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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 26 British had relinquished control of India, self-rule came at the price of a blood bath in which up to a million people may have died. Gandhi spent his last years in contin- ual atonement for this, but it did not defeat him or alter his determination to person- ally push the boundaries of conscious- ness through love and nonviolence. It’s as though he focused on the inner dimensions of this work, trusting the outward results to reflect them for good or ill. What is striking about all this in rela- tion to climate change is its resolute in- wardness. Climate change is the definition of an objective, real-world problem, one that seems to defy real-world solution. Could the key to it lie in an inner reality? The climate movement has much to learn from Gandhi: the supreme efficacy of his tac- tics, the deep personal rectitude demanded of a true satyagrahi, the real-world strategic value of loving one’s opponent (especially given the fact that we are all deeply part of the problem). But more than that, we might learn to reframe the problem in a solvable way if we can expand the boundaries of our consciousness as Gandhi did. Victory on this inner front may be difficult, but if it is con- ceivable, or possible, then so is victory on the outer front of saving the planet. This is a message that the climate move- ment seems ready to hear. As David Orr writes in his recent essay, “At the End of Our Tether: The Rationality of Nonvio- lence,” “The transformative idea of non- violence can no longer be dismissed as an Eastern oddity, an historical aberration, or the height of naiveté. At the end of our tether, it is rather the core of a more real- istic and practical global realism. There is no decent future for humankind without transformation of both our manner of re- lations and our collective relationship with the Earth.” This is an emerging view, but it is also ancient wisdom about the insepa- rability of mindful action and spiritual re- flection, stated in the Bhagavad Gita, quot- ed by Philip Glass in his opera, and lived by Gandhi and his inheritors: “The high estate attained by men of contemplative theory, that same state achieve the men of action. So act as the ancient of days old, perform- ing works as spiritual exercise.” ♦ Do you want leading edge skills to negotiate the challenges you face? Do you want world-class tools to transform conflict? Choose from Three Professional Trainings: Negotiation Build your skills by exploring the interplay between negotiation and teachings of the ancient wisdom traditions. Mediation Harness the power of mediation to help people stuck in conflict to move from impasse to breakthrough. Communication Learn tools for masterful conversations by blending timeless wisdom about right speech with modern best practices for excellence in communication. Register now while spaces last at www.eOmega.org or call 800-944-1001 “A perfect combination of professional skills and a personal journey. Truly exceptional.” – 2007 Participant Global Negotiation Insight Institute October 12-17, 2008 Hosted by Omega Institute, Rhinebeck New York SEPT 18-39.indd 26 SEPT 18-39.indd 26 7/3/08 1:30:06 PM 7/3/08 1:30:06 PM