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Session Seven

Expressing Our Awakening Agency

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Prophesy courage, have the imagination to break the silence, end the isolation, change the story. Concede to the ripeness of things as the great chance itself. There are good reasons to be joyful—even after considering all the facts.

Susan Murphy, from Minding the Earth, Mending the World

Equipped with a deeply rooted sense of our belonging and calling, we turn outward. In earlier sessions, we opened up some of the habitual but limited ways that we engage with others around social transformation. Now we’ll look at what does work supported by research and our own honed wisdom. We’ll clarify in particular our agency in relationships (implicit and explicit) and groups (social norming) as well as what sabotages that agency.

Session Resources

Session Leaders

Yanai Postelnik

Yanai Postelnik has been engaged in full-time dharma practice and service since 1990. His practice and teaching are inspired by the Thai forest tradition and nourished by time spent in the natural world. Yanai has been teaching retreats around the world for 20 years. He serves as a guiding teacher of Gaia House, England and a core faculty member of Insight Meditation Society, Massachusetts. He is actively involved in Extinction Rebellion protests in the UK.

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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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Dharma Offerings

At the risk of adding to multiple existing framings of collective action, Kristin offers three domains of EcoSattva Service, all of which build on the foundation we’ve been cultivating in this training.

To view videos in full screen, click the expand button on the lower right.

As a active member of Extinction Rebellion / UK, our featured speaker Yanai Postelnik reflects on the Dharma of rebellion.

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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.

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.

  • How might I widen my sense of what counts as “legitimate action” on behalf of life?
    When you examine your beliefs about ecological activism, what do you find? What types of activity do you include or exclude in your definition of “legitimate” action? How does it feel to draw these distinctions? What excites you and what concerns you about the prospect of relaxing your criteria, of possibly recognizing the impact of a wider range of actions?
  • What discomfort arises when I commit, or consider committing, to action?
    Yanai points out that when we commit to being anywhere, be it on our meditation cushion or glued to a building, we can quickly become uncomfortable. What sensations arise when you practice stillness, or when you contemplate standing in the way of harm? What happens when you try simply to notice these sensations, without necessarily doing anything about them?
  • What happens when I tap into primordial being as a wellspring for joy, resilience, and action?
    No matter what happens, there will always be living and dying, and there will still be cause for joy. What happens when you bring the basic goodness of this moment to your awareness? What does it feel like to acknowledge that all suffering and joy is held equally in the fundamental wholeness of primordial being?

Format for group inquiry: Liberating Structures is an excellent resource and we especially like 1-2-4-all and Conversation Café.


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Supplemental Resources

From Kristin’s Talk

If you didn’t see this in Session 3:

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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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