Tag Archives: Truth

This Brings Me To a 2050 Scenario

A harrowing scenario emerged in May 2019 from the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Australia, written by David Spratt, Research Director and Ian Dunlop, Club of Rome. Retired Admiral Chris Barrie, who introduces the work, quotes Professor Steffan:

“It’s not a technological or a scientific problem – it is a question of humanity’s socio-political values. We need a social tipping point that flips our thinking before we reach a tipping point in the climate system.”

The authors take a harder look at Climate Crisis than their scientific colleagues in the UN and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They state emphatically that the existing climate science projections and policy making are too conservative. Instead they explore a 2050 scenario of extreme severity, and show that accelerating climate impacts pose very large negative consequences for humanity. In a succession of scenarios from 2020 – 2050, the authors lay out a disturbing vision of human life becoming extinct in a horrible manner.

They predict that between 2020 – 2030 there is abject failure to act on the evidence. Keeping global warming below a further 2 degrees centigrade is ignored and locks in at 3 degrees of global warming. The global heat wave in the summer of 2019 has already increased warming and the lock in of 3 degrees looms closer. From 2030 onwards carbon-cycle feedbacks are beyond predictions so that by 2050 the “hothouse Earth” scenario is realized. The interaction of carbon system feedbacks drive the Earth System Climate so that further warming becomes self-sustaining. The jet stream is destabilized, ecosystems collapse and there is nowhere for relocating billions of people. The sheer scale of predicted destruction is beyond any capacity to model. Outright chaos is all that remains due to catastrophic climate emergencies from 2020 – 2050.

Their bottom line is that a zero-emissions industrial system must be built immediately. And this requires a global use of resources akin to a wartime level of response – something like the Marshall Plan after World War 11 or even a global Green New Deal. Both options are not enough, as they ignite severe political partisanship around the world. Climate science has shown that current projections will likely bring about a further 3 degrees Celsius – a catastrophic explosion across the globe. Without radical change, Spratt and Dunlop’s scenario is a glimpse of outright chaos creating the end of human civilization and modern society. Naomi Klein argues in her 2019 book – “On Fire” – that something like a Green New Deal is a radical change that could transform our economies to meet the Paris Accord protocols.

To conclude – we have a decade to change the present predictions.

http://ianprattis.com/ShatteredEarth.html

 

48 Minute Interview about “Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction”

I enjoyed the depth of this interview with Robert Sharpe. The conversation rested on specific questions.

  1. YOUR NEW BOOK “SHATTERED EARTH: APPROACHING EXTINCTION” INVOKES AN ALERT. IS THE EARTH OR OUR WORLD COMING TO AN END?
  1. WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU ARE TRYING TO CONVEY TO YOUR READERS?
  2. WHAT CAN WE DO TO AVOID IT?
  3. WHAT MEASURES CAN WE TAKE NOW?
  4. IS IT AN INDIVIDUAL THING OR A GOVERNMENT THING?
  5. COLLECTIVELY WHAT CAN WE DO?
  6. AS INDIVIDUALS WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT CLIMATE CRISIS?
  7. WHAT IS THE 2050 SCENARIO?
  8. WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT ABOUT ANCIENT WISDOM AND INDIGENOUS WAYS?

Listen here to the conversation: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/biteradiome/2019/12/05/shattered-earth-approaching-extinction-with-dr-ian-prattis

 

Should the interview catch your interest, take a look at the Cover, Overview, Foreword, Testimonials, Q&A, and Order of the book – go to the URL on my website – http://ianprattis.com/ShatteredEarth.html

The ORDER tab takes you to Amazon (soon to Indigo), and to the Author’s stack of books. Using the latter option you can buy an autographed book that comes with a bonus – a FREE prior book as a thank you.

KEY WORDS: “Visionary, Mindfulness, Sustainability, Guidance, Gaia, Eco-dharma, New Paradigms, Authentic, Ethical Framework, Analytically Rigorous, Spiritual Warrior, Hero’s Journey, Community Activism, Futuristic, Climate Emergency, Extinction Rebellion, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Marshall Plan, Political Leaders, Impermanence, Extinction, Darkness, Awakening, Ancient Wisdom, Climate Strike, Eco-cide, Abrasive, Wisdom, Truth, Demise, Reverence, Brilliant, Lotus Revolution, Sixth Sun, Grounded-ness, Bone-chilling, Captivating.

