This year truly feels like a turning point in our world. From every corner of the planet, horrifying and disturbing news reach us and it has finally become impossible to look the other way.
Two major events had me especially worried over these past weeks. The first one being the Amazon fires, the second one being the results of the annual CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) summit in Geneva, in particular the regulations for the trade in elephant – live animals as well as their body parts such as ivory.
Now, at first glance it might look like CITES won a big battle for the elephants, for the majority of votes went towards the complete ban of trade in elephants (e.g. baby elephants to international zoos). But what has me deeply worried is the reaction of all Southern African countries (where the bulk of the elephant population resides) to this decision – which is the serious contemplation of whether to stay a member of CITES or to leave the international regulatory body and be free to trade animal products without any form of regulation. Amongst animal activists the fear in the latter lies within the outlook that this might open the floodgates to even more illegal trafficking in animal parts such as ivory because the domestic trade of these elephant parts as an antique is in many countries all across the world still totally legal.
If you are as shocked by this fact as much as me – the first step of action for you would be to sign this petition aiming to end all domestic trade of ivory within the EU.
Now, which trap should we avoid?
What both the amazon fires and the threat to our beloved elephants (as well as all the other crises we face) have in common is my reaction to it – which seems to be the common reaction of us all: ANGER.
Anger, followed by desperation, followed by a feeling of powerlessness. And because our natural reaction to these dark feelings is wanting to get rid of them, the only action we can come up with all too often is HATE. We want to hate somebody, blame somebody or something outside of ourselves, fight the people who did this to us and Mother Earth, MAKE IT GO AWAY.
That, however is exactly the trap I feel, intuitively in my heart, we must avoid. I believe it’s this mentality of fighting, of war, of blame and shame that got us into this mess in the first place. As long as we keep reacting from this mentality of war and blame and hate, as long as our intention is war, the effects and results will always be war.
My favourite writer Charles Eisenstein explains my feelings (and maybe yours too?) much better than I ever could – which is why I’m reposting the following transcript of a video he recorded in reaction to the Amazon fires. Replace the amazon fires with any of the threats our Mother Earth is facing today – the solution to all these crises, I believe, is exactly the same one.
Please take the time to read the following transcript (or watch Eisensteins video below). I would not have posted it here if I didn’t feel very strongly about its truth and its value for you.
Thank you for your attention.
Charles Eisenstein: Amazon Fires – avoid this trap. Transcript.
“Like a lot of people I’ve been really deeply affected by what’s happening in the Amazon here in August 2019.
As deforestation has reached double the rate of last year, as the red line of logging and fires, many of them set deliberately to clear land for soybean plantations and cattle plantations and sugar can or whatever else, as that red line encroaches deeper and deeper into what should be the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
As indigenous people are getting suppressed, as protected lands, even, are getting logged and destroyed, I mean it’s just horrifying. And I feel, sometimes, these waves of helplessness, and it’s like the grief is so strong, what do I do with that energy?
I’ve noticed kind of a trap, like a diversion, that says “Take that energy and hate somebody with it. Blame somebody with it. Divert it into rage.”
I’m not saying don’t be angry, but what I’m saying now, and what I’m recognizing in myself, is that detour actually makes me less capable and less powerful and less active actually in doing anything about the situation. Because the solutions that the hate invites are essentially to fight somebody, to find an enemy and engage in a war with them and if you win the war, then the problem is solved. Bolsonaro, or the illegal loggers, or the ranchers, or whoever it is. Or the consumers who are consuming these products.
So, okay, this blame and hate, the real problem with it isn’t so much that it’s… okay it is one problem, a diversion away from the grief that really keeps me honest in the world. Another problem with it is it diverts attention away from the set of conditions that’s actually generating the problem. The set of conditions that gave rise to a Bolsonaro. The set of conditions that’s motivating, that’s incentivizing the clearcutting of land. And that set of conditions includes so much. It includes economic conditions, the global debt regime that forces countries all over the world to liquidate their natural resources to generate foreign exchange to make their debt payments. It includes the psychic climate, the idealogical climate that holds Earth as not alive and not conscious and not sacred, but as merely a ‘thing’ or a collection of resources.
If those things don’t change, then even if we take down Bolsonaro, there’s gonna be another Bolsonaro. There’s gonna be other people responding to this systemic pressure to find something to convert into money, and why not the Earth, when it’s just a thing.
So, as a response, when I understand the deep conditions, I’m not limited to fighting somebody, to engaging in a war, which is actually hopeless, because it’s a war against the military industrial agricultural pharmaceutical NGO educational prison industrial complex. I mean it’s the entire system, and they’re much better at fighting than I am.
