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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 105 I have walked around the site with Amy, marveling at the care and foresight shown in so many details. Amy describes the vi- sion of living close to the land on what it produces. She grounds this vision solidly in ecological principles, looking clear-eyed at a warming planet. She doesn’t exhort the students; she just shares what she knows about sustainable practices and how to plan for a green future. It is obvious that she is extending an invitation to the green lifeway to everyone in the room. Afterward the students come down and mob her with questions, eager to learn more. If you find you are revising your priori- ties to reflect your environmental concerns and seeking out friendships that support your environmental priorities, you may see that something significant has shifted in your depth of commitment. Thinking about the Earth is no longer something you do now and then; it has become a way of life. Non-harming and systems thinking have become second nature to you. In ev- ery situation you look for the green alter- native that makes the most environmental sense. Because this is a way of life, you feel morally obliged to look at every aspect of your food choices, your buying patterns, your energy use, your civic contributions to greening your community. There is no single lifeway to hold up conveniently as a gold standard. You do not necessarily have to be a vegan or vegetarian, or live off-grid or in a green-built house, or have a job influencing environmental pol- icy. You do not have to drive a hybrid car, grow a garden, or wear organic clothing. What marks the green lifeway is not spe- cific choices but depth of commitment and intention. The person in this stage of the practice path takes it very seriously, ques- tioning the impacts of their actions in all and privilege in perpetuating environ- mental damage and inequity. In the last few years the global conversa- tion has shifted to focus on the impacts of climate change. All other environmental work seems to be subsumed or compared to the call to “do something” about climate change. Many of us find ourselves falling short in knowledge or skill to respond to this call and per- plexed at how to shift personal priorities. Reflecting on the Big Picture of climate change, peak oil, and the exploding de- mand for resources is very un- settling. It is a time of great fo- ment, with many ideas surfac- ing, many big conversations at play that will affect all of us. We are all being invited into this second stage of the practice path, with no time to waste. TAKING UP THE PATH For some people, certainly not all, there will be a third stage of the green practice path. At this point the practice becomes a “life- way.” In Native American traditions, people speak of everyday practice and culture fused into a way of life, something practiced by the whole community. The lifeway includes ethics, spirituality, social mores, and a deeply tested way of doing things that makes sense. A lifeway is not a religion; it is not some- thing you can adopt or be baptized into. A lifeway is also not an identity, in the sense of ethnic or political identity. A lifeway is a way of being in the world that carries strong in- tention and shared wisdom. People who fol- low a shared lifeway help each other develop this wisdom and the strength to persevere under duress. To introduce my class to this idea of life- way, I invite my friend Amy Seidel to visit as a colleague and role model. Amy is the director of Teal Farm, a demonstration site in north- ern Vermont for living sustainably in the fu- ture. Each year she gives us a progress report on developments at the farm. Plantings have been designed with a warming climate in mind; the system of solar and micro-hydro sources is set up to feed energy back into the grid. In the main house there are facilities for bulk food preservation and storage. The green practice path will be fraught with difficulty; the obstacles are every- where. We will all be called to deepen our green commitment to be ready for the complexities, the impossibilities, the world as we can’t yet imagine it. 800.794.9862 www.dharmacrafts.com Free gift! Order online using keycode MTSS Dharma The Catalog of Meditation Supplies Intr oducing the Digital Meditation Timer Compact, elegant design. State-of-the-art technology. Create your own sequences of timed intervals for sitting & walking meditation or yoga. A Zen circle brush stroke is slowly drawn on the face of the clock, providing a relaxing visual cue of time elapsed. • Choose from several soothing Tibetan bell or Japanese gong tones • Use as a countdown timer, clock, and/or alarm • Create & store up to 3 timed sequences with up to 50 timed intervals within each sequence • Digital mechanism requires no adjustments or tuning. Easy to program and use! Perfect for travel. 3 3⁄4" dia. Carrying case and 2 AAA batteries included. Item #3047 $99.00