Healing Ourselves as We Heal the Planet
There is the world. The financial meltdown we are experiencing brings to light only a small aspect of the unsustainable ways in which we human beings have been organizing and relating with one another and all life on Earth. It is only natural to be deeply concerned and motivated to want to do something about this for ourselves, our communities, and future generations. We want to support organizations working for positive change, to pass on e-mails and write letters and sign petitions and participate actively. We make our choices about where to devote time, money, attention, energy.
There is us; you and me. We want to be comfortable in our body, quiet our restless mind, be at peace with our Soul. We want to do yoga, have bodywork, learn about spirituality and practice meditation or other spiritual disciplines. We seek to free our minds of conditioning and open more fully to the present moment and the joy of life. We make our choices about where to devote time, money, attention, energy.
It often feels as if there is a competition between our personal pursuit of happiness and spiritual growth, and the work to restore the health of the planet and bring more peace and justice to our world. The call to take action and the longing for inner peace seem to pull in opposite directions. Yet awareness of this tension can be a doorway to deepening one’s spiritual journey and at the same time discovering a stronger connection to one’s way of relating to community and global healing.
This workshop has the aim of providing teachings and practices for the dance that weaves the spiritual and the political. It will be a space in which you know that you are not alone; a place to focus with others who hold similar intentions. Our focus will include the perhaps impossible task of keeping an open heart while facing those forces, people and systems that so completely disagree with our ideas and values, whatever they may be.
Experiential aspects of this workshop will include:
Entering a mindful perspective. Entering a space of non-judgment of self and others is easier said than done. The practice of being in such consciousness involves letting go of our attachment to even our most cherished beliefs about personal or political reality. This practice helps us to go deep within ourselves and opens us to better understand the forces at work that create suffering in the world; the patterns of greed, hatred or fear that effect all of humanity.
Experiencing mutuality. Our breath, energy and even our thoughts connect us with the life “out there” of people, animals, forests and oceans. We will take time to open to our natural empathic connection with all living beings, of which some of the most challenging may be our own neighbors. We will journey to open to spiritual allies who help reduce the fears that separate us from “the other” and support us in embracing our place in the web of life.
Cultivating courage. We learn to stand firm in that which is revealed to be our task. We open to the strength of the inner Warrior, our Soul, our ancestors and the great teachers and guides who have helped and continue to help all of humanity evolve into a greater harmony. We seek to be able to face those caught in the trance of fear or hatred and the abstractions that rationalize and justify those tendencies and not lose touch with our heart’s intention.
Taking action. We commit to walk the path of our vision, to take the next step in doing our part to help make ourselves and our world better.
The facilitator, Alan Levin, does not claim to have full mastery of these challenging goals. He approaches the questions and intentions with humility and with empathy for himself and other seekers. He guides the exploration with lessons learned from many years of paying attention.