"Habits preempt choice. Once a given behavior goes on autopilot , we just keep on flying on the course set by habit. Making choices is work, and the mind often doesn't want to hassle with it." -Pavel J. Samov, PhD, Reinventing the Meal
Right livelihood is one of the eight spokes of the wheel of Dharma that is central to Buddhism. Traditionally, it is defined as not partaking in a means of livelihood that harms living beings in a few specific ways. Along with the other seven spokes of the wheel, it converges in a center of wholeness (the hub). The question arises: How can we live in a way that connects us to our intrinsic wholeness? Certainly, it begins with not harming ourselves or others in any way, be it subtle or gross. Just as each spoke connects the inner and outer parts of the wheel, so right livelihood integrates all aspects of our lives.
Over the past several years, I have been a student of permaculture. Actually, my learning began before I became a nun and laid dormant for years until it more recently surfaced in a way that paralleled my spiritual orientation. What interested me then and still does now is how simple and beautiful life can be when I’m cooperating with the natural flow. In fact, the word Dharma (or Dhamma) means the natural way. As students of this natural way, we need to set our egos aside and become receptive to how the whole operates. This way isn’t always clear at first glance.
The word permaculture seems to imply a permanent culture. Obviously, this flies in the face of impermanence which is a truth that can hardly be denied. Similarly, the word culture has its limitations as group norms both bind and separate. Words are problematic in that they can never capture the essence of truth. Even the word “sustainable” is faulty. Are we trying to sustain what we imagine to be the best arrangement of life, whatever we conceive that to be? At this time in our planet’s history, repairing seems more needed than sustaining (like the Jewish concept tikkun olam which can also be translated as learning to give). Respectfully giving way to life’s processes instead of trying to dominate them can become our act of gratitude for all that the earth has given us.
It may be easier in some ways to compartmentalize our lives and avoid taking a hard look at what we’re doing, but to cultivate awareness means that we wake up to the real cost that is involved in our consumption of food and energy. Mindfulness requires that we consider the context of our actions: the purpose and appropriateness of our responses. Only by clearly comprehending our situation, can we move forward with compassion and wisdom. If we dare to examine our habitual way of life, we may discover how it is influenced by a society that is caught in institutionalized greed, aversion and delusion. As dismaying as this sounds, we need to start by acknowledging what is broken if we are to repair and reconnect with wholeness. Tackling the myriad of global challenges may seem overwhelming, but we can address our needs on a local level. We can’t do it alone, nor should we abdicate our responsibility to others to do it for us. If we want this wheel to keep turning in a direction that will support life, we need to start nurturing the connections that will make this happen right here in our backyard.
Web of Connection Spring Classes
Mindfulness for Youth February 25th- April 1st, six Saturdays
Mountain Song Community School
2904 W. Kiowa, Colorado Springs
1:00-1:45 Ages 5-7
2:00-3:00 Ages 8 and above
From Fear to Freedom March 5th - April 9th, six Sundays
Vista Grande Community Church
5460 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs
Non-Duality through a April 4-25th, four Tuesdays
Buddhist Lens Deer Park Learning Center
15 Columbia Road, Colorado Springs
Saturday Meditation Ongoing (no need to register) and Inquiry 4:30-6:00 pm at Deer Park Learning Center
15 Columbia Road, Colorado Springs
The Web of Connection is a Colorado Non-profit corporation. We have submitted our application for federal 501(c)(3) non-profit status which means that the donations that you make will soon be tax deductible.
Your generosity is what makes it possible for our programs to continue to touch the lives of many people. As our community develops, we will be able to provide a more extensive example of a sustainable lifestyle that nourishes body, mind and spirit. Each one of us is an integral part of this WEB. Thank you for your support!