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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 106 “To meditate is to be innocent of time.” ~ J. Krishnamurti, Meditations For info on Krishnamurti Foundation and free catalogue, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write: KRISHNAMURTI FOUNDATION P.O. BOX 1560-S, OJAI, CA 93024 www.kfa.org KRISHNAMURTI FOUNDATION • RETREATS • EDUCATION • DIALOGUES wrong and what’s right with civilization. Mindfulness-awareness meditation al- lows us to quell the anxious roiling of our mind and to see the world and our- selves in all of their slow-creep splendor. It is precisely the tool to cultivate Homer- Dixon’s “prospective mind,” to help us act “emergently,” and to attune ourselves to the rhythms of our surroundings and our fellow community members. Frankly, it’s hard to conceive of how we can genuinely change our view and way of acting with- out such a discipline. Without it, how, in the face of chaos, uncertainty, and fear, will we not fall back into fighting for dominion over what we imagine to be “our world”? Working with the mind through such practices reveals connectedness and un- locks caring and compassion, which these thinkers say is the very driving force of positive change. When I asked Thomas Homer-Dixon where he finds hope, in spite of his despair about how deeply ingrained our self-defeating habits are, he talked about our children’s children’s children. “We don’t need complete agree- ment on a way forward,” he told me, “but human beings know what they want at bottom. It may sound trite, but across all the divisions of race and ethnicity, religion and civilization, class, caste, and rule, one thing we all agree on is that we care about our kids. We want the best possible future for them and we have a pretty clear conception of what that good future means. It’s not a future full of material stuff, but a future in which our children are secure and safe and can develop their potential and flourish as human beings.” ♦ “The idea is that human beings don’t in some objective fashion passively record an external reality,” says Senge. “When we interact with the world, we create an inter- pretation. If I see someone as a salesperson who just cares about making sales, I don’t say to myself, ‘This person said that, and as a result it got me to assume that this per- son only cares about making sales. That is my interpretation.’ Rather, what I say is, ‘This person doesn’t care about anything but making money,’ and I treat that as if it’s fact. We treat our thoughts as reality, but they’re a constructed and imperma- nent interpretation.” What happens in an organization as a result? We don’t try to verify or adapt, and we may fail to fulfill our mission. This outcome, however, can be avoided through mindfulness practice, which leads us to an understanding of the workings of our own mind and an appreciation of the changing landscape around us, beyond our own interpretation. Mindfulness doesn’t just have advan- tages for the bottom line, however. It brings alertness, relaxation, and a kind of contentment that makes work life more fulfilling and makes it easier for people to work together. According to executive coach and vipassana meditator Amy Fox, an organization that incorporates mind- fulness enjoys psychological, spiritual, and emotional well-being. “Mindfulness,” she says, “creates acuity of presence, acu- ity of decision making, and acuity of col- laboration.” ♦ Mindfulness continued from page 63 compassion. What do you think are the ap- propriate practices for American culture? Well, I’m still learning about American culture, but the best guess I can make at the present time is that recalling kindness is the most important thing. In order for us to have compassion toward all sentient beings, we need to remember their kind- ness. We need to reflect on how they have been kind to us. We can do this by using the example of a mother, a father, a spouse, or anyone who has been kind to us. The main thing is to recall the immediate sources of kindness in our lives so that we come to the appre- ciation that, in the end, all sentient beings have been kind to us. Especially in this twenty-first century, we can see clearly how all beings depend on one another. Whether we’re eating food or putting on clothing or building a home to live in, it’s evident that many different beings participate in sus- taining us. Through interdependence, ev- eryone is kind to us. There is a vast network of interdependence through which we re- ceive the kindness of all sentient beings. Now, you could flip this and think only about suffering. You could think about the difficulties you go through in life and the interdependence of that. You could think to yourself, “Well, all sentient beings are in- volved in the causes of my suffering.” Logi- cally you might have a point, but we have to focus on where there is benefit. There’s no benefit, personally, spiritually, or mentally, in obsessing about how others have caused you suffering. There is a benefit in reflect- ing on how other sentient beings have been kind to you. If you have that appre- ciation, your happiness will increase and your altruistic heart will become stronger. You will have a stronger desire to protect others, and you’ll think more often about helping them. The way to do that is to think about the immediate sources of kindness to you, and then spread that appreciation out to all sentient beings. ♦ His Holiness’ translator for this news conference was Tyler Dewar. The 17th Karmapa continued from page 73 SEPT 100-112.indd 106 SEPT 100-112.indd 106 7/3/08 1:35:54 PM 7/3/08 1:35:54 PM