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Joanna Macy at Bioneers 2/3

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now the thing about the Great Turning, my friends, as you know is that it's not a done deal we don't know, whether it will take hold soon enough it's underway, but before the unraveling breaks us down beyond the point, that living systems can continue you can lose the story of a living system, it can come apart when a culture is lost, it's lost! when a species is lost, it's gone! when a language is gone, it's gone! so we don't know whether this Great Turning which gives so much meaning to my life and to more and more of us on the whole planet can happen in time, and so that's what I want to talk about today we live in this time of radical uncertainty that is the darkness of our age, I think this anguish of uncertainty in which we live and it doesn't need to be anguish, this awakeness of uncertainty well, for Americans aren't used to that, you know we we're founded not only on unflagging optimism but we like to ensure that we can count on certain things we like to be confident about where we put our efforts we want to be sure, it's gonna work well, we're in a situation, where that kind of sureness can't happen and so what I want to talk about this morning is the gifts of uncertainty the promise of this dark age are the gifts that we can harvest from uncertainty itself five of them, I like to count things on fingers of one hand here are the gifts that I've toted up, and I invite you to find some more what we get from uncertainty? we get the present moment, for one thing we get a fresh recognition of the power of intention we get a befriending of our pain, and the great mystery that it brings us we get our solidarity with all our relations and we get an immensity of time our true age so that's what I want to talk about now when you drop the need to be hopeful or hopeless when you recognize that these are just feelings that they might have more to do with what you had for breakfast or what somebody said to you in the last phone call you don't put so much weight on them uncertainty can free us from the need to be constantly taking our emotional temperatures to how optimistic or pessimistic we are in the moment do you tap David on the shoulders, who is going out to fight Goliath or Frodo, that: "wait a minute? are you hopeful?" "get out of my way! I've got something to do!" and in that, this game of hopeful-hopeless is conjectural it takes you out of the immediacy of the moment, which is where you are moving and where your strength is, your alertness only in the present moment can you see what you're seeing only in the present moment can you feel what you're feeling only in the present moment can you take that step so the second gift of this uncertainty is that choice only in the present moment can we choose just what we're going to do and it's been thrilling to me, both as a scholar of systems and buddhist teachings to see that this capacity to choose is what is seen as the actual essence or nature of a self we are in our truest being: a verb and the verb is what we're choosing to do I used to think that it was is more important that what the results were that I achieved in whatever I was bent on doing and my motivation I took for granted oh, well, it's there you know, I can count on myself to care, for heaven's sake but then I realized that if I lose that motivation, lose that caring I have nothing with which to intend, I'm at sea and I can see why the buddhist teachers put such great prize on bodhi-chita that motivation for the welfare of all so don't take that for granted, cherish it, blow on that little ember, make it into a flame as Jesus said, and it comes right along with bodhi-chita "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?" that's what intention is like, intention, your motivation that you give a damn! don't take that for granted! bless it! that itch, that needing to take part thirdly, talking about the gifts of uncertainty the courage to feel what you feel in the present moment as you become present to your world then you feel what you're carrying that usually have been rushed and hurried out of your mind you don't bother, you try to pave it over, block it down, shut it down turn away, turn it off but try as we might, it comes up again the grief the outrage the raw fear what in God's name are we doing to our world and to each other?! and you now are not gonna fall for the ploy of the industrial growth society to pathologize that pain, hear me? don't let people, therapists or well-meaning friends, try to explain it away in terms of your personal biography, or "that time of month" it is a measure of your evolution, it is a measure of your humanity it is a measure of your nobility, that you have a heart-mind big enough to see and emphatize with the outrage being inflicted on our world an all our relations

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 1 second
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 443
Posted by: jand on May 3, 2011

We live in a time of great uncertainty. Will the Great Unraveling of living systems overshadow a Great Turning to a life-sustaining society? We can't know. Joanna Macy doesn't give hope, which would only be false hope, she has something better: empowering in the face of difficult times.

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