Mindfulness…

“Mindfulness is often spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation.  It’s not about Buddhism, but about paying attention.  That’s what all meditation is, no matter what tradition or particular technique is used.

In Asian languages, the word for mind and the word for heart are the same. So if you’re not hearing mindfulness in some deep way as heartfulness, you’re not really understanding it. Compassion and kindness are intrinsically woven into it. You could think of mindfulness as wise and affectionate attention.

Mindfulness is not about getting anywhere else — it’s about being where you are and knowing it. We are talking about awareness itself:  a whole repertoire of ways of knowing that virtually all come through the senses.

My definition of healing is coming to terms with things as they are, so that you can do whatever you can to optimize your potential, whether you are living with chronic pain or having a baby. You can’t control the universe, so mindfulness involves learning to cultivate wisdom and equanimity— not passive resignation—in the face of what Zorba the Greek called the full catastrophe of the human condition.”

— Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn Talks About Bringing Mindfulness Meditation to Medicine

Non-human nature…

“I wish to supplement the warranted assertion that our experience of non-human nature is largely constructed by human culture, with an acknowledgement that human culture is itself structured and informed, in diverse ways, by the wider-than-human matrix of powers in which it is embedded. While our notions of the world may be structured by our particular culture, cultures are themselves structured by the interplay of gravity, winds, waters, and sunlight, by the migratory movements of various animals and the nutritional and medicinal powers of particular plants. Human culture, that is, is itself influenced, organized and mediated by many agencies that are not human or of human artifice.”

— David Abram

Return to our senses…

“It seems to me that those of us who work to preserve wild nature must work as well for a return to our senses, and for a renewed respect for sensorial modes of knowing. For the senses are our most immediate access to the more-than-human natural world. The eyes, the ears, the nostrils catching faint whiffs of sea-salt on the breeze, the fingertips grazing the smooth bark of a madrone, this porous skin  rippling with chills at the felt presence of another animal — our bodily senses bring us into relation with the breathing earth at every moment. If humankind seems to have forgotten its thorough dependence upon the earthly community of beings, it can only be because we’ve forgotten (or dismissed as irrelevant) the sensory dimension of our lives.”

— David Abram

“Waking Our Animal Senses,” David Abram

Climate crisis…

“Here’s the sobering news, the climate crisis is worse than you think. Though it is often presented as a problem with a known solution, in reality, civilization is facing a dire situation with no realistic scenario that will avoid profound consequences. Consequences for civilization, and the fabric of life itself.

On top of this, the situation is from another time, literally. We have already changed the atmosphere to a composition that last existed before there were humans on the planet. The ice we are melting is millions of years old, and holds the memory of a time before humanity. The coal and oil represents half a billion years of plants storing up the sun’s energy. We have unleashed a story way older than humankind. Way, way older than civilization.

In short, we have a civilizational koan.”

— Carter Brooks

http://carterbrooks.org

Perspective on climate change…

“Our concept of nature as a symbol of 
virtue results in an incredible overemphasis on what individuals can 
personally, virtuously, do to ‘save’ it. This, unfortunately, comes at the 
expense of focusing on systematic changes. We can see it play out in 
the public conversation, the vitriol of the political spat, right down 
to neighborly tensions over SUVs versus Priuses.

Conceptual
 metaphors in language unrelated to nature also shape our actions. Think
 about the dominant conceptual metaphor: ‘Change is motion.’ We speak of
 climate change as ‘speeding up,’ having ‘momentum,’ and are even so 
bold as to suggest the goal is to ‘stop’ climate change. For substantial 
natural changes a big rolling boulder comes to mind. Our general 
call for mass behaviour change is, in a way, an organizational principle 
that is a natural entailment of this metaphor. We can conceive of 
’stopping’ climate change because we can imagine the boulder coming to 
rest.

The
 truth, I daresay, is more complex — a bit more sobering, too. A 
better metaphor might be a big wave.”

— Carter Brooks

http://carterbrooks.org