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Islands of Sanity in a Sea of Chaos

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
One Earth Sangha collaborators Kaira Jewel Lingo and Kritee reflect on the potential of building small, awakening communities for support and resilience.
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For us as thinking and feeling human beings, there is an enormous amount of suffering to process in this hour of a raging pandemic, ecological crisis, political polarization, and racial justice uprising. In this dialogue between dharma teachers Kritee Kanko and Kaira Jewel Lingo, Kritee describes the value, indeed necessity, of gathering small communities around us to help regain a “sense of empowerment in these deeply disempowering times.” Adopting the phrase “Islands of Sanity” used by Margaret Wheatley and others, Kritee describes three pillars of these groups that integrate inner and outer change, allowing for processing grief and loss while supporting action to resist injustice and harm.

View the full conversation between Kaira Jewel Lingo and Kritee Kanko on the Mindfulness & Meditation Summit website or on YouTube.

Three Pillars of Sanity

  1. Nurturing inner change with a focus on grief work, releasing trauma and meditation practices so that we have trauma resilience.
  2. Living our lives with a lot more sharing than we currently do, in ways that support all of life, not just human life, not just the life of our class and caste and people of our race.
  3. Resisting systemic greed, learning to say no in addition to saying yes to things that heal us and make us whole as a community.


“The traditional Buddhist goal of dissolving ego so we can serve the world with compassion and wisdom cannot happen in today’s world… if we don’t take care of the trauma.”

“To change a system it’s going to take another system, and we can’t form that system without communication and authentic vulnerability.”

“Being human means love. How are we loving all life on the planet? Lets bring our mindfulness to the biggest crisis of the times, that’s what we are being called to do.”

More on creating islands of sanity can be found on Kritee’s website, Boundless in Motion.

Picture of Sensei Kritee Kanko and Kaira Jewel Lingo

Sensei Kritee Kanko and Kaira Jewel Lingo

Kritee (dharma name Kanko), is a Buddhist Zen teacher, climate scientist, grief ritual leader, and social permaculture designer. She is cofounder of Boundless in Motion Sangha, a meditation community in the Buddhist lineage of Cold Mountain Zen. She is also a founding board member of Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, a center that brings meditation in nature together with dharma teachings for ecological action, as well as Frontline Farming, an advocacy group that lifts up people of color and women farmers and focuses on food cultivation, education, policy change and justice. As a senior scientist in the Climate Smart Agriculture Program at Environmental Defense Fund, she is helping to implement environment and climate-friendly methods of small farming at large scales in Asia with a three-fold goal of poverty alleviation, food security and climate mitigation / adaptation.

Kaira Jewel Lingo began practicing mindfulness in 1997 and teaches Buddhist meditation, secular mindfulness, and compassion internationally. After living as an ordained nun for 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic community, Kaira Jewel teaches in the Zen lineage and the Vipassana tradition, at the intersection of racial, climate and social justice with a focus on activists, Black/Indigenous/People of Color, artists, educators, families, and youth. Now based in New York, she offers spiritual mentoring to individuals and groups. She is author of the forthcoming We Were Made for These Times: Skilfully Moving through Change, Loss and Disruption (Parallax, November 2, 2021)
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