"The Gaia Hypothesis is for those folks who like to walk or simply stand and stare, to wonder about the earth and the life it bears, and to speculate about the consequences of our own presence here. It is an alternative to that pessimistic view which sees nature as a primitive force to be subdued and conquered. It is also an alternative to that equally depressing picture of our planet as a demented spaceship, forever travelling, driverless and purposeless, around an inner circle of the sun." James Lovelock, 1979 originator of what has now become the Gaia Theory.
Dear friends, I have shared with you some of the practices of the art of mindful living. Sitting, walking, and eating meditations are wonderful ways to get in touch with the wonders of life. I would like to share one of my favorite definitions of meditation by J. Krishnamurti; "meditation is the ending of all deception" Meditation is not something we do for twenty minutes in the morning while sitting or for seventy five minutes on the yoga mat but a state of relaxed continuity if you will. The practices help us to generate the energy of mindfulness. When we practice in the ways I have described we experience the energy of mindfulness in our lives. We have the direct experience of dwelling in the here and now. Each time we recognize that our mind has wandered off in thought we smile to our wandering mind and, returning to our breath, we bring our mind back to our body. As we develop the energy of concentration we are able to abide in mindfulness for longer periods of time becoming keenly aware of the arising of the wandering tendency before we are carried away. With this concentration we are able to generate the energy of insight. We can look deeply into our own inner world and the world around us and not be fooled anymore. Eventually we discover our true nature; the nature of no birth and no death, of no coming and no going.
I have also shared a little bit about the importance of preserving biodiversity and how the destruction of the environment through the exploitation of natural resources is resulting in the extinction of 150 to 200 plant, insect, bird and mammal species every 24 hours. Gaia's rich biological heritage of species, communities and ecosystems, which have evolved across millions of years, is rapidly deteriorating and in many instances irreversibly disappearing. When we wake from our forgetfulness we see that there are things we can do. We are faced with an ethical imperative to pass on an undiminished future to our children.
Many people are talking about a great transition and I too believe we are at a critical choice point. There is no guarantee of our continued existence here on Gaia. Though no one can know the future, by applying scenario analysis we can look at our options and think about our future in an organized manner. Scenarios for the future can be discussed in three broad channels radiating out into the future. 1) Conventional Worlds: An evolutionary sequence of events despite hiccups like the current financial meltdown, that the basic paradigm and values persist into the future (this is the current world view of most of western society). 2) Barbarization: Markets and policies are unable to cope with the crisis, chaos, social disruptions and environmental deterioration induced by conventional worlds and we have a future of catastrophic destruction (this is the world view of an exponentially increasing number of global citizens). 3) Great Transitions: Where humanity rises to the possibilities, to the promise of this planetary phase with new values and new institutions and steers development towards a more fortunate form of civilization (this is the world view of the pathfinders). The way I see it there are two necessary conditions needed to bring this great transition into being. One is a global citizens movement, a wave of engagement and action. This condition is the necessary change agent for turning away from catastrophe. The upsurge of global society that we are seeing now is a glimpse of this. The current movement is limited however by fragmentation and lack of a shared vision of this possible future. This global citizens movement is latent, ready to be born. The second is a shift in values, moving away from consumerism, individualism and the domination of the natural world and more towards the quality of life (investing in human relationships and regenerative ecological practices). I have spoken before about the importance of building our communities around the world. We believe that if there are communities of people demonstrating that it is possible to live simply and happily, having the time to love and help each other around the world, we will demonstrate to the people and bring about an awakening so that people will abandon their course of comforts. If we can produce a collective awakening we can solve the challenge of global destruction which of course is our own destruction.
We will have to follow up with the practical steps we can take to move in the direction described above (see previous post on the miracle of walking on Gaia) and exploring together Gaia science in a future post due to space limitations. I would just like to leave you to play with the idea that Gaia is a living system whose physical and biological processes are inextricably bound and self-regulating. It is my hypothesis that humans, as a Gaian system, have a purpose and perform a particular function (see previous post on remembering original instructions) and that raising the collective awakened mind onto the ground of being is an important part of Gaia's evolutionary process.
May we all live stable and free. See you in the studio.
"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children."
~ Sitting Bull, Lakota Sioux, 1877