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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


Surprised to be Aging

Surprised to be Aging – HIGHLIGHT

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Posted September 26, 2014 by
Rooted Family Community

Rooted Family Community – HIGHLIGHT

COLUMN: Youth and Family Family Camp at Shambhala Mountain Center article by Rachel Seely, Community Care Liaison, Shambhala Mountain Center photos by Samira Caamano, Lightfolly Family Camp at Shambhala Mountain Center (SMC) is a special time to appreciate and value ourselves, our children, our families and friendships, and our culture. ... continue
Posted September 23, 2014 by
Wrestling with the Funny/Sad Eternal Now

Wrestling with the Funny/Sad Eternal Now – HIGHLIGHT

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Posted September 6, 2014 by
Doing and Not Doing

Doing and Not Doing

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Posted August 29, 2014 by
A Year of Sharing Meals

A Year of Sharing Meals – HIGHLIGHT

COLUMN: Kitchen Wisdom article by Lisa Harris, Column Co-Host Investigating some of the many places where we share meals, and the different connections we find at each table. Outside This summer I took a long road trip with a friend and her four young children. I caught up with them ... continue
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Joys and Sorrows

Joys and Sorrows – HIGHLIGHT

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Buddha in Ghana

Buddha in Ghana – HIGHLIGHT

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Posted August 20, 2014 by
Contemplating the Lotus

Contemplating the Lotus – HIGHLIGHT

COLUMN: In Everyday Life by Mark Rasmuson, Vietnam I am surrounded by lotus flowers. They are everywhere in Vietnam. Every pagoda has statues and paintings of the Buddha or other deities seated or standing on a lotus and usually a small pond where the flowers are growing. The ... continue
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Shambhala Calling

Shambhala Calling – HIGHLIGHT

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The Silence is Broken

The Silence is Broken – HIGHLIGHT

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Posted August 3, 2014 by
Those Aren't No Stinking Four Foundations!

Those Aren’t No Stinking Four Foundations! – HIGHLIGHT

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Posted July 13, 2014 by
Killing Ants – Exploring Compassion

Killing Ants – Exploring Compassion – HIGHLIGHT

COLUMN: In Everyday Life by Michelle Welch, Phoenix, Arizona One morning last summer I went into my kitchen and found it was covered in ants. They were everywhere – all over the floor, on the walls, on the countertops, in my vegetable basket, in the cats’ food bowls. ... continue
Posted July 4, 2014 by
Ready to Work

Ready to Work – HIGHLIGHT

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Posted July 2, 2014 by
Microscopic: Mind and Poker

Microscopic: Mind and Poker – HIGHLIGHT

Reflections on Mindfulness, Suffering, Joy and Playing Poker by Stacey Mitchell, New York It was a stressful moment. Thoughts kept running through my head — should have, could have, would have, what ifs, spinning through my mind. It happens more often than I think I care to acknowledge. ... continue
Posted June 30, 2014 by
Living Now

Living Now – HIGHLIGHT

On Creating Time by Jim Koehneke, MA from Burlington, VT For a good many years I was not aware that life happened in the present moment. Then gradually I became aware that my thoughts most often “rested” in the past and future, or as one of my mindfulness ... continue
Posted June 28, 2014 by

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