Zen Center

It was the Fall of 1994 and Claire had just returned from a visit to Atlanta where she had been reintroduced to old friends in the Atlanta Soto Zen Center and had spent a few hours meditating there over the weekend. Her description of and enthusiasm for the newly-discovered Zen Center dropped like a hot coal in my mind.
Giana and I had been living in Jesup, Georgia for some five years then, and we had been friends with Claire since she and her husband Neill had moved to Jesup about a year after we did. We had hit it off immediately and become best friends, especially as Claire became our doctor and delivered our daughter, Liana.

We shared lots of interests and values with Claire and Neill, but somehow the topic of Buddhism had never come up –we didn’t talk about religion or spirituality at all as I recall. We were all pretty much socialist and materialist in our life philosophies — one reason we hit it off so well in a small south Georgia town where to express such ideas was a sure path to social ostracism. In fact, in Jesup, the first question you’re most likely to be asked upon being introduced to someone is: Where do you go to church?

So we had become fast friends with Claire and Neill, and no one had ever noticed my half-carved Buddha statue sitting in the living room, nor had my quiet interest in Buddhism ever come up in conversation.
But when Claire told me about re-connecting with a friend from Emory University days who had for several years been leading a Zen meditation center in the Candler Park area of Atlanta, I pointed out my rude sculpture to her and told her of my early Buddhist experiences in Thailand, and my continuing interest in Zen. I think I was in the midst of reading Suzuki Roshi’s little book at the time, and was still trying to sit every now and then, so I was ready for the news that there was somewhere I could go for serious Zen.

And more than ready for someone to share it with. Claire had brought home chant sheets from Zen Center, and she and I began doing little meditation sessions in the under-construction second floor of their house, which I was helping Neill build. Of course, I didn’t journal during much of this, so the details and sequence are pretty cloudy for me now 24 years later. I did write in August of 1993: “…I know clearly that I am on the Path now. Consistent sitting (inspired by Claire’s jump into Zen and the legitimization in Giana’s eyes that Claire gives it) has made me sure of the Buddhism that I embraced those years ago when my Thai friend said, ‘Buddha say, just enough!’”

And it wasn’t long before I went with Claire to Atlanta for a weekend sesshin. That first day in the little Candler Park zendo, October 2, 1993, sitting on those black cushions facing the old granite walls of the converted gas station, is very clear in my memory. I remember the slight apprehension as I removed my shoes in the tiny, quiet foyer formed by old windows with white panes, the smell of the incense, and the black backs of the motionless meditators around the walls as I followed Claire to a vacant cushion.
Settling in to my cushion I remember a deep sense of gratitude and wonder at the opportunity to be there, actually sitting with a group of people doing Zen meditation.

For years, I had assumed that such things only happened in faraway places, and that seven years in a monastery in Japan was pretty much the only model for finding enlightenment. Now here I was in the midst of clearly serious Zen practice, only a few hours from home.
I spent most of that first day with tears rolling down my cheeks as I sat and breathed, walked and chanted. In my journal that night, I wrote: “I have wanted to do this for so long, and despaired of ever having the opportunity, so the reality is very sweet.”

I also discovered the Heart Sutra and quickly came to love it. The group chanting, and later my own chanting of it, seemed to open up meaning in the ancient words that a simple reading of it might not reveal. I had long loved the Buddhist sutras, since my introduction to them in the university class in Kansas City, but this was my first experience with how their use in meditative chanting revealed deeper meanings.

So the Heart Sutra and other chants became a part of my regular practice, one that has held up through the years since as a profound comfort through the difficult times of my life.

I think the most important effect from finding Zen Center and a zen buddy was that I began, really for the first time, consistent sitting. I began sitting on our screen porch, because there I could set up my cushion and a little altar and it wasn’t in anyone’s way — or in anyone’s face. I could pop in, sit for a few minutes, and move on with little wasted time. I was teaching school then, so I had a regular daily schedule and could work in one or two sittings each day fairly easily. I found that even a few minutes in the morning helped my school day — engaging with middle schoolers is not easy — go much more smoothly and I was much less affected by the stress of the job.

