Entering the Bardo

Joanna Macy has previously spoken about “four R’s” of the Deep Adaptation movement: the four core values of resilience, relinquishment, restoration, and reconciliation that can help us find the seeds of new beginnings in the breakdown of industrial growth society. In this article, she continues to document the Great Unraveling, likening it to entering the bardo—the frightening transitional state of consciousness between death and re-birth so vividly portrayed in Tibetan Buddhism. The worsening wildfires, hurricanes, COVID outbreaks, and police violence certainly evoke the intensity and uncertainty of the bardo. But as always, she faces, and encourages us to face, our “cruel social and ecological realities” with courage and an unflinching gaze, while continuing to work towards the Great Turning to a life-sustaining civilization.

Joanna further explored these themes in a talk during Upaya Zen Center’s daylong program in June. Thanks to Upaya’s generosity, we share a video of this talk at the end of this article.

This article was originally published by Emergence Magazine and is republished here with permission.

We are in a space without a map. With the likelihood of economic collapse and climate catastrophe looming, it feels like we are on shifting ground, where old habits and old scenarios no longer apply. In Tibetan Buddhism, such a space or gap between known worlds is called a bardo. It is frightening. It is also a place of potential transformation.

As you enter the bardo, there facing you is the Buddha Akshobhya. His element is Water. He is holding a mirror, for his gift is Mirror Wisdom, reflecting everything just as it is. And the teaching of Akshobhya’s mirror is this: Do not look away. Do not avert your gaze. Do not turn aside. This teaching clearly calls for radical attention and total acceptance.

I remember my Tibetan teachers telling me that bodhicitta is like a flame in the heart, and often I can feel it there.

For the last forty years, I’ve been growing a form of experiential group work called the Work That Reconnects. It is a framework for personal and social change in the face of overwhelming crises—a way of transforming despair and apathy into collaborative action. Like the Mirror Wisdom of Akshobhya, the Work That Reconnects helps people tell the truth about what they see and feel is happening to our world. It also helps them find the motivation, tools, and resources for taking part in our collective self-healing.

Three Stories of the World

When we come together for this work, at the outset we discern three stories or versions of reality that are shaping our world so that we can see them more clearly and choose which one we want to get behind. The first narrative we identify is “Business as Usual,” by which we mean the growth economy, or global corporate capitalism. We hear this marching order from virtually every voice in government, publicly traded corporations, the military, and corporate-controlled media.

We’ve been so busy and distracted in our different versions of the rat race that we haven’t been able to pay attention to our actual situation.

The second is called “The Great Unraveling”: an ongoing collapse of living structures. This is what happens when ecological, biological, and social systems are commodified through an industrial growth society or “business as usual” frame. I like the term “unraveling,” because systems don’t just fall over dead, they fray, progressively losing their coherence, integrity, and memory.

The third story is the central adventure of our time: the transition to a life-sustaining society. The magnitude and scope of this transition—which is well underway when we know where to look—is comparable to the agricultural revolution some ten thousand years ago and the industrial revolution a few centuries back. Contemporary social thinkers have various names for it, such as the ecological or sustainability revolution; in the Work That Reconnects we call it the Great Turning. Simply put, our aim with this process of naming and deep recognition of what is happening to our world is to survive the first two stories and to keep bringing more and more people and resources into the third story. Through this work, we can choose to align with business as usual, the unraveling of living systems, or the creation of a life-sustaining society.

Thinking the Unthinkable

Over the last couple of years, a number of us involved in this work have recognized that, given the pace of the Great Unraveling, we are heading toward economic and, indeed, civilizational collapse. Our thinking was aided by the Deep Adaptation work of Jem Bendell, which seeks to prepare for—and live with—societal breakdown. I’d also like to acknowledge the earlier contributions in French-speaking Europe of Pablo Servigne and Raphael Stevens—whose prescient work focuses on collapse and transition and is only just now coming out in English.

Globally as well as in the US, many of us are discovering a new solidarity in our determination to move beyond the sick racism we’ve inherited.

Since the present world economy has been unable to cut greenhouse gas emissions by even the slightest fraction of a degree, it now seems obvious that we cannot avoid climate catastrophe. Many of us had assumed that the Great Turning could forestall such disintegration, but now we have come to recognize the Great Turning as a process and a commitment to help us survive the breakdown of the industrialized growth economy. The motivation and skills we gain by engaging in the Work That Reconnects provide the guidance, solidarity, and trust needed to make our way through this inevitable breakdown.

