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May 07
Friday

Touching the Earth Collective: May Newsletter

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Mind Blindness
By John Rockwell

A while back, I read an article about “plant blindness.” When shown a picture that shows a pair of elephants in a clearing and asked what they see, virtually everyone says, “Two elephants.” Even when the question is repeated, “What do you see?” people persist in saying “Elephants,” as if the questioner were stupid or blind. No one says that they see grass and trees, much less describes the type of plants. The biologists lament this lack of appreciation for the greenery that is our constant background. They point out that plants are just as important and in fact make up the base of the food chain that supports our existence. This lack of connection and community with the plant world can ultimately support a life style and work ethic that is destructive to our environment. What we don’t perceive, we have no feeling for. What we have no feeling for, we don’t care about. What we don’t care about, we can destroy and feel nothing amiss. Of course, by destroying the plant world, we are undermining our own existence.

When I told this story to my wife, she said, “What about the air and oxygen that support the plants?” At first, I felt irritated that she was making a simple example too complicated and missing the point. Then I realized the wisdom in her words. When we look at the picture, the elephants are in the foreground. We generally focus on the foreground as the most interesting event and ignore the background. If we expand our awareness, we can include all the green plants, bushes, trees, and the like. If we look further, we can see the sky and clouds in the background and the earth as the literal ground out of which the plants grow and on which the elephants walk. We can infer from the clouds the presence of water vapor and rain that water the plants and nurture and bathe the elephants. If we contemplate the picture even further, we can intuit the presence of space that accommodates everything in this picture. Space blindness is just as prevalent. Continue…

Entries filed under Community Articles


Moment to Moment

Moment to Moment – HIGHLIGHT

A few thoughts that pop to mind by Susan Firer I’m experiencing writer’s block again. I was on a roll with easy flowing topics the last couple of months, but not so right now. I think I may just write briefly about ideas that pop into my mind…like ... continue
Posted January 30, 2018 by CGH
Protecting the Space

Protecting the Space – HIGHLIGHT

Reflections on the role and purpose of the Dorje Kasung by Larry Steele John Gilvar, commander of Seattle Shambhala’s Dorje Kasung, recently was telling me about the Container Principle. It’s the Buddhist idea that people meditating together naturally create a zone of heightened awareness: a container. As he talked, ... continue
Posted January 28, 2018 by CGH
New Year Limbo

New Year Limbo – HIGHLIGHT

Preparing for the Tibetan New Year by Max Roberts-Zirker This time of year is a sort of ‘new year limbo’ for Shambhalians, having just started a new Gregorian calendar year while still wrapping up the Tibetan year of the Fire Bird. Instead of trying to think of which ... continue
Posted January 26, 2018 by CGH
Heartfelt Practice of Generosity

Heartfelt Practice of Generosity – HIGHLIGHT

Shambhala Trust provides funds for four projects at Fall 2017 meeting by Gregory Lubkin On the weekend of December 1-3, 2017, the Shambhala Trust held its semi-annual meeting at the Los Angeles home of Trust member Gregory Lubkin.  During the weekend, the Trust invited some of the Southern California ... continue
Posted January 24, 2018 by CGH
Teen Retreat in Winter

Teen Retreat in Winter – HIGHLIGHT

Teens gather for practice and conversation in the depths of a cold and snowy Vermont winter by Anne-Marie Keppel Through guidance, inquiry and activities built from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s new book, The Lost Art of Good Conversation, the Winter Teen Retreat at Karmé Chöling was an incredibly rich program. Seventeen ... continue
Posted January 12, 2018 by CGH
Feeling and Touching Kindness

Feeling and Touching Kindness – HIGHLIGHT

Reflections on the Social Engagement Think Tank at Sky Lake, New York, October 2017 by Lourdes de León Since our Social Engagement Think Tank, I have been processing my experiences,  connecting to emotions that continue to arise. I have been trying to put my experience into words, first ... continue
Posted January 2, 2018 by CGH
The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour – HIGHLIGHT

I believe the eleventh hour to be upon us, and perhaps coincidentally, I have witnessed a thrilling shift within Shambhala. by Anne-Marie Keppel October 2017 was a new dawn in Shambhala for me. Though I have been sitting on cushions since I was five, and gobbling up any available ... continue
Posted December 27, 2017 by CGH
Bringing Shambhala to Diversity Work

Bringing Shambhala to Diversity Work – HIGHLIGHT

Addressing harmful aspects of social conditioning by creating a brave and caring community by members of the Shambhala Diversity Working Group We are pleased to see the Shambhala mandala bubbling with awareness and curiosity! What range of life experiences do we bring to our community?  Can we create ... continue
Posted December 23, 2017 by CGH
Children's Day Song

Children’s Day Song – HIGHLIGHT

A lively tune to share in cheerful celebration from Jay Lippman In preparation for the Children’s Day celebration at the West Chester Shambhala Center, center member, mother, musician, and music therapist Carin Smith, along with technical assistance and support from Center Director Alice Goguen and member Jay Lippman, ... continue
Posted December 21, 2017 by CGH
Children's Day is Every day

Children’s Day is Every day – HIGHLIGHT

by Larry Steele Iliana the warrior-girl was afraid. Days had turned dark and everyone feared the sun would never return. But Iliana vowed to find the sun and bring it back to her family and community. Seattle Shambhala children dressed up in warrior crowns and tiger stripes to ... continue
Posted December 19, 2017 by CGH
Inviting the Magic of Play

Inviting the Magic of Play – HIGHLIGHT

Why Children’s Day is not just for children by Leslie Gossett Every year, I get so excited about Children’s Day. I love planning the celebration, taking the Emperor and Empress dolls out, inviting the delight and magic of play into the Shrine Room in a very intentional way. Also ... continue
Posted December 10, 2017 by CGH
One Really Good Idea

One Really Good Idea – HIGHLIGHT

Supporters of Sky Lake bring a great idea to fruition: holding an online fundraising auction with items donated from local friends and all around the mandala by Irene Woodard First, let me answer a question that may be on your mind: Where is Sky Lake? It is located ... continue
Posted December 7, 2017 by CGH
Dispelling the Myth of "They"

Dispelling the Myth of “They” – HIGHLIGHT

A story about Growing Brave through discovering inherent wisdom by Leslie Gossett There is so much sadness and longing in creating good human society. We feel the potential. Yet we also feel how distant this possibility might seem. I’ve been involved in Shambhala leadership for a few years: from ... continue
Posted November 12, 2017 by CGH
Seattle Conversations and Connections

Seattle Conversations and Connections – HIGHLIGHT

Inclusion movement fueled by radical compassion by Andrea D’Asaro Groups throughout our Seattle community are engaging in challenging conversations and connections around diversity and implicit bias, with the goal of healing collectively through mindfulness and insight.  The book Radical Dharma is the touchstone of these efforts.  Lead author ... continue
Posted November 10, 2017 by CGH
The Time to get it Right

The Time to get it Right – HIGHLIGHT

Initiating the climate change conversation in Nova Scotia: A Retreat at the Thinkers Lodge, Pugwash, Nova Scotia on the 60th Anniversary of the Inaugural Pugwash Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, Co-Recipient of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize By Shastri Christine Heming and Karalee Clark The Statement: We know there are no ... continue
Posted October 23, 2017 by CGH

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