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.
Three Pillars of Sanity
- Nurturing inner change with a focus on grief work, releasing trauma and meditation practices so that we have trauma resilience.
- 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.
- 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.
A Dharma teacher and ordained nun of 15 years in Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Order of Interbeing, Kaira Jewel Lingo is now based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She leads retreats internationally, offering mindfulness programs for educators, parents and youth in schools, in addition to activists, people of color, artists and families, and individual spiritual mentoring. A teacher with Schumacher College and Mindful Schools and a guiding teacher for One Earth Sangha, she explores the interweaving of art, play, ecology and embodied mindfulness practice and is a certified yoga teacher and InterPlay leader. She edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children and has been published in numerous other books and magazines.
Kritee (dharma name Kanko), is a Zen teacher, scientist, activist, dancer and permaculture designer. She directs and teaches Boundless in Motion Sangha in Boulder in the Rinzai-Obaku Buddhist lineage of Cold Mountain, is a co-founder and executive director of Boulder Eco-Dharma Sangha and co-founding teacher of Earthlovego. Kritee trained as an environmental microbiologist and biogeochemist at Rutgers and Princeton Universities. As a senior scientist in the Global Climate 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.