There are many dimensions to this work that address the psychological and spiritual issues of the time, and I have found a fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and postmodern science: much of the Work That Reconnects has been informed by Buddhist teachings. I now think of the Great Turning as somewhat like bodhicitta, the intention to serve all beings. This is the mind state of the bodhisattva—the being who, in their great compassion, delays nirvana in order to address the world’s suffering. I remember my Tibetan teachers telling me that bodhicitta is like a flame in the heart, and often I can feel it there.

The Buddha Akshobhya.
From Wikimedia Commons

It can seem pretty clear now who is holding up Akshobhya’s mirror—it is COVID-19. The coronavirus has come upon us fast. We knew nothing of it just a short while ago. First it made us pause so we could take in what the mirror is reflecting. We’ve been so busy and distracted in our different versions of the rat race that we haven’t been able to pay attention to our actual situation. We had to cease our rushing about in order to see who, what, and where we are.

A Great Unveiling

COVID-19 reminds us that apocalypse—in its ancient meaning—connotes revelation and unveiling. And what has it unveiled? A pandemic so contagious that it immediately revealed our failed health care system and our utter interdependence. The need to prioritize the collective nature of our well-being dramatically rose to the surface, especially within our country, which is the most hyper-individualized country in the world. As Malcolm X put it, “When we change the ‘I’ for the ‘We,’ even Illness becomes Wellness.”

The patterns of contagion then cast a spotlight on what we most need to see: nursing homes, where old people are warehoused; the meatpacking industry, so dangerous to the crowded workers, so cruel to the animals, so costly to the climate; prisons, where millions are locked away, now becoming petri dishes of contamination; the fault lines of racial inequality in our society, now laid bare in the pandemic’s disproportionate impacts on Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. Sixty percent of the cases are African-American—thanks to pre-existing conditions fostered by inequities in health care and environmental racism.

The bardo represents a place where the unknown, even the inconceivable, can happen and where we who enter are profoundly changed.

On top of that, the killing of George Floyd has not only revealed the racism and brutality of our police culture, but aroused unparalleled protests, sweeping the country and calling for the defunding and even abolition of police departments and unions.

Globally as well as in the US, many of us are discovering a new solidarity in our determination to move beyond the sick racism we’ve inherited. In this Uprising, I am inspired by the courage, creativity, and perseverance of those engaging in public demonstrations, who are influencing many civil servants to take action—members of city councils, agencies, and even police departments. It is no wonder that the bardo represents a place where the unknown, even the inconceivable, can happen and where we who enter are profoundly changed.

When we dare to face the cruel social and ecological realities we have been accustomed to, courage is born and powers within us are liberated to reimagine and even, perhaps one day, rebuild a world.

Do not look away. Do not avert your gaze. Do not turn aside.

Upaya Zen Center’s daylong program on June 21, AWAKENED ACTION: Women Leaders Speak to Race, Poverty, Climate, and the Pandemic featured a talk by Joanna speaking to these themes. We invite you to explore and support the full set of talks and resources here.

Joanna Macy, PhD is a scholar of Buddhism, systems theory and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice and ecology, she gives trainings worldwide for eco-warriors and activists for global justice. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change. Her books include World as Lover, World as Self and Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World.

Preparing for Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion rocked the world two years ago with its successful civil disobedience campaign in London, which led to the British Parliament declaring a climate emergency. Since then, XR has experienced both explosive growth, with affiliate groups opening in cities around the world, and its own internal growing pains. Foremost among these was dealing with the criticism that XR was discordant with racial justice, including failure to recognize that protesters of color would be treated differently by the police than white people and, moreover, neither climate justice nor racial justice was included among its demands. (In the U.S., XR has splintered into two groups, one of which includes a climate justice demand and one that doesn’t.) As they enter a new season of activism, we support XR-UK in embracing these challenges as necessary dimensions in their evolution and share this article by rebel Satya Robin as she explores the vital support provided by her Buddhist practice.

In five weeks’ time I will be traveling from our small rural town to London for a fortnight of rebellion. I will probably do some things that are illegal. I may get arrested. I heard anecdotally last week that those willing to be arrested are often supported by their faith. Is that true? How did I get here again and, as peace-loving Buddhist, why am I planning on causing disruption?

We demonstrate our desperation by breaking the laws of the land.

The protests in London and across the UK are being organised by Extinction Rebellion, or XR for short. XR believe that climate heating is spiralling upward toward unstoppable feedback loops, and that if we don’t take drastic action, civilization as we know it is under grave threat. It wants the government to tell the unvarnished truth about the magnitude and urgency of our situation, and of the ecological catastrophe that has already wiped out so much of our beautiful plant and animal life. I won’t go into the science—you can find it in many other places, and to be frank I don’t think I have the stomach for it this morning.