 

Impermanence and Extinction

The point of meditation is to grasp our true nature and accept the inevitability of change. It is impermanence that enables composure in the face of the difficult possibility of Extinction. The Buddha was very clear about “Impermanence.” His teachings on this foundation spur a radical change. The 12th century Japanese Zen Master Dogen writes, “Impermanence is itself Buddha nature.” For the Buddha, Dogen and countless sages this is not a problem to overcome. It is a path, not an attempt to overcome impermanence. Without this insight, we will not be able to change our mindsets about disruptive political and environmental circumstances. We rigidly hold on to views of how it once was, only it has already changed – often dangerously so. This lapse is further embedded by humanity’s general avoidance to value the planet and other people, undermining the possibility of understanding the sheer necessity of “Impermanence.” However, once we can accept that we have created the present deterioration of the global situation, then and only then can we find insights that bring radical change to our values, habits and mindset. Thich Nhat Hanh adds,

“It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”

From the Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh, all the way to Eckhart Tolle and Mooji, poets, seers and scientists – there is a unanimous point of view.

Dogen, from the 12th century, instructs us to intimately observe cause and effect, especially the condition of impermanence and loss. Then he throws in, “…..time is always impermanence.” The bottom line is that concentration on this factor releases us from fear and suffering. I offer a simple four step understanding of impermanence:

  1. Things change.
  2. Accept the existence of the change.
  3. Find your composure about it.
  4. Use meditation and the fullness of your heart to continue.

It is very difficult for western culture to accept death and the notion of impermanence. The usual response to both is fear and denial. We have to re-educate our minds to get past these two obstacles. When we can recognize that our present form of civilization is dying, we will recognize that despair and denial will do us no good. We need to rely on our practice of mindfulness and community-building to provide a measure of sanity. Martin Luther King devoted most of his time and efforts to build “The Beloved Community” as the strength to break through racism in America. With spiritual practice and community activism, instead of denial and despair, a space opens in our mind for lucidity and steadiness to propel our species to live differently. When such a community walks with us, fear dissipates and the dreadful despair and suffering recedes.

Such a future on Earth requires a mass awakening of attributes that run counter to the ecology of greed. It requires a candid acceptance that our global civilization in its present form is coming to an end. Such an acceptance of our reality on the planet enables understanding of environmental collapse and Extinction. Thich Nhat Hanh brings this home to us in a challenging way, making it very clear that any view not based on impermanence is wrong. He shows how the Buddha provided meditations for his followers so they could recognize that the only thing that follows death is the fruit of our action and thinking, of our speech and of our acts during our lifetime. Specifically, on climate crisis he is very blunt:

“If we continue to consume unwisely, if we don’t care about protecting this wonderful planet….the ecosystem will be destroyed to a large extent and we will need millions of years to start a new civilization. Everything is impermanent…. We are our environment, which is in a process of self-destruction.”

The origins of the Climate Crisis can be found in greed, craving, delusion and ignorance, where sanity is crushed by the greed for profit and corporate rules triumph over social responsibility. That sums up our overwhelming retreat into denial. The Buddha advised a long time ago that we need internal changes in our values, our thinking and our ways of life. This means turning away from a system driven by greed, limitless profits, exploitation and violence against people and the environment. By relying on impermanence we can make changes to our collective systems and choose co-operation and living in harmony with the natural world. That enables humanity to flourish in a better 21st Century.

Understanding impermanence brings clarity to our minds and perhaps we can implement ethics, structures and technology while on this planet. We have the job of cultivating a new way of living with one another on Earth. This is what Thich Nhat Hanh means in his homily, “Only Love can save us from Climate Change.”

We must deliberately cultivate positive ethical attributes in our minds. We have to shine the light of recognition and mindfulness on our suffering, so that we become steady and full of resolve to live differently with a community. We have to shift the tide of negativity, change our mindset and not squander our life. With templates like the Mindfulness Trainings we consciously choose to nurture patterns of behavior and habits that are wholesome and generous. In other words, we make mindfulness practice our new habit, an internal transformation of consciousness at the core of our being.

I shape all of this into a simple personal mantra for myself – “I refrain from causing harm.” I know that by refraining from one thing that causes harm, I then prevent other harmful things from happening. It takes mindfulness to do this and the trainings provide the starting point, a guidance system and a deep well of internal ethics to live by. My commitment is to actualize these trainings in my life, and in the lives of others, so that impermanence is understood. To mitigate ecological collapse, the transition from doomed economic and political systems have to change to life sustaining societies based on community activism. There are many hurdles, as people do not see Climate Emergency for what it is, because they are stuck in their personal suffering. The plight of Mother Earth is beyond their capacity to grasp. Spiritual practice and community building of some kind are drastically needed in order to prevent being overwhelmed by suffering, despair and fear.

