some seeds only germinate in a forest fire.
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.

On being a stone: Spiritual contemplation as social action

on being a stone“A stone may alter the course of a river.”

A FEW YEARS AGO, I had a vivid dream that the world would end on a specific date, nine months away. This might sound like a nightmare, but the effect on me was just the opposite. In the middle of taking in this news, I had an insight: if the world is ending — and all of human life with it — I can’t end social injustice or save the white dolphins from extinction. There’s no time for any of us to reach our so-called full potential. read more

Update from Borneo: New challenges from the palm oil companies

guardians of the forestRuwi sent this update and photos for friends of the Dayak Benuaq in Muara Tae, Borneo. They are still resisting the illegal bulldozing of their rainforest by palm oil plantations. While the spiritual help and publicity from their big ceremony in 2014 has protected the forest thus far, our friends are facing some fresh challenges including more violence and intimidation. Here’s Ruwi’s update: read more

How to use desire to trick you into joyful presence

desireEVERYONE 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.
Continue reading on The Huffington Post

Asuy accepts UN award for heroic efforts to save rainforest

guardians of the forestSOMETHING 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

Meeting the Primordial Tara: A pilgrimage to West Bengal

taraI 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.
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How people can talk to trees

monster treeYEARS 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