When XR formed, its founders decided that the only “drastic action” with a chance of turning this ship around would be civil disobedience. Following in the footsteps of the suffragettes and the supporters of Martin Luther King, we demonstrate our desperation by breaking the laws of the land. This sometimes cracks through the collusion of our press and media with those in power and gets us noticed. When we are noticed, we are ready with our next two demands after “telling the truth”—that we act now to reduce emissions and biodiversity loss to net zero by 2025, and that we do so by using citizen assemblies to lead the government’s decision making. XR UK are hoping to soon add a fourth demand about justice, requiring that these changes are made in a way that is just and equitable for all. In this country and across the globe, poorer communities, people of colour, and people who are already discriminated against are already suffering from the worst of the effects of climate change.

Friction and Faith

In London, XR’s pink boat blocked Oxford Circus for 100 hours.
© Joël de Vriend from Unsplash

XR is unpopular with many people. We were unpopular with members of the public—taxi drivers, office workers—whose ordinary lives were disrupted by road blocks during the last rebellion. We are unpopular with those who are afraid of upsetting the status quo and of heading into dangerous anarchy. We are unpopular with those who think we should be using the traditional structures of democracy to make changes, sometimes these people have dedicated their lives to gaining power to use for good in this way. We are unpopular with most people—not all—on the right of the political spectrum, who suspect that our demands are thinly disguised calls for far-left policies (and they are right to be afraid of losing some of what they have).

In this country and across the globe, poorer communities, people of colour, and people who are already discriminated against are already suffering from the worst of the effects of climate change.

This is the first reason why my Buddhist faith is an essential support for me in this work. As a people-pleaser, I have spent a lifetime trying to keep everyone around me happy. If someone doesn’t like me, I work hard until I can change their mind. Being a member of XR makes it impossible to do that. One of the residents of our temple went silent when we mentioned the rebellion at our community meal last week. I know that they strongly disapprove. Another sangha member ranted angrily at me about how XR are getting it terribly wrong. A close family member hates what I’m doing and won’t speak to me about it at all. As I write, I remember a clip from a film about XR in which a meditating Buddhist blocked a road as she was screamed at by a city worker. Tears streamed down her face as she repeated the word “sorry” again and again. She didn’t move, though. Her faith helped her to stand strong against his fury because she deeply believed that what she was doing was necessary. My faith gives me the courage to stand by my convictions even when all around me are telling me I’m wrong, following the example of the Buddha and leaning in to something that is more permanent than my popularity or social standing. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we don’t listen to critiques, or empathize with those who are affected by our protests, or continually reform the movement in response to feedback. We can and still do get things wrong. It does mean, however, that we don’t stop what we’re doing merely to keep people happy.

The author with fellow XR Buddhists.
Courtesy of Satya Robin

The second reason my faith supports me is that it connects me with the suffering of the planet, and it helps me to contain the resulting anger, despair, and grief. My life was much simpler before I “woke up” to the reality of our situation only a year ago (I was late!). Since then, I have spent long periods in what has felt like mourning as I encounter the results of our greed, hate, and delusion in a truly embodied way. It sometimes feels like too much, and that is where “sangha” and “Buddha” comes in. As groups who have campaigned on environmental issues for decades know well, this work is too much for one person to carry. It is lonely to witness flashes of truth among the crazy, profligate continuance of life-as-usual. We need to build sanghas of people who “get it”—for me, XR Buddhists, and the wider family of XR—where we can trust each other and where we know that we’re not alone. I also need the Buddha as a place where I can take my pain, and know that it is received and enveloped in compassion. Wherever I am and however difficult things seem, the Buddha is always there for me.

Striving without Attachment

This is how our religious founders showed us how to live—simply, with kindness, with forgiveness, and with appreciation for all that we receive.

Alongside giving me the courage to be disliked and helping me to hold the grief, my faith also grounds me in a bigger picture. I’ve done a lot of reading recently about the possibility of it already being too late to turn the ship around—of the not-so-far-in-the-future dissolution of civilization. If I didn’t feel held by the Buddha, I don’t know how I’d be able to allow this as a feasible outcome and to experiment with the possibility of it being true. With the Buddha’s support, I’ve come to a place of thinking: if we are living on a “hospice planet,” that’s okay. Maybe the Universe has a bigger plan—a fresh unfolding of life elsewhere, another iteration, a leap in evolution. Whether or not we have passed a point of no return, I will continue to act, doing my tiny bit to raise awareness and to care for the patch of land beneath me and around me as best I can.