Surprisingly, my entry into open Zen practice also proved to be a very positive influence in the development of a better spiritual relationship with my mother.

As I mentioned in the chapter on Daddy and the problems we had surrounding my resistance to the Vietnam War, my mother and I had long been on a close spiritual path in many ways, and she understood my pacifism and the need to part ways with the Air Force. But she never had been able to accept my negative ideas about Christianity and my refusal through the years — despite the brief flirtation with the church in Missouri — to find an adult acceptance of “Jesus as my savior”. My mother’s personal faith was a profoundly spiritual version of Christianity, one that I deeply respected, and she was never a “hide-bound” Christian, to use a term she employed. She would have likely been run out of the southern Baptist church she attended had the folks there known the depth to which her differences with their theology extended, but her faith and love were so strong, shone out so clearly from her great, great soul, that no one ever suspected her heresies.
Because she was able to transcend what she saw as the human limitations in the Christian religion, she thought I should be able to do the same, and we had never quite seen eye-to-eye on any of it, especially as she was so acutely aware of the suffering I experienced without a truly liberating spiritual life.

My formal, open entry into Buddhism, while not what she would have preferred for me, was positive for Mother because it made me a happier and more balanced person. She could see that, and for her that was strong evidence in its favor, despite her differences with the beliefs and practices. So our relationship steadily began to improve and we began to be able to have meaningful discussion about spiritual matters.
Though I didn’t really talk about it a lot, I did “come out” as Buddhist to my family — and eventually to my students — with no negative responses. I even made it through that first Christmas with my siblings at Mom’s house smoothly, despite the fact that some of my siblings are toward the fundamentalist side of the Christian religion.

My wife, Giana, was supportive of all these changes, though she wasn’t too sure about it all, and didn’t have any interest at the time in Buddhism or in taking up the practice of meditation. She was, to my great relief, fine with my going off on weekends with our friend Claire for retreats, and fine with holding meditations in the loft of her pottery shop, even supportive of my setting up meditation areas in the bedroom when it got too cold out on the screen porch for sitting.

The next summer, I went off for a week-long retreat at Southern Dharma, this time by myself, and she was very supportive of that as well.

She was fine with most of it because she too could see that it was good for me. I was easier to get along with and less prone to the depression and anger that plagued me after beginning the regular practice.
But it didn’t fix everything.

 

(This post also appears here as a Page in the sequential section as 17.)

No Hope, No Fear

Hope.

We all need hope.

Or so we think, and so we are told by everyone from politicians and salesmen to preachers.

But Buddhist teachers, notably Chogyam Trungpa and his student Pema Chodron, say that hope steals from us the only thing we really ever have: the present moment.

Hope is almost universally regarded as a positive idea, indeed as essential to our happiness and mental health, and its opposite, hopelessness — being ‘without hope’ or ‘beyond hope’ as it is often encoded in our language — is considered the realm of despair and fear, the sign of depression and despair, utter psychological desolation. In most popular psychological literature, the work of self-help gurus, and other widely read and highly regarded sources on the subject (not to mention TV melodrama, which thrives on the ‘hopes and dreams’ genre), hope is offered as the solution to depression, a remedy for feelings of worthlessness or frustration, the drug of choice for conditions of poverty and oppression, the ultimate ‘feel-good’ answer.

Hope, however, is highly overrated.

I say this often to folks, and without fail I get disbelief and scoffing, confusion or anger in response.

I’m usually unable to explain in a satisfactory way why I think hope is not what it’s cracked up to be, so I’ve been going back into the writings of Pema Chodron and the pithy slogans of the Lojong — that wonderful group of teachings from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition related in Chogyam Trungpa’s book Training the Mind — to try to sort out for myself, and perhaps explain for whoever might occasionally read this blog, why “no hope/no fear” is the better part of wisdom.