I could go on and on about the terrible things taking place in society, politics and to the planet – and will divert to that in a moment. It is important to refine a system of ethical conduct. I go deeper into meditation to mainly fix myself to be steady and insightful. I register with Mindfulness Trainings, as it brings out all that I would like to see in people around the planet. The bottom line for me is that awakening and mindfulness are active. Activism, on its own, does not have the inner resources to maintain effective social and planetary transformation. I know from personal experience that re-training the wild mind is a necessary ingredient to precede activism. Becoming environmental or political is only one part of the gig. It cannot be fully effective until the internal spiritual work is in place.

At present, we are totally out of sync with the earth’s resources. The fragile threads of ecosystems around the globe are severely compromised and we are in the position of going down the collective sewer. Earth is like a giant living cell, all parts are linked symbiotically. Biologist Thomas Lewis created this metaphor with humanity as just one part of a vast system. The reality is that the life support systems of our planet are severely threatened by Climate Crisis. Our ignorance and neglect are destroying Planet Earth, because we do not know how to respect ourselves, others, and the planet. We have no alternative but to concentrate on sustainable living, rather than exploiting the spoils of perpetual economic growth. Profit cannot be the sole reason for commerce. There must be responsibility tied into the equation. Unfortunately, we have largely discarded our ability to relate to meaningful values such as compassion, planetary care, love and social justice to mention a few castaways. Unless we radically change, there is no possibility of balance, environmentally or socially.

These issues were examined with great clarity by the awakened mind of the Buddha, 2600 years ago. His teachings are timeless, as relevant to the modern world as when first spoken.  In the modern era Thich Nhat Hanh taught the Five Mindfulness Trainings as a design for living related to modern realities. They are non-sectarian and all spiritual traditions have their equivalent. The first training is to protect life, to decrease violence in oneself, family and society. The second training is to practice social justice, generosity and not exploit other beings. The third is responsible sexual behavior for all people, to protect couples, families and children. The fourth is the practice of deep listening and loving speech to restore communication and reconciliation. The fifth is about mindful consumption, which helps us not to bring toxins and poisons into our body, mind or planet.

Expanding Heart and Mind – Community Building and Activism

I rest on the Hopi Elders’ Prophecy in 2000,

“Create your community. Be good to one another. And do not look outside yourself for your leader… See who is there with you and celebrate…. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

I believe, from my own experience, that community activism is a vital action for populations around the world. I would say community building and activism are essential actions in our times. For years I organized a big event in Ottawa City Hall – the annual Friends for Peace Day. This was my job for a decade. It all started on a bitterly cold winter evening as the Iraq war loomed. I received notice that a Peace Song Circle was happening on Parliament Hill to protest the bombing of Baghdad. So I went, accompanied by my wife Carolyn, a friend and our dog. No-one else turned up, as it was so cold. I remarked to Carolyn,

“This is a good idea but it needs attention to detail and organization.”

She replied, “Let’s do it.”

So we created the nucleus for Friends for Peace Canada.  It quickly grew to a loose coalition of over fifty organizations in the city and we asked them to begin the peace process first of all within themselves, then to the community and out to the world. Our mandate evolved from peace advocacy to projects on the ground. We gave annual Grants to local organizations making a difference in our city, as well as working with other coalitions in the city for environmental and social justice issues. We organized five thousand participants at the Song Circle on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, held on a miserably wet, cold spring day in 2003.

A sea of multi-colored umbrellas on a rain swept morning welcomed all those gathered.  As other peace protests joined us and sang “All Within Me Peaceful,” the crowd covered the grounds of Canada’s seat of government, all meditating at the end in total silence as the rain poured down on our heads. The pouring rain was strangely welcome, for it symbolized the tears of Iraqi children, my tears, your tears, transformed into hope through singing for peace with one another and experiencing deep stillness with this community on Parliament Hill. There was a transformation of anger, anguish and violence into a determined clarity to be peaceful and to oppose war. From there we know the wise actions to take.