I don’t know whether more of those willing to carry out high-risk civil disobedience are people of faith. I do know that without my faith I would find it very difficult to be an activist in this way. I also know that everyone I encounter within XR is not only driven by the fear of what will happen if we don’t stop the destruction. They are guided by a dream of what might be possible if we live more lightly on the Earth. Imagine it for yourself now: less busyness, more time in green spaces, less stuff, more connection. This is how our religious founders showed us how to live—simply, with kindness, with forgiveness, and with appreciation for all that we receive. We can all be inspired by this bigger story and weave our little lives into the tapestry. My wish for you is that you find your own inspiration, consolation, and grounding, and allow yourself to be held as we all take steps forward into the unknown.

This article was originally published on Buddhistdoor Global. It is reprinted here with permission.

Satya Robyn is a writer, a psychotherapist, a Buddhist priest, and a member of Extinction Rebellion, seeking to bring about needed change in our human relationship with the earth. More on her life and work can be found at her website, www.satyarobyn.com. Her Dear Earth series on Buddhistdoor offers monthly writings from the heart, touching on both the devastation that humans have wrought on the earth and the beautiful possibilities for transformation within each of us as individuals and of our interconnected societies.

Plum Village Monastics in Conversation with Bill McKibben

Along with countless forms of social activity, the COVID-19 pandemic has understandably slowed down climate activism. Yet in this wide-ranging conversation with monastics from Plum Village, author and activist Bill McKibben points to a critical lesson of the pandemic and its relevance to the climate movement. Reliable information, science, and social solidarity (the willingness to change behavior on a massive scale in the interest of mutual care): together these save lives. As we ready ourselves for mass mobilizations at some point down the road and create new forms of online activism in the meantime, we have more to build on than ever. While young people have demonstrated their ability to ignite us with their urgency, indigenous and other faith communities are increasingly willing to offer a vision of the future centered not on humans, but on ecological wholeness in which humans thrive. Together, these are inspiring a new breadth and depth to our movement.

Selected Quotes

The root unfairness of climate change that’s so deep and so real … it’s that those who did the least to cause it, feel its effects first and hardest.

On all the problems that we face, social solidarity is going to be the most important thing that we have.

One of the reasons that we build movements … is to allow people to see that there is a plausible chance that they have some agency to make big change.

At this point in time, the most important and most heartening thing an individual can do, is to be a little bit less of an individual, come together with others in movements large enough to make a difference.

Plum Village is a global community of mindfulness practice centres offering retreats and teachings on engaged Buddhism and the art of mindful living, founded by Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh.

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

Buddhism and the End of Economic Growth

In addition to causing unimaginable human illness and death, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world economy into freefall, with borders and markets closing, business activity halted, and millions of people losing their jobs. As governments now desperately look at how to re-open their countries, we can expect to see tremendous pressure from global corporations to return to business as usual, favoring policies that put rapid economic growth above all. But this crisis creates the opportunity to resist business as usual and instead champion a new paradigm that prioritizes healthy human communities and vibrant ecosystems.

John Stanley and David Loy, co-editors of A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency, wrote this article almost a decade ago following the last global financial crisis, and it is even more relevant today. They call on us to think critically, challenge “the fetish of economic growth,” and espouse a steady state economy that puts human rather than corporate welfare at the heart of the model.

by John Stanley and David Loy

We are seeing a perfect storm of converging crises that together represent a watershed moment in the history of our species. We are witnesses to, and participants in, a transition from decades of growth to decades of economic contraction.
-Richard Heinberg

True development is in harmony with the needs of people and the rhythms of the natural world. Humans are part of the universe, not its masters. This awareness of the interrelatedness of all things, as expressed in Buddhism, is also lived in the traditions of indigenous peoples throughout the world.
-Sulak Sivaraksa

We are seeing a perfect storm of converging crises that together represent a watershed moment in the history of our species.

It is increasingly obvious that natural limitations will soon force economic growth to cease. Although this view has been well-studied for at least 40 years, it still remains largely unexamined by the mainstream media. National leaders and corporate CEOs continue to insist that the economy is the true heartbeat of human society, and its growth is the only valid measure of social progress. From this perspective there is very little difference between the top levels of government and the top levels of corporate management. Both are preoccupied with promoting endless growth, because both believe in what Adam Smith called the “invisible hand” of the market, which magically transcends physical and biological limits.

As Dan Hamburg concluded in 1997 from his years as a U.S. Congressman, “The real government of our country is economic, dominated by large corporations that charter the state to their bidding. Fostering a secure environment in which corporations and their investors can flourish is the paramount objective of both [political] parties.” Back in 1932, Huey Long expressed this colorfully: “They’ve got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side, but no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen.”