They have the power. They have the guns. They have the money. I’m not gonna win that war. The plan, rather than winning a war, is to change the conditions, and everybody can be part of that, because when the conditions are everything, then any act of healing will ultimately affect the Amazon rainforest too.
Sometimes maybe you are blessed with the opportunity to do something directly to help the Amazon. More often, if you’re living in the United States or Germany or England or India, the opportunities at hand may not be to help stop the logging in the Amazon. The opportunity might be on a much deeper level. Not a better level, but a deeper level, to contribute to a shift of consciousness. To perform acts of care and ecological healing or social healing, I mean it’s all part of the same project, the healing of this Earth. But it could be ecological healing where you are that affirm that you care about life on Earth, that invite the planet to stay alive.
Imagine you’re on your sick bed, and you’re really suffering, and you don’t know “do I really want to live? Do I want to stay here?” What gives you the will to live? It’s if people love you, if people need you, if you’re valued, if you have a community, if you’re not alone.
Here we have Earth on a sick bed, therefore everything that you do that affirms that you want a living Earth, not a dead Earth, everything you do that is in service to life, everything you do that comes from love of a place or of even a person, a community, all of that is a prayer and a message to Gaia saying “We love you. We want you. We need you. You are not alone.”
How are these remote actions gonna actually help the dire situation on the ground in Brazil? I don’t know, but I trust the principal of Morphic Resonance that says “A change that happens anywhere creates a field of change so that the same change begins happening everywhere else.”
The change that I’m talking about on the deepest level is a change of heart. It’s a change of perception. It’s a change in our story of the world that orients us toward what to do, what’s valuable, what’s important. If we can create a Morphic field for that, imagine what Brazil will be like when millions of people there have a change of heart too? So we can join in a global change of heart and a global change of our story.
That’s my plan. I don’t know how specifically it’s going to change the situation in Brazil, but I do know that I’m learning to trust this causal principle of Morphic Resonance. I’m learning to trust that intuition, or I would say that innate knowledge, that every act has cosmic significance, that no act is wasted.
Are we ready to live by that? Because that is such a different mindset than the mindset that has destroyed this Earth and the mindset that generates despair.
The mindset that has destroyed this Earth and the mindset that generates despair is really the same mindset: The separate self in a world of other interacting by force to make change happen in a mechanical, dead universe, where nothing I do could possibly be enough.
What if the universe doesn’t work like that? What if everything is interconnected? What if self and other are interwoven intimately, and there’s a mysterious connection between what happens inside and what happens outside?
What if we are part of a living universe?
In that case the despair is illogical, and that’s why I think it really is time to step into that new and ancient story of who we are and what the world is. And that doesn’t mean we magically all of a sudden have a plan to stop deforestation in the Amazon, but what it does mean is we know the next step, or that we are able to see the next step when it is offered to us. Because that’s a heart function, when the mind has no idea how to get from Point A to Point B — ironically I’m waiting for an airplane to pass by. When the mind has no understanding of how to get from Point A to Point B, at least we can recognize the next step toward a destination that the heart knows exists. I call it the more beautiful world our heart knows is possible. It’s irrational because the mind is like “How could we ever get there? Look at all of the obstacles! Look at the powers arrayed against us!” And that is simply because the mind has been, if you grew up in modern society, the mind has been immersed in a logic of separation.
Not that the mind is useless, it just needs to be realigned to the logic of interconnection, interbeing, Morphic Resonance. Then, the mind and the heart can be allies again.
So basically what I’m saying is please do not take the bait offered that comes along with this knowledge of what’s happening in the Amazon. The bait of diverting onto hatred, onto the blame of actors that are actually just symptoms. Don’t get caught up in that. And don’t get caught up in the despair. Those are all lies that short-circuit our full creative power as change agents.
Stay in what you know, recognize your step toward the service of life, the service of healing. Find your willingness and readiness to take that step. You might even feel it right now. And that almost naive confidence that you will have the awareness and the courage to take that step as it presents itself, and that that will be enough, that that is your job, and that there is a larger intelligence operating on this planet that’s not external to it, that’s woven into this planet. A larger intelligence that knows where to put you in its healing.
This is not a spiritual bypass from what’s happening in Brazil. It’s not a substitute for action. It is a principle, an orientation, underneath any action that we might take. And just see how it lands in you: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
Does it make you more passive, to think in this way, or less? Does it make you paralyzed? Or does it make you energized, willing?
I hope that a lot of people listening to this really do take that step into trust and into the action that comes from the trust, because you’re creating a Morphic field that’s helping me do that too. I’m not immune to the despair or the rage, I just recognize it as not very useful.