The projects in the city of Ottawa supported by Friends for Peace include: the Multi-Faith Housing Initiative, the Youth Treatment Centre, Child Haven International, and Peace Camp Ottawa, which brings reconciliation to Palestinian and Israeli teens. In addition we supported the Physicians for Global Survival initiative to expand the mandate of the Canadian War Museum to include the creation of a culture of peace. There were other projects in Africa, India and Nepal. One planetary care project was the campaign to make the Dumoine River watershed in Quebec a protected conservation park. Peace Grants were also awarded to rebuild the Galai School in Liberia and the Healing Art Project of Minwaashin Lodge – an aboriginal women’s centre in Ottawa. Orkidstra received several grants to expand their children’s orchestra. Other grants were presented to the Dandelion Dance Company and to USC Canada. Ottawa Friends of Tibet received several Peace Grants for their Tibetan Re-Settlement Project, just to mention a few.

Each year since the relentless rain on Parliament Hill in 2003, the annual Friends for Peace Days have been memorable. We were rained and snowed on for several years on Parliament Hill, thunder and lightning at Alumni Park of Carleton University, before we moved inside to Ottawa City Hall. We organized differently there, with peace activist and environment booths along the periphery of the hall, a food court at the back, a long set of tables with items for the silent auction and the stage at the north end. The response to this community activism was beyond any expectations.

The yearly event, held in the Autumn, became an awesome, diverse, unique Ottawa experience. It was made possible by the generosity of volunteers, supporters and citizens of Ottawa who showed up to have a good time, be educated and inspired. It created an epicentre of intent and action, intense at times as people were moved to both tears and laughter. The intensity and joy rippled through the diversity, all generations, faiths and cultures in our northern city. The force of the epicentre roared through the community and activist tables, Muslim families, Asian groups, elders, young folk and volunteers. The diversity of Ottawa gathers, listens, dances, laughs, cries, and takes home an unforgettable experience of hope and confidence.

Friends for Peace presented Awards to outstanding Canadian citizens who devoted their lives to securing peace, planetary care and social justice. Our mandate was always solid throughout the day, at the Welcome and Community Tables, the Silent Auction, Connection Centre and Food Court. Citizens left at the end of the day feeling uplifted, confident and connected. The intent was to create a different form of peaceful expression that appeals to a wide cross section of Canadian citizens who want to create infrastructure in our institutions that value peace and planetary processes.

When I founded Friends for Peace Canada I was making a conscious choice to focus on the local, my home city of Ottawa. My focus was on mindfulness in schools, city environment, youth at risk and the empowerment of women. I was astonished by the results, more true to say “blown away.” At the local level there was continuity with great women who made sure good things happened. Many of the Award recipients were women. The funds raised from the annual Peace Day were used to issue Grants to organizations in Ottawa.  In particular we supported youth organizations that burst on to the local scene guided by awesome women. Orkidstra, founded by my friend Tina Fedeski, provides children from under-served communities with the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and sing in a choir. It is modelled on the El Sistema program, which was so successful in Venezuela for breaking down barriers of poverty and violence. The philosophy of El Sistema has spread to sixty countries in the world, serving millions of children.

In Ottawa, Orkidstra is creating a quiet social revolution on the backs of children – in a very healthy way. Tina Fedeski and two friends drew together a marvelous group of music teachers, promoters, volunteers and educators. There are now 700 children from over 62 cultural and linguistic backgrounds – a huge enrollment beyond the 27 children who started in the program in 2007. Orkidstra is a social development program giving children in Ottawa a sense of belonging and achievement plus fostering life skills. Children from low-income and under-served areas receive tuition, instruments and music – provided free of charge. Each child commits to playing in an ensemble. The program builds community, co-operation, commitment, compassion and self-esteem. This is in the opposite direction of fear, suffering and neglect. The results have been amazing. All graduates go on to post-secondary education making good the belief that empowering kids builds mature citizens and community. In the Orkidstra domain there is no sense of separation, only love. They interconnect with integrity, a recipe that makes the entire organization deeply heart-warming.

Similar support was provided to The Dandelion Dance Company, which has a similar structure. This is the creation of Hannah Beach, who brought forth a dozen young women actors, dressed in black to several Friends for Peace Days. This Ottawa based youth dance theatre company explores social issues through movement. Their repertoire is driven by the experiences, reflections and passion of young women who range in age from twelve to eighteen. The themes they dance include children’s rights, hunger, authenticity, bullying, drug addiction, stereotypes and inclusiveness. Their performances of John Marsden’s “Prayer for the Twenty First Century” brought the entire audience to their feet applauding their passion for nonviolence and the basic rights for women. The dance alluded to our hope and dreams we want for our society. The Dandelions provide the means to galvanize parents, friends and volunteers so that good kids are created and excellent citizens emerge.

