Early this morning, in a soft, silver rain, a friend and I talked about ways to respond to the Earth crisis. She's inundated with messages to stop the shooting of wolves, save 20 000 dolphins from slaughter, rescue starving bears... Many of these types of messages arrive in our inboxes and on our social networking interfaces complete with violent, traumatic imagery. It is a pornography of Earth despair - and most of us, don't want to look at it.
At a deep level, it brings us down. Even if we take action and sign the petitions, it doesn't feel satisfying when we press 'send' because in the process we have read or seen horrors, now imprinted on our psyches, now infusing our being with grief and anger, fear and despair. A powerful cocktail of negative energy - now emanating from ourselves...
At a 'Law of Attraction' level, what this means is that woven into our positive actions and efforts at protection, is despair at the ravaging of the Natural World. My friend said: "I think it's better not to know." And she got a valid point. What we really want to be doing is engaging with a life-giving, restorative, graceful FORCE...
But I still disagree that the way to do that is not to know. We must know what is going on in the world. We must understand the state of the Planet and we must act on what we know to be very wrong. The big challenge is to find the ways to deal with our painful emotions so that we can know, and still feed the good with our powerful positive energies. We must pay attention to Life, not extinction. We must celebrate every resilience and every new growth. But we cannot afford to be ignorant about what is under threat and what must be changed.
So what do we do?
In his video presentation for the 'Hands That Shape Humanity' project, novelist/wit/wild man, Tom Robbins shined up one of his loveliest gems - I can't find it on the web, so I am paraphrasing here:
When asked to give humanity one piece of wisdom, Mr Robbins said a few great things including something like this:
You've got to look out at the world with one eye and see everything that is wrong and suffering. You must vow to live your life in a way that changes that. Then you look at the world with your other eye and see beautiful fields spreading out to glorious mountains with the extraordinary sky above - and you know that all is well, just as it is. Then you hold those two contradictory thoughts in your mind simultaneously, in an ongoing dance of dynamic balance and understand that this is consciousness. It is in this state of acceptance of duality that we can be most useful - for if you act on the view of just one eye, you will either be so negative that you become part of the problem; or you will be so idealistic, you will fail to engage appropriately with reality.
As challenging as this way of seeing the world might seem, the message is that 'in the world of 10 000 things' nothing is 'either-or', but always 'both' - and we need to achieve this kind of individual consciousness.
Beyond our grief is a place of empowerment, and we really need to get there.