THIS IS AN INVITATION to become a flamingseed: one who uses challenging conditions to blossom rather than burn. For inspiration, I comb the streets — not to mention the forests and villages, as well as the contemplative and mystical traditions — for insights, spiritual practices and visionary ideas on cultivating a loving, generative world view regardless of circumstances. And I doggedly question cultural and spiritual assumptions so that we can open fresh to these changing times with curiosity, innocence and a sense of adventure.
EVERYONE HAS DESIRE, whether it’s for enlightenment, espresso or Facebook likes. Given this, it seems natural that we go toward what we want and avoid what we don’t want. Yet this automatic orientation causes tremendous dissatisfaction and loss of freedom. We become predators going after the next hit, wanting to possess and then rid ourselves of people, experiences and objects in an endless cycle — with only little bursts of satisfaction.
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SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE with our Dayak Benuaq friends in Borneo! Asuy attended the Paris climate talks to accept the UN’s Equator Prize on behalf of the Muara Tae community for their heroic efforts to save their rainforest from destruction at the hands of palm oil companies. The Equator Prize rewards collective action and includes $10,000, which will help them in their reforestation efforts. It also brought their story to the negotiations, where a historic agreement to reduce carbon emissions was made. read more
I DON’T REMEMBER how I first heard about Tarapith. Perhaps it was in a book I read, but as soon as it entered my awareness, I knew I would go there. A temple in rural West Bengal, the Tara worshipped there does what seems at first impossible: she is both destroyer and loving mother, hungry for blood and eager to help. How could this be? I needed to find out.
YEARS AGO, I visited the Menominee reservation and met Earl, whose family for generations had been in charge of tending to a river where a dark serpent lived. The old stories said that when the serpent was calm, then there would be peace in the world. It was the job of Earl’s family lineage to do the practices that kept that serpent placid. I don’t know precisely what those practices were, but I do know that Earl lived alone in a remote place, in the shadows of the bluffs beside which this river flowed. read more
Recently, Ruwi (Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto) visited Muara Tae to meet with the Dayak Benuaq tribe and learn what is needed for them to begin restoring the areas of their forest that have been illegally destroyed by palm oil companies. He sent this update for friends who supported the ceremony they completed in September 2014 to protect their ancestral forest in Borneo:
MY JOURNEY to Borneo was a pilgrimage into the heart of destruction. It was the darkest place I could imagine, because the Dayak people of Muara Tae were watching their ancestral forest disappear to illegal bulldozing and had been unable to stop it. While I was there, I agreed to help them crowd-fund an ancient vow ceremony on behalf of the forest, which the elders said was their last real hope. Now, with the help of collaborators around the globe, their ceremony has been carried out. In the weeks that have passed since its conclusion, I’ve been reflecting on that process, and here I share three spiritual lessons that I learned from the Dayak, which I hope will be as useful to you as they are to me.