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Reflections from the United Nations Headquarters

photo by Rick Fiske

Reflections on the “High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” at the United Nations Headquarters, April 2, 2012
by Bob Gailey

I walked down First Avenue on a sunny spring morning and saw the line forming to enter the visitors gate on the U.N. grounds. I was thinking how appropriate to be entering this situation on the 25th anniversary of the parinirvana of the Vidyadhara and felt grateful that I could make the offering of attending this event. At the same time, I was meeting up with other Shambhalians who were making the same gesture, somehow overcoming all the reasons for not attending and concluding that this indeed was something worth doing. The event was sponsored by the United Nations Development Program, and instigated by the Prime Minister of Bhutan, and largely organized by Tashi Coleman who has been living in Bhutan for the last three years (“doing small projects around the country”). It was a further step in the birthing process of transforming how we measure our well-being as individuals, communities, cities, countries, and planet.

What happened? Over 50 speakers took the podium presenting their view of the world, the challenges our species faces, and the means to ensure well-being of all species and the planet itself. There were highlights and lowlights but the cumulative affect was receiving a vivid snapshot of an emerging global culture determined to work on what has been spoiled, soiled, and corrupted with a conviction that human goodness and common sense will prevail. Although many of the participants are steeped in genuine spiritual traditions, presentations were very focused on the pragmatic, the earthy, and the measurable. At the same time, there was full acknowledgement that the vision as a whole will not work as portfolio of economic and sustainability proposals alone; the full embrace of basic goodness is required not only to provide strength, sanity and confidence to proceed, but that ignoring the joining of heaven and earth simply creates an incomplete picture.

If I could say so, this is a much sturdier movement and method than is being offered by Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, or other spontaneous social/political expressions I know of. Skillful means in the political realm is not impossible. It requires pragmatism, knowledge, commitment, and eloquence as well as clarity, openness and a willingness to invite the dralas. Our training as Shambhala warriors will come in very handy as we navigate the turbulent waters ahead.

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To read the Sakyong’s letter to the UN, please click here.

To read an article by Shambhala’s Executive Director about the event, please click here.

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1 response to “ Reflections from the United Nations Headquarters ”
  1. rita ashworth
    Apr 14, 2012
    Reply

    re Mr Gaileys comment about Occupy I would not put it a long side the ultra conservative party the Tea Party dubret as he has done in this article. It is much more a movement that is open to discussion and less formulaic expressions about religion and politics…as such it is opened up worldwide discussions about how we can create enlightened society from the ground up. Yes and we do indeed need to do this most urgently in all our meditative work in an open and flexible manner because conventional government is collapsing around the world. For example in some reports I have seen the real level of unemployment being quoted as being at 30 million in the US, so this is very worrying both for the condition of the US itself and the world generally. We need to acutely listen to people who have some handle on how things are going with all these matters-one such thinker I am highly impressed by is the US scholar Michael Hardt -so here is a video of him commenting on Occupy from a ‘political’ and philosophical stance http://youtu.be/JWVuAgwZooA best rita ashworth


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