Peace, Planetary Care and Social Justice are alive and well in our northern city. A Circle of Nations no less. Friends for Peace had a fantastic run for a decade, then I was side-lined by surgeries for three years and I could clearly see Impermanence working on me! There is now a two week Peace Festival in Ottawa every September. It has grown in ever increasing concentric circles. The foundations of mindfulness through the organizations we partnered with have taken root in the annual Peace Festival. All adhere to some form of our mandate: Peace, Planetary Care and Social Justice. Concentration on my home city was a primary focus. I was inspired to devote my time and energy to moving things just a little bit, so that good things could begin to happen spontaneously. I soon discovered, there were many good friends across the city more than happy to make this possible – and take over.

This narrative shows how the strategy of community building and activism in the face of Extinction is necessary. This is what it takes to derail the culture of fear and greed. To truly embrace impermanence requires an open spiritual practice, co-operative networks and preparation for community activism to invigorate the values that serve humanity. The required global response to implement some form of the Marshall Plan or the Green New Deal is not likely to appear in time, unless political leaders suddenly become brave and make bold choices to connect rather than separate. In the looming vacuum, deadly forms of Climate Emergency will certainly crash down all over the planet. Yet the organization of community building and activism provides local support with a strong view of impermanence. In my home city of Ottawa, Canada, there are many magnificent networks of solidarity in the city to help and support.

There may well be disaster in our faces, yet there is also solidarity in community activism.  Martin Luther King’s “Beloved Community” no less.

 

Indigenous Ways

My soon to be released book “Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction” has a final section that draws on Indigenous Wisdom. Look for the book at the end of the month. If in Ottawa – get a signed copy from me.

PART FOUR – ALL MY RELATIONS: ANCIENT WISDOM

My long encounter with Ancient Wisdom enabled my heart and mind to expand in a manner that astonished me. I absorbed the significance of the Earth Mother and saw clearly how humanity neglected the basic respect for all that sustains us. Indigenous cycles of harvesting the Earth were based on an ethic of planning seven generations into the future. Such an ethic is not found in modern society. Indigenous wisdom the world over knows that protecting the Earth is primary to care for ourselves and all species. The era of Climate Crisis and Extinction is not a surprise to them.

My approach to life comes through experience, crises, difficulties and joys that may have common ground with many readers. I was gifted with mentors in the desert, training with sages in ashrams in India and the Ancient Wisdom of Indigenous cultures.  My intensive training in different traditions enabled me to better understand the processes of transformation. There was a lot of mud in my seasons, yet that mud provided the necessary compost to cultivate surprisingly accurate insights. Thus, I was able to anticipate the hard core of Extinction by first of all developing Impermanence. And just why do I – do we – need all of this? It is so we may emerge as the new leaders for the 21st century.

I introduce Sacred Stalker in Chapter 10 and in Chapter 11: Medicine Mentors- my indigenous education. Chapter 12: The Transfer Particle is a futuristic story about Hopi mysticism for a new planet. Chapter 13: The Forest provides a short, sharp finale about my intentions.

Climate Strike in Ottawa, September 27, 2019

I published “Failsafe, Saving the Earth from Ourselves” in 2008. I remember apologizing to my students at Carleton University that my generation had not left a healthy planet for them. I remembered that apology at the 2019 Climate Strike in Ottawa – Friday September 27 – surrounded by thousands of magnificent children. I was in admiration of their strike, yet emotional and sad that earth matters had not changed for the better. I noticed that I was not the only grandparent who cried a bit. Montreal was in the forefront with 500,000 protesters, followed by 100 towns and cities across the country – also around the world. The largest protest ever with over 6 million climate strikers.

I was also thinking about the completion of my new book – “Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction” – to be released at the end of October.

This book is dedicated to the brave children of our world.

Here is a recent testimonial of this work:

Krystina McGuire-Eggins, Therapist

In Shattered Earth, Ian Prattis catapults the reader into a dark, brutal vision of the devastation on Earth as a result of our willful neglect and abuse of its resources. Prattis shares his abundance of knowledge and experience as a professor emeritus of anthropology and religion, scholar, world traveler, spiritual leader and poet, to present a convincing and alarming view of the future, including a glimpse of the year 2080. Using the wisdom he has gained from his travels to overseas ashrams and monasteries, as well as his time spent with Native American medicine people and shamans, he also provides an invaluable insight into the ancient wisdom that can sustain us. This book is dark. It is bone-chilling. It is captivating.

Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction

This is my 18th book – the most difficult yet. It is about our broken world – particularly with respect to the impending Extinction brought about by Climate Emergency. The difficulty for me has been the darkness of Extinction despite the pacifying alternative of Impermanence. The testimonials blew me away – here are a few.

Claudiu Murgan, Author – Ian Prattis’s previous books – Failsafe: Saving the Earth From Ourselves; New Planet New World, and Our World is Burning – should be part of our schools’ curriculum. Shattered Earth makes no exception. It has an abrasive message for those that still don’t want to understand that the existing ecological balance is broken and only a sudden halt of the destructive actions fueled by greed and power could dim down the effects. A must read for all that care about their legacy.

Jana Begovic, Contributing Editor of “Ariel Chart Literary Magazine.”- …..Dr. Prattis is a recipient and bearer of the ancestral wisdom, He shines the light on what is important for our survival, and that of the generations to come, on the urgency with which we ought to act while there is still a glimmer of hope left before it is too late. If humankind wants to survive, it needs to unite in this very late hour, and attempt to reverse the human greed, callousness and cruelty inflicted upon Earth. This powerful, sobering and timely message of this book should be shared far and wide before it is too late.

Anita Rizvi, Therapist – Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction is humankind peering into a broken mirror and seeing the stark reality of Climate Emergency reflected there. Without leniency, Dr. Prattis forewarns of a world with ‘no beauty rising from the ashes’ should we stay on our present course. Amidst the desolate and barren narrative described so beautifully in this book, a solution is born in the mud pits. Civilization can set a new course that will allow our natural state of interconnectedness to emerge.  Shattered Earth is brilliant and asks something of each of us – to become part of the only force that can jointly topple the creators of Climate Emergency. With Dr. Prattis there, it is time for the Lotus Revolution.

The book will be released at the end of October 2019. Copies can be picked up at my home in Ottawa with a bonus. With each purchase you can take home – FREE – any one of my prior books. Email iprattis@bell.net

Vesak in Ottawa, May 5, City Hall 10am – 2pm

The roaring beat of Cambodian temple drums opens the day with a bang.  They are followed in procession by the monastic Sangha walking mindfully to their places next to the podium, led by Bhante Savath from the Cambodian Temple in Ottawa. From the monastic chanting all the way through to the finale – the day unfolds in a majestic way. City Hall is decorated with beautiful artwork, food tables and booths for Asian embassies and other community groups for this celebration of Vesak Day. It is always a stunning day.

Asian Buddhist communities in Ottawa – from Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand – created this Vesak Celebration with Visita Leelaratna organizing the many parts of the day. He is the founder of this celebration. The first Vesak Festival in 2014 received guidance from three spiritual advisors – Master Bon Dat, Bhante Rath Sam and Dharmacharya Ian Prattis. They each come from different Buddhist traditions in Ottawa and three different countries – Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada. They established a common cause to spread the seeds of Buddha Mind across Ottawa by creating an atmosphere of generosity, humility and kindness.

The Vesak and Asian Heritage nature of the event brings messages from the Governor-General, Prime Minister of Canada, and the Mayor of Ottawa. This is a wonderful support for multi-culturalism and interbeing from all levels of government in Canada. The vigorous Lion Dance from the Vietnamese Youth Group always lights up the crowd. A talk on Loving Kindness is offered by the Buddha Meditation Centre in Toronto. Lawrence Greenspon also talks about his tour of Buddhist World Heritage sites in Asia. Connections are made, bridges are crossed and the organizers and audience went home very happy.

Here is some background about Vesak and the Buddha.

Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who lived and taught in India ca. 2,600 years ago. 550 million people in the world identify Buddhism as their religion or way of life.

Vesākha Day is the day Buddhists remember the birth, the enlightenment, and the passing away of the Buddha. The United Nations marks Vesākha Day as an official holiday, worldwide. As Buddhism spread from India, it was adapted to many cultures, and consequently Vesākha Day is celebrated in many different ways in various countries, such as China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Burma, Tibet, Bhutan, Thailand, and Nepal, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama.

Some will visit their local temple before dawn, to raise the official Buddhist flag, which represents a rainbow. Some may bring simple offerings of flowers, candles and incense, which serve as a reminder that just as the beautiful flowers will wither, and the candles burn out, so too is life subject to impermanence. In some countries, birds and animals are released in a symbolic act of liberation. Vesākha Day is therefore a time when we reach out across the various Buddhist traditions to celebrate, and to non-Buddhists to enjoy dialogue and harmony.

And that is what happens in Ottawa City Hall on May 5, 2019!

