development and Religious Studies at the University of Southern Maine, writes:
Our collective story is lagging behind, resisting the flow of evolutionary change. The pre-twentieth-century story we have carried with us into the twenty-first century – built on the assumptions of duality, separation, and boundaries – has lost much of its meaning, power, and, most alarmingly, hope for the future. It faces crisis after crisis without offering any lasting resolution. The once well-understood principle of continual progress toward a collectively desired and beneficial goal is missing.
Soon after last month’s earthquake in Japan, Thich Nhat Hanh sent this message:
Dear friends in Japan,
As we contemplate the great number of people who have died in this tragedy, we may feel very strongly that we ourselves, in some part or manner, also have died.
The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.
An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: we can live in such a way that they continue, beautifully, in us…
This is a perfect example of balanced wisdom and compassion. The Japanese people give all of us hope. They have shown model behavior in the face of an ongoing triple disaster; earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear fallout. They are resilient, sharing resources and services, not being tempted to commit crime, and exercising neighborliness, altruism and hospitality. Make sure you watch this beautiful video (4/12/2011) to participate in healing for Japan.
The last sentence of Thich Nhat Hanh’s statement is deeply inspirational. Referring to those who’ve perished he says, “we can live in such a way that they continue, beautifully, in us…” For there to be any kind of continuation, we and the Earth first has to survive. “Beautifully” stands for so many things, but today let’s focus on the preservation of Nature and the Earth. Dr. Atkinson, again:
We need a new chapter in our evolving story that will restore hope, infuse new meaning into the wondrous process of creation, and unify our consciousness with a vision we intuitively trust. We need a story that keeps renewing itself.
2011 has so far shown that new narratives source in the most unlikely places. Adding to the surprise is the South American nation of Bolivia. According to The Guardian online, “Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as ‘blessings…'”
Let’s not be naïve enough to believe industry and politics is going to change overnight to bring about the New Earth. This is still a huge step in the right direction, one that leader nations are strongly resisting. Here’s the depth and breath of Bolivia’s The Law of Mother Earth.
In the Andean worldview there’s a central Earth deity known as Pachamama. The environment and Pachamama are considered central to all life, with humans being equal to all beings, not higher, but equal. The Guardian writes:
In the indigenous philosophy, the Pachamama is a living being.
The draft of the new law states: “She is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organisation.”
This law reads like poetry! Bolivia’s Foreign Minister has also said:
Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family. We indigenous people can contribute to solving the energy, climate, food and financial crises with our values.
You can catch the full story here, including video about the impacts of climate change on Bolivia.
Bolivia gives us hope.
Joseph Campbell who was a master of myth and story isn’t alive today. He would have been a fascinating source for the meaningful interpretation of our times. Yet, with some prescience, the following is his contribution to us today:
We’re in a free fall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast. And always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. But all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective… Joyfully participate in the sorrows of the world and everything changes.
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Reiki Master-Teacher of Authentic Japanese Usui Reiki in Fort Lauderdale at my South Florida Oasis Reiki Dojo. Meditation, Healing, and Spirituality training and services, and educator.