Platform supply vessels battle the blazing offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. Wikimedia Commons

However, something more powerful than an invisible hand is turning our economic assumptions upside down. Economic growth remains blocked. The so-called “recovery” of the last two years (recovery for the banks and Wall Street, not for the rest) has stalled. The official explanation blames the vast accumulation of financial debt. But there are other long-term obstacles to growth that are even more difficult to address, especially the shock of resource depletion. Since the 1970s there has been a recession every time the price of oil passes $80 per barrel. An increasing number of environmental disasters are resulting from oil drilling and nuclear power generation. Large-scale global warming impacts have already appeared in Russia, Pakistan, China, Africa and Australia — and Texas. The consequences include major reductions in crop yields that are driving up world food prices.

Buddhists should add their voices to other calls for society to go beyond the one-dimensional measurement of gross domestic product (GDP), which is merely a crude total of collective expenditures.

As Richard Heinberg points out, these are converging crises. They will compel our civilization to re-think the way it understands the relationship between the economy and the rest of the biosphere. Sooner or later, we will have to adopt a sane and well-reasoned “steady state” economy that operates mindfully within the Earth’s resource and energy budget. Although you would not guess it from the mainstream media, our contemporary obsession with economic growth is already a “dead man walking.”

Thai Buddhist elder Sulak Sivaraksa1Link updated for this version of the article. believes the future of the world must include interconnectedness, which for him is a spiritual perspective that dwells in the human heart. Globalization preaches the interdependence of nations, but that type of economic interconnectedness functions in a very different way: in Asia it has brought free-market fundamentalism, environmental degradation, and the destruction of Buddhist culture and values by consumerism. The same inner corrosion has been happening in “overdeveloped” as well as in “underdeveloped” countries. Individuals are induced by advertising to earn more to acquire more, creating an endless cycle of greed and insecurity. Those who die with the most toys “win.”

Today it is essential that Buddhists think critically and challenge the fetish of economic growth.

According to Buddhist teachings, it doesn’t have to be like this. Buddhists should add their voices to other calls for society to go beyond the one-dimensional measurement of gross domestic product (GDP), which is merely a crude total of collective expenditures. The Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan has developed an alternative way to calculate social improvement, the Gross National Happiness Index2Link updated for this version of the article.. This measures nine aspects of society: time-use, living standards, good governance, psychological well-being, community vitality, culture, health, education and ecology. The Happy Planet Index3Link updated for this version of the article. (HPI), developed by the New Economics Foundation in the UK, compares life satisfaction, life expectancy and ecological footprints across the world. Countries that exemplify “successful economic development” are some of the worst performers in sustainable well-being. Britain is midway down the table in 74th place. The U.S. is in 114th place. Costa Rica has the best score.

Today it is essential that Buddhists think critically and challenge the fetish of economic growth. Buddhist leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sulak Sivaraksa have been emphasizing this for years, and now the crunch has arrived. If humanity is to survive and thrive during this century, we must quickly learn to accept — indeed, to embrace — the need for limits. Buddhist teachings emphasize that this does not require a reduction in the quality of life. On the contrary, a creative “downshift” will help us to focus on what is most important in life.

If, in the midst of converging global crises, we wish to enhance our awareness of the interrelatedness of all things, and promote genuine spiritual contentment, we must emphasize and live by another way of life: the steady-state economy. In this fashion we can minimize, for ourselves and others, the social difficulties of transition from decades of economic growth to decades of economic contraction.

This article was originally published on Ecobuddhism.org on October 9, 2011. It is reprinted here with permission.

John Stanley, Ph.D. is a biologist who has led university and government research in Canada, Switzerland and the U.K. He is co-editor of A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency, which features contributions by the Dalai Lama and 21 other Buddhist leaders. From 2008 to 2017, he was the director of Ecobuddhism.org, which examined the global ecological crisis through the lenses of science, action, and spiritual wisdom.

David comes from both the Japanese Zen tradition and Insight. As a student of Yamada Koun, Robert Aitken, and Koun-roshi in Japan, he was authorized to teach in 1988 and leads retreats and workshops nationally and internationally in both traditions. He is author of EcoDharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis and A New Buddhist Path: Enlightenment, Evolution, and Ethics in the Modern World, and he is co-editor of A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency. He is also director and vice-president of the Rocky Mountain Dharma Retreat Center.

References   [ + ]

1. Link updated for this version of the article.
2. Link updated for this version of the article.
3. Link updated for this version of the article.

Islands of Sanity in a Sea of Chaos

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.

Selected Quotes

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.