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Lessons from Fire

Parallels in Ecology and Enlightenment


Estimated reading time: 1 minute

This past July saw a new first for our relationship with heat: in Spain, “Zoe” became the world’s first named heat wave, with temperatures spiking past 43 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit). As the mercury continues rise, contributing to the wildfires that rage across multiple continents, we might feel our own emotional response as a burning within us. How can we relate to these outer and inner wildfires? Without diminishing the very real suffering unfolding around us, can we listen for teachings within the roaring flames?

This video is the second in a two-part series on fire. Watch the first part here.


“What is true in ecology is true in this heart-mind: the fire suppression makes fire worse.”

“I’m clinging so hard, there’s no mindfulness. That’s the wildfire out of control, taking what it will take. I don’t have to wait for the fire out of control to incinerate that to which I cling.”

“What does it mean to prescribe a burn within this heart-mind? Burning the fuel that the wildfire will take, maybe that means mindfully facing our fears, transforming our fears, mindfully facing that to which we cling, mindfully facing and transforming greed, hatred, and delusion.”

Read the transcript of this talk here.

Picture of Kristin Barker

Kristin Barker

Kristin is co-founder and director of One Earth Sangha whose mission is to cultivate a Buddhist response to ecological crises. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leader program and now teaches with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (DC). As a co-founder of White Awake, Kristin has been supporting white people since 2011 with a Dharma approach to uprooting racism in ourselves and in our world. With a background in software engineering as well as environmental management, she has worked at several international environmental organizations. She is a GreenFaith Fellow and serves on the advisory board of Project Inside Out. Kristin was born and raised in northern New Mexico and currently lives in Washington DC, traditional lands of the Piscataway peoples.
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