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Session One

In the opening session, we will provide an overview of the course, including the structure and resources for the series as well as each session. To establish a foundation of understanding, we will frame various ecological crises in terms of science and policy, the “spiritual” crises they represent as well as their transformative potential. As we establish ourselves in the course and in community, we can

  • Explore a Big Story for our situation: the Bridge to the Other Shore
  • Remind ourselves of our refuges, classical or otherwise,
  • Agree to abide by as well as precepts and other skillful agreements that can provide a helpful container for groups
  • Explore our deepest longing or aspiration

Session Leaders

Lama Willa Miller – Tibetan Tradition
Lama Willa

Lama Willa Miller has studied and practiced in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for the last twenty years in the non-sectarian Kagyu, Nyingma and Shangpa lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. Her teaching specialties include natural meditation (mahamudra), heart-cultivation (lojong), deity practice, and practices for deep retreat. She is interested in the practical integration of meditation into daily life, and the power of nature to inspire authentic presence. She is an author, a visiting lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School and the founder/spiritual director of Natural Dharma Fellowship and Wonderwell Mountain Refuge.

Lou Leonard – Insight (Vipassana) Tradition
Lou Leonard

Lou is co-founder of One Earth Sangha, an environmental lawyer, a teacher and the leader of the climate change program at World Wildlife Fund which he joined in 2008 after a year on the staff of the Obama for America campaign. He also serves on the board of directors of the US Climate Action Network. Lou came to the Dharma as a response to the challenges of working on climate issues and practices within the Insight Meditation Community in Washington.

Session Host

Kristin Barker – Insight (Vipassana) Tradition
Kristin Barker

Kristin is co-founder and director of One Earth Sangha. In her commitment to collective awakening, Kristin is a graduate Spirit Rock‘s Community Dharma Leaders program, serves on the board of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC and co-founded White Awake whose mission is to develop awareness of race dynamics among white people engaged in spiritual communities and progressive causes. She has worked as an independent consultant and staff member at several environmental organizations in Washington, DC.


Homework for Session One

  • As the course begins, take time to explore your aspirations for this course. What brings you to this and what do you hope to receive by being here? Is there anything you hope to share or offer?
  • You might introduce yourself or just share your reflections with other participants in the comments section at the bottom of this page.


Access the Webinar

To view the video in full screen, click the expand button on the lower right.

Audio Transcription: [download id=”8811″] (download PDF)



Here we offer some optional (but highly recommended!) exercises to help you integrate some of the ideas and practices presented in the session. Each inquiry may be practiced individually or in dyads, triads or even larger groups. If the practice of meditative inquiries or group inquiry is new to you, we offer some guidance and suggestions here.

The inquiry questions for this session step onto the terrain of potentially-strong emotions. Please do what you need to in order to take care of yourself as you engage with these questions, including using the mode of practice that you think would offer you the most support. Feel free to engage only with the questions that speak to you, or to take them in a different order if you think that would be helpful. Perhaps beginning and ending with the praise/gratitude inquiry would help to balance what might come up in the other two inquiries.

  1. Voicing praise and gratitude: Where do you find nourishment? What helps you to access joy or resilience?
  2. Holding grief: What do you find most difficult about our collective situation? What is breaking your heart right now?
  3. In the face of such challenges, what is your heart’s deepest intention? What might be the compass that guides your path?

After you’ve done any/all of these inquiries, we invite you to share your experience and engage in conversation with one another in the community discussion below.


Follow-Up Resources

Science and Policy
Dharma Responses


Support Session Leaders

To maximize participation, we are offering this series at minimal cost. In addition, all of the teachers and leaders on these calls offer their gifts freely in this spirit of dana.

If you value what is offered here, we invite you to support these leaders and you may also wish to support One Earth Sangha. Dana, or generosity, is considered an essential part of practice and situates us in the unbroken line that seeks to bring the gifts of Buddhadharma, wisdom and compassion, to our world.

Any amount you offer, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated.


Community Discussion

We invite you to share with the community your reflections on any aspect of the session: the webinar, homework, practices, follow up resources or anything else!