Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Green Tara manifests...

In Tibetan Buddhism, Tara is a Tantric meditation deity, a mythic female bodhisattva, who is a metaphor for Buddhist virtues, to be envisioned and contemplated by practitioners as a way of internalizing and strengthening these virtues. Tara manifests in many forms, each reflecting different characteristics of enlightenment and each associated with a color reflected in her iconography: White Tara, Red Tara, Yellow Tara, and Green Tara.

The latter, Green Tara, is the bodhisattva of enlightened action. In her iconography, she is characterized as lifting up one leg as if to step down from her Lotus cushion in order to take action in an afflicted world--to do what needs to be done in the face of injustice, cruelty, and Adharma.

How apt it is then, that out of the courageous standoff of the Native American water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota, and the brutal response of the hired thugs to their nonviolent bearing of witness, a spokesperson has emerged who is named Tara--I see her as an incarnation of Green Tara, the Bodhisattva of enlightened action on behalf of our living Earth.

Tara Houska is a Gaian goddess and bodhsattva, a highly articulate, pure-hearted, and inwardly and outwardly beautiful young Native American woman, who was just arrested and brutalized in North Dakota. Her story of being hog-tied, strip-searched,and thrown in a kennel by these fascist thugs has filled me with blinding, sputtering rage, which I am now trying to breathe and observe, so that I can channel it into mindful, strategic, and relentless action against Trump and all the other corporate fascists...wish me luck, and let us all say a prayer for Tara and her incredibly courageous people in North Dakota.

Her mantra is

Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā / Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

But if mantras don't work for you, simply practice Tonglen:

Breathe in, and take upon yourself, the horrific suffering now being inflicted on Tara and her people.

Breathe out, from the diamond in your mind, compassion, relief, and a good hot meal to her and the courageous people she represents on the front line.

And then, like Green Tara, get off your cushion and take action that is mindful, strategic, and relentless against Trump, against this corporation and their hired thugs, and against all who would put their own profits before the health and future of our sacred planet.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Only Castles Burning

Catherine Larson is a long-time friend of mine from my earlier life in Oregon. She has been paralyzed from the neck down since she was 15 (and is now over 60), but her disability has never prevented her from leading a culturally rich, politically active life. She is one of the most resilient and amazing people I have ever had the privilege to know, and--like all of us--she was devastated by the Trump catastrophe.  So here is a letter I wrote her this morning, that I thought I'd share with you...

Hi, Catherine--

I was never much of a Neil Young fan, but this song was in my head as I awoke this morning:

"Don't let it bring you down; it's only castles burning/Find someone who's turning, and you will come around..."

The castles are burning indeed. This flaming asshole lunatic Trump has already surrounded himself with thuggish yes-men (e.g. Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani) who will pander to his worst instincts and block all counsel from wiser souls, and the upshot is, the entire fragile global order of diplomacy, trade, and alliances will collapse into tribal, xenophobic nation states as the global economy goes down the toilet.  Wars will follow soon enough thereafter, coupled with internal strife, unrest, and violence at a level of intensity that no one can yet imagine.  Our global industrial civilization is finished. Kaput. The collapse will be slow and painful, but gaining speed and momentum as one system of checks and balances after another fails.

Unfortunately, the burning castles will also bring down much of their foundation--our biological support system--as the voracious fossil fuel industry, given carte blanche by the Trump regime and their clueless accolytes in the vicious, bought-out Republikan congress, rides roughshod over environmental regulations and local opposition to drill, frack, blow up mountains, and string pipelines over public lands and rivers everywhere, defacing and polluting the planet...

I wish I could be more optimistic, but quite frankly, I think we are fucked.

What now? "Find someone who's turning, and you will come around..."

For me, the broader view is this: Global industrial civilization was doomed anyway by the fact that its major premise--the maximizing logic of money ("more is better")--makes it a cancer on the Earth, and cancer, by definition, in devouring its biological support system, necessarily destroys itself sooner or later. The election of Trump is simply the trigger--the efficient cause--of a global collapse for which both the material and formal causes were already in place and primed: the upward concentration of wealth, our addiction to fossil fuels, and our culture of rampant greed and consumerism ("you are what you own")  All these premises of Glomart culture are radically at odds with the operating principles of Gaia: Enough is enough, you are what you do, and value inheres in relationship and interconnectedness.

So Glomart has been doomed for quite some while--all it needed was a triggering device, and there is no more effective trigger than a clueless, cruel, narcissistic blowhard taking over the show. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

The question now, of course, is--what do we do? Here is my short answer:

To survive the collapse, and prepare the groundwork for a life-affirming Gaian culture to arise, phoenix-like, from ashes of Glomart, we need to cultivate and propagate three essential disciplines:

Tonglen--the discipline of cultivating insight and compassion, on the breath, for ourselves and for all other living beings, on a regular basis, in order to develop the resilience, compassion, and equanimity for...

Satyagraha--we need to stand up to, and neutralize,  the violence of Trump's Amerika and of Glomart generally against people and the planet by practicing and organizing nonviolent noncooperation with evil that is mindful, strategic, and relentless. That means studying and emulating the lives and work of Gandhi, King, Mandela, Wangari Maathai, Vandana Shiva, and all other such valiant and charismatic Gaian warriors. But Satyagraha also involves unplugging from the Glomart money machine by cultivating self-rule and self-reliance, which Gandhi called "swaraj." And the best technique for this that I know is the study and practice of...

Permaculture--the discipline and skills needed to create a Gaian culture literally from the ground up, by growing gardens, growing community, and sharing knowledge and skills, in keeping with the three Permaculture ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share.

May Gaia rise, phoenix-like, from the burning castles of Glomart!

Much love,