Posts Tagged ‘Spaceship Earth’

Ecuador’s Rain Forest and Us

May 4, 2013

I have been following the news about what is happening in Ecuador as their government plans to destroy rain forest and the way of life for the Waorani tribes people as well as a vast diversity of plant, insect and animal life in order to drill for more oil. The U.S. is their largest importer of that oil, so we in this country are deeply connected to this problem, a travesty and tragedy in the opinion of many, and certainly in mine. The whole world is deeply connected to this, we are one organism on this planet. We lose that forest and those people and we lose a significant and sacred part of ourselves. Tragic denial is at play here. Concern for this is trumping nearly every other concern in my life right now. My heart wants to know what to do with it.

Since moving into town during this past year my psyche has been adjusting. It has not been an easy adjustment. I love, appreciate and enjoy immensely the value of what town and city offer, and know the absolute necessity of congregating in towns to feed and support each other at every level. But experientially it has become clearer and clearer to me how much the landscape of where we live affects and creates who we are and how we think. I had been living in wild, raw, undomesticated terrain, for better and for worse unfettered my much of what human progress is about. The values of what it is to be a part of that, and what benefits THAT, are what I was living at a cellular level for more than 8 years. It took over my being in a way I invited and hungered for.

My dissertation for doctoral work in depth psychology was titled Reawakening Indigenous Sensibilities in the Western Psyche. It was to me not only a matter of historical and anthropological interest to understand how indigenous peoples perceive and interact with the earth and each other, but a matter of survival. My inner experience was telling me that if we do not rediscover and reclaim our human birthright demonstrated in the modes of perception and capacities indigenous people maintain to be in clear conversation, mutual respect and intelligent interaction with the natural world we will destroy ourselves with certainty. These ways of theirs are the baby that was thrown out with the bathwater in modernization and civilization. I cannot easily describe how this concern took over the deepest level of my heart and being.

When I recently moved back into town and listened to all that is around me I was having an almost violent reaction inside, which I learned to monitor and be quiet about for the most part. I am learning to train and domesticate my internal psyche, attempting to trust the process while maintaining connection to all that I had reclaimed of my original nature, as I see it, while living away from all of this. The focus, the concerns, the values, the conversations reflected to me in an urban environment scream, at times, of a disconnection from what I had been awakening. I have felt like a lone tribal person with persons around me unaware even of the existence of the landscapes of psyche which I had come to know as home. Part of me cried “These are not my people.”  As I have looked at the faces of the Waoroni tribe people on the news these  last days I have instinctively felt, “Those are my people,” even as biologically and culturally I am worlds apart from them. Their internal values, their inner GPS, seems more familiar and significant to me than that of the world I now inhabit and was raised in.

This is not just theory, it is very personal for me. I believe if we are to remember who we are as a species, something about this needs to become more personal for all of us humans. We are developing a collective pathology that urgently needs a cure before we destroy ourselves and our nest. To pour poison in rivers and into the air is the same as injecting arsenic into our own blood stream. The shortsightedness of our modern way of life has made us addicts who need to come out of denial and into recovery. It is nobody’s fault, yet each of our responsibility – personally, individually, one-by-one – to wake up. This is my belief, and an urgently, deeply held conviction.

Obviously I have to learn how to stand with a foot in each world psychologically and spiritually, to integrate the seemingly opposite value systems into an inspired and careful relationship in my life, internally and externally. That is the private part of the work for me. But the public part is to make this cry, to find voice for my crying.

One of Carl Jung’s favorite stories was of a Chinese village that was suffering a devastating drought. They heard of a famous rainmaker and brought him to come help them. He asked only for a hut where he could sit alone for 5 days. He stayed in there, and on the 4th day the rains came. The rainmaker explained to the village that they had become terribly out of Tao, and this was producing the imbalances that were creating the harsh circumstances for their village. Jung loved the part of the story that all it took was one person to come and to sit in Tao to bring the whole village, and nature, back into harmony and allow them to flourish once again.

How can we measure the out of Tao-ness that we are experiencing all over our tiny Spaceship Earth, with war and hunger, social and psychological ills? What might Ecuador’s diverse rain forest and these Waoroni people be doing to help us powerfully to survive as they hold a certain relationship to Tao? What can each of us do to assist in this situation?

I have written a massive dissertation on this, I want to make it a book, I need to do more, I want to do more to address this passion in my heart and my gut. Meanwhile I am trying to find Tao within and to say these few words, hoping they are good for today.

Time, Space and Love

September 26, 2010

Dicksee - Romeo and Juliet

Just watched the movie Letters to Juliet. When I was a teenager I had posters on my wall of Romeo and Juliet, memorized scenes from the play which I can still recite, and lived a similar story of forbidden love except that I survived, my Romeo did not. Survivors guilt is a serious conflict.

Another story that mesmerized me completely in my youth was the story of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot, portrayed exquisitely in the musical movie Camelot, starring Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave. I saw it over and over again. Now this movie, Letters to Juliet, made these many decades later, starred Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero, who played Guinevere and Lancelot in  Camelot. This new movie has their characters, in a completely separate story from the Camelot’s story, find each other after 50 years of separation. A story of passionate young love,  tragic separation, which generations later turns to joy. Their love endures, the story suggests it was not a fantasy or hormonal problem, was true. (I wouldn’t tell you the movie’s outcome, except that you’ll see it in the trailers and read it on the Netflix blurb anyway. I’m not stealing the punchlines, this is what the movie is about, up front.)

