Contemplation is essential to addressing the ecological crisis. Unfortunately, contemplation is not very well understood. Contemplation is not meditation, it is not mindfulness, and it is not prayer, at least not if we want to understand contemplation as an essential part of addressing the ecological crisis at its root. At its heart, contemplation is an unmediated encounter with reality. Reality is the whole of what actually is. Contemplation is an encounter with the whole of everything, an unfathomable encounter with reality. Continue reading “Contemplation Is An Unmediated Encounter With Reality”
Contemplative ecology is founded upon an encounter with a realm that is difficult to talk about, the core realm of the contemplative life: the realm of emptiness or silence or stillness or nothingness. Continue reading “Emptiness Is the Immeasurable”
I have avoided wading into the thicket of consciousness. We consider it such a central part of our identity, it is astonishing how little we understand it. As far as I can see, consciousness studies are a mess. We can’t even seem to agree on a definition of the word, much less understand how it works or what it is for. But it comes up over and over whenever you want to try to understand why humans behave the way they do. So I am wading in, even though I do not understand consciousness any better than anyone else. Continue reading “What Is Consciousness?”
I wrote these down about a decade ago and thought I would dust them off and share them once again. They don’t say everything about my perspective (leaving out especially my amazement and delight at the intelligence and creativity of the other animals and my insistence that they not be treated like commodities or “resources”). These “ways” came into view for me over the course of an extended period of solitude. A few will be familiar to Buddhists: impermanence and interdependence particularly. But I did not learn them from any religious or spiritual tradition. They are not matters of belief. You can test them against your own experience and verify their validity. Continue reading “Six Ways of Life and One Human Illusion”
The self is a mask without a face,
a beguiling movie set built in the middle of nowhere.
We spend every waking minute and many of the sleeping ones
repairing the cracks and shoring up the supports in the façade.
The self is that fragile. It requires constant maintenance.
When the self loses its power to enchant, the whole of reality reveals its power.
Touched by infinity, nothing is ever the same.
The mask is seen as a mask.
The empty lot behind the false front is revealed.
Only reality is real. The mind game of self-existence is a fake.
No longer living in devotion to the Magic Kingdom of the mind,
Suddenly a raven announces its presence, calling its way across the sky.