Mindfulness: The bigger picture

 

There's a revolution that needs to happen and
it sits inside each one of us.
We need to wake up and fall in love with the earth.
           Our personal and collective happiness depends on it.

Thich Nhat Hahn

 

Mindfulness and the world

Many of us first come to a practice of mindfulness meditation to attend to our own stress or distress. And through some practice we discover that our relationship with this suffering changes. We discover that we can get less resistant and reactive to our experience leading to more equanimity. A greater sense of freedom can arise and it can liberate our innate human capacities for occupying our own authority, seeing things more clearly and finding our own wise action in response.

Our practice also seems to open us up to a more empathic, open-hearted inquiry in to the experience of the 'other' - whoever they may be in our lives and to see them, not as an instrument to be used but as a person to be honoured.  We recognise more vividly that we are all in the same boat - all stressed, all wanting to find a way to thrive and participate in life.  

And yet we face a dilemma. We live in a market economy largely (although not solely) driven by the profit motive. This has a number of benefits, not the least being the provision of many livelihoods which provide for the needs of people. However without awareness and consideration of the bigger picture, it can also lead to less than desirable outcomes, which ultimately also affect us all. For example, we live in a global environment and we have seen and continue to witness the problems that arise when one nation thrives at the expense of another, or a business thrives at the expense of its workforce, or a company thrives at the expense of the natural resources on which we all depend. The reality is that how we organise our workplaces, use our resources and structure our economy affects and depends on what is happening all over the globe. 'Business as usual' may not be a way forward.

And yet even thinking about these issues can feel overwhelming. How can we possibly add anything to our already busy lives? We all care about these things, but also can feel so pushed with all our responsibilities that we feel we don’t have any more capacity to do anything right now or don’t know how to start. It can leave us feeling overwhelmed bad, guilty, or irritated. We then usually avoid or defer these issues and want to attend to what is immediate and achievable here and now.

 

How do we begin to use our practice to widen our circle of concern to include others and to take different kinds of actions towards more equity in the world?

 

We are interested  in creating some community events that can help us turn towards these difficulties together in a way that we feel not just the overwhelm, but more nourished, connected and empowered to act in ways that make a difference and express our values together.

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Mindfulness meditation not only changes the way we relate to thoughts and emotions on an individual basis; it has the capacity to change the way we relate to abstract values on a spreadsheet and revolutionise the way things are done.

Mark Leonard


 

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