Greta Thunberg and March 15, 2019

In Sweden 2018, 15 year old Greta Thunberg sat outside the Swedish parliament with her water bottle, books, snacks and a homemade sign “SCHOOL STRIKE FOR CLIMATE.” Every Friday she left her school to do this. She says “No-one was interested, so I had to do it myself.” She was not alone for long. A flyer from her stated: “You grownups don’t give a shit about my future.” Sweden’s newspapers and reporters soon flocked around her. She still strikes every Friday. She spoke at the UN climate talks in Poland and called out world leaders for not being mature enough to tell it like it is. “Even that burden is left to us children” was part of her address to the global business elite at Davos. She even told the EU to double its climate change reduction targets as this would be its fair share of keeping the planet below the dangerous level of global warming. Greta affirmed her stance with a withering Ted Talk in Stockholm that left nothing behind and earned an ovation from a huge audience.

She lit a fuse among young people around the world. And that fuse has brought the EU to institute further steps to reduce Climate Change in Europe. Thousands of students in Europe and over 1,000 cities world-wide joined her “FridaysForFuture” campaign. Her example came amidst very dangerous warnings about climate change. Thunberg remarked that “Change is on the horizon, but to see that change we also have to change.” Thunberg has Asperger’s syndrome. She cites her neuronal structures as providing her single pointed dedication to the issue of Climate Change. She quips, “I see the world kind of black-and-white. Either we go on as a civilization or we don’t.”

This unusual warrior for Climate Change, now 16 years old, deserves the active attention of every adult in the world. She has put out a call for students world-wide to leave their schools on Friday March 15 to “Strike for Climate,” bringing out the determination of young people to force the hand of political change. Her model for this was the Parkland School students in Florida, who walked out of school to protest gun violence. Greta holds the firm desire for global student strikes to be non-violent, with no hate and no damage. She insists that everyone become educated about the Paris Accords, respecting science and personally minimising their carbon footprint. She requests children to do their homework about Climate Change, because most adults have yet to do so.

“Youth Climate Change US” are mobilized to point the Strike right at resistant politicians, demanding that they decarbonize the US economy, and furthermore make legislative action to combat the effects of climate change. The registered Climate strikes are planned in over 90 countries around the planet. Young people see that their present and future on the planet are at stake and they are pulling in university students and women to strike with them.

British PM Theresa May asserted that the school strikes are “wasting lesson time.” Greta’s sharp response was, “Political leaders have wasted 30 years of inaction. And that is slightly worse..” Good bye Theresa May and your ilk! It is apropriate to ignore her, when over 3,000 climate scientists have given their full backing to the strikes. I feel strongly that the response globally to the March 15 strike will be beyond anything we have seen on our planet. Please do your part – Support and Help.

Rainbow Meditation

Meditation at Pine Gate Mindfulness Community

Metaphor is a means for awareness to connect to symbol, so that the spiritual guidance inherent in all that symbolizes the transcendental can be grasped. The metaphor, be it a concept of the Almighty or a symbol for Truth, is an external mental form that corresponds to an internal symbolic structure that is not usually known as personal experience. Meditation places you in a particular energy, or consciousness, that brings forth from the metaphor a personal experience that you integrate with physically. Knowledge is then owned by the body, it does not remain a mere intellectual artifice. In meditation, the focus on a particular metaphor is to bring to the surface specific qualities that are felt as a physical circulation throughout and around your body. Be in this energy in a detached manner so that the qualities of the metaphor become physically encompassed as experience, without any accompanying projections. In this manner the qualities inherent in particular metaphors can eventually be brought into form. These changes create shifts in cognitive/perceptual mind states and permit you to see a larger picture of interconnectedness that was formerly not possible. The Rainbow Meditation may illustrate the experience of metaphor as vibration through the changing focus of colour on the major chakras of the body. Colour addresses all levels of our being, as you will discover when breathing in the rainbow.

Remember that you breathe with your entire body. Accompanying the seven main chakras in this meditation, is attention to particular colours that correspond precisely to each chakra. Each colour represents a tonal chord, or sound current that activate the tonal frequencies of its corresponding chakra. The colour Red is associated with the root chakra at the bottom of the spine; Orange with the chakra located in the sacral region; Yellow with the solar plexus or navel chakra; Green with the heart chakra; Blue with the throat chakra; Indigo with the brow chakra; and Violet and White with the crown chakra. These are experienced in sequence during the Rainbow Meditation.

