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Session One

Arriving and Setting a Course

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In this opening session, groups will be gathering and all participants will be keen to know what they’ve signed up for. Our job is to map out the journey, ensure satchels are packed, and facilitate connections amongst travelers. In particular, we’ll be seeding psychological safety, essential to risk-taking, inside the course framework and among group members. Here at the start, we’re setting up the necessary conditions for metabolizing the crisis, unwinding habitual responses and enabling novel, empowered, attuned response.

Session Resources

Session Leaders

Lou Leonard and Kristin Barker will both be presenting in this opening as well as Kaira Jewel.

Kaira Jewel Lingo

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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Opening the Space

We invite you to open your engagement with each session (or group gathering, if applicable) by practicing a Living Earth Acknowledgment. A Living Earth Acknowledgement can nourish our relatedness and avail us to truths beyond domination. Incorporating our ecological nature as well as the calls of justice, it is an exploration, not a formula, to recognize and remember. Through practices like this, we are setting the conditions for shifting minds that are conditioned by domination into more skillful ways of seeing, speaking and acting.

Living Earth Acknowledgment and Prayer

Meditation is an integral part of the EcoSattva journey. If you do not have a meditation practice, now is the perfect time to start. We invite beginners and seasoned practitioners alike to view this guided meditation grounded in our relationship with Earth, created especially for EcoSattva Training participants by our guiding teacher Catherine McGee.

Guided Meditation

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Establishing Your Group

For those who are participating in the training as part of a group, we recommend that, here in session one, group members take time to get to know one another, perhaps using the inquiries above, as well as establish shared agreements.

Shared agreements remind group members of their shared intentions, build authentic connections, and protect members from harm. Here in session one, you might place the selection, discussion and agreement of a set of commitments ahead of or instead of the inquiries. We offer here some starting points that you might use along with the invitation for each member to share their response to this question, “What do you want or need to feel safe in this group?”

Finally, you might decide how the group will use these agreements in subsequent sessions, e.g., by confirming them at the beginning of each gathering (following your opening of the space?) and encouraging members to invoke them when they feel that the group’s intentions are at risk.

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Dharma Offerings


In the first video of this session, One Earth Sangha co-founders Lou Leonard and Kristin Barker welcome you to the training.

Core Offering

Kaira Jewel Lingo presents the core Dharma offering for this session.

Course Overview

Kristin provides an overview of our journey and the resources that will support us along the way.

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We offer here a set of inquiries and group practices that support this step in our journey. Consider these suggestions and feel free to customize, replace and augment. But we strongly suggest that you explore at least one inquiry with each session.

Inquiry is its own practice and an especially important part of the EcoSattva training. Inquiry invites us to making our learning personal, embodied, and direct. With inquiry, we consider a question and then explore our responses to that question, perhaps with repeatedly, with as much genuine curiosity as is available to us.

Below are this session’s inquiry questions in bold, followed by a short commentary. We invite you to gently hold these questions. If this form of exploration is new to you or you would like a refresher, you can learn more about inquiry practice here.

  • What is my deepest aspiration as I embark on this journey?
    What brings you here? What motivated you to take the EcoSattva Training? What might sustain you when you encounter internal obstacles (resistance, pain, boredom) or external obstacles (interpersonal challenges, complex situations, systems of oppression)?
  • What resistance is present as I enter this training?
    Are there concerns or even blocks that you sense as you begin, having to do with the course itself or other internal or external circumstances? Can you just notice and be with whatever arises without judgment, not trying to change anything?
  • What do I notice about my relationship with Earth right now?
    For each of us, Earth can be a source of support, of danger, of inspiration, of fear, and so on. What do you notice is present in this relationship for you right now? When you reflect on the dimensions of this relationship, what arises? Where do you sense this in your body? Are there any associated sensations or feelings? Whatever you discover, even if it’s unclear, can you simply remain there with warm curiosity?

Format for group inquiry:  For those who are participating in the training as part of a group, you might at this stage choose a go-to or default structure for sharing that you can use as part of every meeting to explore members’ response to inquiries. Liberating Structures is an excellent resource and we especially like 1-2-4-all and Conversation Café.

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Supplemental Resources (Optional)

To establish a regular practice in a natural or semi-natural setting throughout the course, you might consider choosing a single place in a natural or semi-natural setting to return to with each session in the series. For more on this possibility, see this Sit Spot Practice Guide from John Rockwell and Adam Lobel.

One powerful exercise can be to explore in depth one’s own “eco-biography.” Kayann Short offers here some framing and examples on that practice.

Standing in Solidarity

On October 10, 2021, in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and support of the protests at the White House in Washington, DC, One Earth Sangha hosted an online exploration of what it means to stand in solidarity with life. Featuring Roshi Joan Halifax, Thanissara, and Kaira Jewel Lingo, this event coincided with the launch of the EcoSattva Training. You may wish to begin your journey with these teachings.

Part One: Roshi Joan Halifax
Part Two: Thanissara
Part Three: Kaira Jewel Lingo

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Dedication of Merit

At the close of each session, we encourage you to dedicate the merit. Core to our path is the practice of release, not holding tight to the material, emotional, or even spiritual. Instead we offer whatever we may have gained to benefit others. You can do so in any way that feels right; you are welcome to use One Earth Sangha’s dedication, found below.

Dedication of Merit

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