The love in this story endured time, distance and separation. Currently I am haunted by the love story of a dear friend who just lost her beloved to what seems to be a very untimely death. They were crazy about each other and looking forward to growing old together, with excitement. Caring about my friend, and trying to figure out how to be a helping spirit, strongly triggers recollections of my own marriage love lost to a death of a different kind, a confusion of events that obfuscated the love and let it sink into an underworld. A sunken ship.

Letters to Juliet‘s opening had an exquisite slide show of paintings and photographs showing couples in the midst of passionate love stories. I couldn’t help  but think that the artists who painted these scenes, and the love that inspired them to paint it, are all long gone, part of our collective history.

So why trust love, why engage with it, why believe in it if its death is already in its birth? Because. Because of Hannah, who I wrote about yesterday, my 3-year-old mentor. Because life and death are one thing. Because there is no death without life, nor life without death. Because they work together to explode the heart into recognizing what is eternal. Time is an illusion, space is an illusion. Love is not. Every mystic from every tradition and every era will say the same.

Does it help us with the loss of love in this time/space continuum? Barely. Only slightly. But the facts remain.

Obama on Spaceship Earth

January 28, 2010

R. Buckminster Fuller was a good friend of my father’s, so I had the distinct privilege of growing up spending family vacation times with him and has family on Bear Island, off the coast of Maine, of having him often as a house guest, and of being with him as he spoke on many occasions. I have said many times that I believe that he, more than anyone else, has influenced me in my thinking, in who I have become and how I have lived my life as an adult.

I remember once someone asking him, “What would be the first thing you would do, Mr. Fuller, if you were elected President of the United States?” Bucky’s answer: “Resign.” He went on to explain that Washington is a gridlock of politics and special interests and – he said it so eloquently I cannot possibly quote him justly –  that it is no place to get anything of real meaning or importance accomplished. A visionary like Bucky would not even waste time trying.

Now we have a visionary for President. I remember hearing President Obama’s recent tone of voice while in a gymnasium in Ohio saying, with a big breath, “It’s so NICE to be out of Washington.” He could breathe again. Last night in his first State of the Union address before he even emerged to speak the newscasters were saying that he will be campaigning against Washington as much, or more, than any other agenda. Can we overcome the “numbing weight of our politics?” he pleaded. Throughout all of his speaking I felt I was hearing, (many call me naïve and that’s ok), a person with a vision like Lincoln’s, Martin Luther King Jr.’s, or Nelson Mandela who is actually trying to work out how in the world to get something done in Washington. And, as we are seeing, there is absolutely no guarantee of success. He may not be able to accomplish anything that is in his heart to do to his or our satisfaction.  But, as indigenous people know, in a true right of passage there is never a guarantee of success, or of survival. The rite would not have the power to transform if such a guarantee were there. I believe that those of us who put Obama in this position, and that he, and our nation are entering into the tremendous possibility of going through a true rite of passage. We are a young, adolescent nation seeking to pass from a stage of narcissistic, self-involved, short-sighted hubris into a stage of adulthood and maturity; to become a responsible, wise people and country. We may not make it. There is certainly no guarantee.

Once I was with Buckminster Fuller and several others having lunch in a restaurant in Santa Monica, California – I think it was about 1980. I happened to be sitting right across from him at a long, narrow table. Bucky seemed agitated and distracted. Finally I decided to ask him if he was alright. He told me, and again I am unable to quote his eloquent words exactly, that he really wasn’t sure we were going to make it, and he was fearing that we might not. I understood that “we” meant humanity on Spaceship Earth. (See his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.) He described to me the horror that he felt that it might take another 50 years for humans to wake up and move off of the dangerous path of destruction we are on, and he thought we might not have that much time. His last book titled Critical Path  is full of his thinking, warnings and recommendations.

Certainly a man with a mind like Bucky’s is hard to summarize and I’m not one to attempt it. But I will remark on one of his crucial messages; that is the dangers he perceived in the increasing specialization in every area of our science and thinking, as if we are not one whole system of earth. I am reminded of Bucky every time I am assigned to go to a different doctor for every joint or organ in my body, as if my body is not one whole system. Last night Obama referred to the brief period after 9/11 when we were united rather than divided, and he wondered aloud how we might get that back. For that moment in time the issues of our infighting seemed insignificant, and we knew above all else that we are one nation, and that for our very survival we must conceive of ourselves as such. It was a transpersonal reality we were in, and I think everyone could feel it.

Bucky, of course, looked way beyond concern for unity within a nation, desperately trying to describe that for survival, we must realize that we are one world, travelling through space on a delicate, exquisitely designed spaceship. For each one of us to not hold this truth above everything else at all times is to be on a critical, suicidal path.

Bucky explained that Einstein’s great discovery of E =Mc2 proved that our metaphysical reality is master over our physical reality, and that this discovery irrevocably changes the way we must think and approach every aspect of human operation. What did we do with the discovery? We made a bomb. Einstein did not even remotely have something like that in mind.

I submit that now, in 2010, at every single level of human interaction we surely have to change course from defending ourselves against each other to helping each other. Charity begins at home, within our own psyches. How can we insist that from this point on we will look at every other human not as other, but inextricably part of our one body of humanity; and at every system on earth as a vital, living part in the delicate operation of our spaceship home. Can we  together – with love, compassion, humor, wisdom, and complete focus on our purpose – make it through this right of passage? Yes, I believe we can.

I’ll stop here, but want to end with a quote from Bucky’s book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, p.36:

This is the essence of human evolution upon Spaceship Earth. If the present planting of humanity upon Spaceship Earth cannot comprehend this inexorable process [the meaning of Einstein’s discovery] and discipline itself to serve exclusively that function of metaphysical mastering of the physical it will be discontinued, and its potential mission in universe will be carried on by the metaphysically endowed capabilities of other beings on other spaceship planets of universe.”