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Sit comfortably with the spine erect, with your feet firmly connected to the floor. Place your hands either in your lap or upon your knees. Breathe softly into the heart chakra, up to the crown chakra on the in-breath, and on the out-breath take it down to the toes and relax into the quiet calm of meditative silence. Take at least five breaths, and when you feel ready to do so, breathe in through the soles of your feet and bring the colour Red up through your legs and fill your entire body. Breathe gently in and out as you note the physical sensation of vibrant and alive Red, where it circulates through the body and, most important, where it is blocked and does not flow. Now settle in to the experience of Red for five breaths. Then visualize this colour being pushed out of your body, starting from the head and going downwards, so that the colour Red goes out through the soles of the feet into the earth. Once this is done take time to register with the emptiness in the body. Take five breaths and connect to the emptiness and the vastness beyond. Just be with it.

Then breathe the colour Orange in through the soles of your feet and fill the entire body. Breathe gently in and out. As before, note the changes in energy circulation throughout the body. Breathe regularly within the experience of the vibrational frequency of Orange for five breaths. After a time, visualize this colour being pushed out of the body, like a coffee plunger, from the head down through the soles of the feet and into the Earth. Once more register with emptiness in the body for five breaths. Take the time and moment to register with the emptiness and the vastness beyond. Just be with it.

Then breathe the colour Yellow in through the soles of your feet and fill the body with this fresh spring colour. Note the physical changes in bodily sensations associated with Yellow and the navel chakra as you take five breaths. Then, as before, visualize the colour being pushed out of the body through the feet, and once again register with emptiness for five breaths. Take the time and moment to connect to the emptiness and the vastness beyond. Just be with it.

On the next in-breath bring the colour Green directly into the heart chakra, behind the sternum, and from this location flood the body with a lush verdant Green colour. Breathe into this changed frequency for five breaths and take note of your bodily feedback. After a while, visualize Green being pushed out of the body from the head downwards and out through the soles of the feet into the earth. Register with emptiness in the body for five breaths. Take the time and moment to connect to the emptiness and the vastness beyond. Just be with it.

Then breathe the colour Blue into the throat chakra, and flood the entire body with this tonal chord of energy frequencies and stay with it for five breaths. Circulation may be blocked as expression is frequently denied, so focus Blue through a clear crystal, which you visualize in the center of your throat. This may enhance circulation. Note where the colour moves throughout the body, and the corresponding bodily sensations. Breathe regularly into this energy state, and learn about the properties of Blue and of expression. Then push the colour out through the feet and breathe in to the emptiness within the body for another five breaths. Register with emptiness in the body. Take the time and moment to connect to the emptiness and the vastness beyond. Just be with it.

Then bring the colour Indigo directly through the third eye chakra and fill the body with this frequency. Spiritual Insight is frequently subject to blockage, therefore circulation through this chakra may be facilitated by visualizing an Indigo octagon in the middle of the forehead through which the frequency of this colour is drawn in to the body. Register with changing body sensations, and become familiar with the tonal properties of Indigo for five breaths, then push it out of the body through the feet and take note of emptiness within the body. Register with emptiness in the body for five breaths. Take the time and moment to connect to the emptiness and the vastness beyond. Just be with it.

Bring the colour Violet into the body through the crown chakra on the top of your head with the next breath. This circulation can be enhanced by visualizing the crown chakra as a fully opened lotus flower with a thousand petals, through which you draw in the colour Violet. Feel the special quality of Violet extending within the body and wear it lightly as an internal cloak. Breathe regularly five times into this changed energy state and note everything in the body as before. Then push the colour Violet out of the body through the feet into the earth. Feel an intense emptiness within the body. Register with emptiness in the body for five breaths. Take the time and moment to connect to the emptiness and the vastness beyond. Just be with it.

Then breathing with the entire body, fill yourself with brilliant, crystalline White light and breathe regularly in to this new frequency. Do not direct your breath, simply be aware of in-breath and out-breath and the circulation of energy in the body. Remain in this breathing state for ten minutes. When thoughts arise, observe them, but do not participate in them or fuel them with energy. In this way your energy will remain with the experience of the Rainbow Meditation.

At the end of the meditation reflect on the differences felt during the distinct phases of meditation, and contrast the present feeling within the body to your physical state prior to meditation. Reflect on, and discern, the discrete effects and circulation of each colour, and its association with particular chakras and write down your experience or share with a partner. With continued emphasis on this delightful meditation you will feel new and changing connections between chakras. A sense of unification and harmony within all aspects of your being is now possible, as the chakras connect with one another as a single unified energy.

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