Patterns

Letter from the Director   |   September 2020 Edition

Over and again, history shows us that our most prolific societal changes occur during periods of hardship. Whether it be natural disasters, severe poverty, or war, the disorder caused by hardships helps to illuminate the ways in which we are somehow failing to effectively support each other. Depending on who is directly experiencing these hardships, and who can empathize and feel compassion for those experiencing them, fortunately there is almost always some combination of people who come together to offer support.

As we humans experience more upheaval in our lives, from pandemics to poverty to climate change,  we are being shown that our fundamental patterns of living are not working for our collective benefit. Regardless of the degree to which our lives have been disrupted, if we were all to stop and listen, we would hear one clear message: We are all somehow traumatized. For our collective growth, it is imperative that we acknowledge, identify and embrace this shared truth. 

Because of the simple yet magnificent fact that we can all feel, no human can exist on this planet at this time without having experienced (and continuing to experience) some degree of trauma. And despite how defeating it may sound, it is in this realization where our biggest gift lies. We can even say that this strange gift is one that is now demanding to be discovered, like a natural religion rising up—a narrative exposing how every single one of us truly is in a shared experience at this time, even if what we share is having some place on the spectrum of trauma.

Anything we humans need on the soul level becomes a type of religion attempting to speak through us. Many of us seek out and align with a particular religion because it somehow soothes our soul. It provides a form of answers to the questions that can nag at, or even torture us through our not-knowingness. The anxiety and fear that are byproducts of our not knowing are also the more subtle byproducts of our economic model of living that depletes us, rather than nourishes us.

This resulting fear and insecurity is exactly what paralyzes humankind when it comes to the massive change and extensive cooperation required to redirect us off the diseased course we are currently on. Yet as we’re seeing now, for instance, our global response to the pandemic is in itself proof to us all that we are actually capable of mobilizing in large numbers to take an immediate and profound action–regardless of what any of us personally believe about the virus. We’ve now proven this to ourselves on a practical level, and this is the initial assurance we humans needed to witness.

Each one of us needs one another in order to feel through, and live out our fullest lives. The economic system we participate in scares us away from embracing (or even acknowledging) this reality, and our collective fear mobilizes us to quickly and repeatedly apply the ‘us vs. them’ label. Yet like the mother who needs to forcibly stop her children from hurting each other, our planet is on the verge of forcing us to realize that we all need one another. 

Realizing this global need to cooperate more is the first step to significant change, and many of us are already there, at least cognitively. The next step is to take collective action together—action that generally takes us in the same direction. This is where our well-practiced divisiveness, and lack of faith in ourselves and each other, robs us of the energy to do what needs to be done. 

And yet, one thing no one can deny is that we all need a healthy planet upon which to survive and thrive. To ignore our poor treatment of it—to deny ourselves of this thing we all need—will eventually result in it becoming a type of religion naturally (and forcibly) imposed upon us. Rather than have it forced upon us, may we instead choose. When we choose to honour our planet on the soul level, we ignite our inherent collective compassion, which helps to heal our collective trauma. Honouring our Mother is the solution. 

We need to trust that she is the one who will bring the family back together.

A new religion is coming, yet it’s not a religion to follow. It will be one to discover, both through ourselves, and each other. It will be personally fluid in ways and personally ritualistic in others, with its only real dogma being that we all breathe the same air.

To empower yourself to show up for others is to empower others to show up for you, and compassion (for self and others) is an immune system strengthener. What everyone can (and essentially needs to) access is a deeper appreciation for, and honouring of our shared home. This renewed faith of honouring Mother Nature is a religion in which we will all receive from our own giving, and where each conscious breath becomes a sacred, yet uncomplicated prayer to which every one of us somehow contributes. 

Her doctrine is one of simple becoming, for each of us is already a member of her congregation. She is the grand teacher that is standing directly in front of us all, holding out the one book we all need to read. And it’s a book that reads in every language, and for all levels.

See you in the practice room,

Don

 

The Heart of Humanity