By accepting the truth about myself and my actions, I am moving towards a more honest and whole life. Though painful, it is important that I see the impact of my own choices (for example, I must understand that the clothes I just bought at the store are made by workers in developing countries who are often underpaid and working in unsafe factory environments). Once I understand this impact, I can let it hurt me and let it change me. I can let it illuminate my darkness, broaden my understanding, and deepen my love. For honesty’s sake, I need to see my own desire for material gain, and how I sometimes place it above the well-being of the world’s most vulnerable. This is the tension that, should I choose to bear it, will transform me.
[Alumnus, Nate Petersen, is hitting the road, continuing a spiritual pilgrimage that he finds best served by hitchhiking. Recently he was interviewed on “Your Story with Melinda.” Among the nuggets he shared was this:]
When we bask in paradox, it’s an opportunity to continue learning. It’s not the end of the road. There is not that certain period at the end of the sentence. It’s more of a … and then we can continue the sentence and build and learn and grow in this wonderful, spiritual experience of life.
I think that what we’re longing for is to be taught a tradition that can help us to live in that tension.
[the first of three posts suggesting that we need to wake up in order to see that the current path to globalization is neither life-giving nor inevitable]:
The experience of Ladakh convinced me that the primary cause of our crises is neither human nature nor evolution, but rather a relentlessly expanding economic system that is steamrolling both people and the planet. Unfortunately, this system has grown so large that it has become difficult to recognize it as human-made: the tendency is to view it instead as some kind of irresistible evolutionary force. Only by stepping back and looking at the big picture can we discern the links between the global economic system and the problems we face. This broader view makes it clear that what we need to change is policies and human institutions, not the nature of our species or evolution. We can also see that the most effective way to alleviate a whole range of seemingly disparate symptoms – from deforestation to pollution, from poverty to ethnic conflict – is to change the dominant economy. Most important of all, countering the pressures that separate us from one another and the natural world would resonate with our deeper human needs, contributing to our well-being, to our happiness.
– Helen Norberg-Hodge, Ancient Futures: Lessons from the Ladakh for a Globalizing World (2009)
[This afternoon is the book launch of SSU Field Notes: A Collected Memoir on Canada’s Smallest University. This quote is from an interview with Peter Fitch on what has kept SSU alive]:
…[T]here were two things that have changed us: one is this determination that we could be led intuitively or spiritually. The other thing is that I, maybe more than anybody else, have a complete conviction that each new generation of students has a voice that’s been changing this place….
I think that’s what has changed us. Internally, listening to silence. And listening to students. That’s why this place isn’t stagnant…. The people are changing, the ideas are changing, and to me, it feels like a situation of perpetual growth. I hope that’s true.
– Peter Fitch, from SSU Field Notes (2015)
“…every time there are losses there are choices to be made. You choose to live
your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression and resentment, or
you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider,
and deeper.The question is not how to avoid loss and make it not happen, but how to choose it as a passage, as an exodus to greater life and freedom.”
– Henri Nouwen, Finding My Way Home