First, a simple statement of the essential thing here: hope is always based on the idea that things, oneself, conditions, should be other than they are. This assumption clouds our ability to see that true happiness, joy, and contentment come through acceptance.

It is critical at this point to make clear that, at least as far as I understand it, I’m speaking of this on the personal level, not the social level. As a socialist/anarcho/syndicalist, I’m committed to the idea of social betterment, working and planning to make the social conditions that prevail in our world better for everyone on the material plane. I don’t advocate accepting how things are organized in a world that is clearly run on the principal of violent domination and oppression of others as the path to material success. I have hope that this condition in the world can be changed, as a rational approach seems to require that we believe in the possibility of change for the better. This is ‘hope’ simply defined as seeing that something is possible and thus being willing to make efforts toward it.

The ‘hope’ that I consider to be highly overrated, and in fact a detriment to happiness, is that hope which posits that one’s personal happiness is dependent on the external conditions in which one finds oneself, and thus concludes that the only path to joy and peace is for things to change in our surroundings. I’m certainly not saying that one should not work to improve the conditions of one’s life, I’m simply saying that to conclude that such improvements are the necessary and sufficient path to joy and happiness is an error of strategy and a path to perpetual dissatisfaction. Once we decide that things being better in our external conditions will make us happy, we will always find things that need to be ‘better’ in order to maximize our happiness.

As Janis Joplin sang in “Work Me Lord”, “The worst you can say about me is that I’m never satisfied!”

For most of us, that’s the essential problem. We never have enough of whatever it is we think we need to be happy.

So the true solution, the true path to happiness, is not hoping that things will get better, or even working to make them better because we ‘haven’t lost hope.’

No, the true path to happiness, or better, joy and contentment, is learning to see that what we have is really enough. What we need is the clarity of mind to accept ourselves as we are, without that nagging feeling that we’re just not good enough, just not strong enough, just not whatever-it-is-that’s-lacking-this-moment enough — and that as soon as we get that, we’ll be fine.

A basic teaching on this comes in Lojong #15, “Four practices are the best of methods.” One of those ‘best practices’ is, as Trungpa says, just let it be without scheming to get pleasure and avoid pain. There is much in these teachings about flipping the normal human proclivity to seek pleasure, avoid pain. It’s built into our program by the evolutionary journey, so it’s not a “wrong” thing, it’s just that it doesn’t work very well when it comes to developing into a spiritually mature, compassionate person. If we were still out there on the edge of the forest scrabbling with the little beasts for carrion, it would make sense. In our world, it’s counter-productive. In fact, it’s precisely the program that has produced this world of violence and oppression, so there’s probably a very good argument to be made that giving up hope and fear is the best way to elevate society to a more humane, fair and compassionate state.

Most of the talks in Pema’s book When Things Fall Apart are permeated with the notion of ‘no hope/no fear’, and her book The Wisdom of No Escape is specifically dedicated to this idea. It’s important to understand that in all of this, there’s no sense of this being what one “should” do. It’s rather offered in the spirit that if one finds one’s mind turning to the dharma, turning to the path of compassion, here is some heart advice on how to make that happen in your life.

So if you don’t like the idea of giving up hope and fear, truck on down that road. When life turns you around, perhaps you’ll come back to these teachings with a new openness, a new willingness to see how it plays out in your life.

In a chapter in WTFA titled “Hopelessness and Death”, Pema says:

To undo our very ancient and very stuck habitual patterns of mind requires that we begin to turn around some of our most basic assumptions. Believing in a solid, separate self, continuing to seek pleasure and avoid pain, thinking that someone “out there” is to blame for our pain — one has to get totally fed up with these ways of thinking. One has to give up hope that this way of thinking will bring us satisfaction. Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide.

A little further on in the book, she says:

Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment.

[I will continue with a second installment on this theme in a couple of days — I hope! :)]

[And I have! Hope rewarded! Next]

Metta for All Beings

In these dark times, times that demand such awareness and commitment to strong action, we need to build each others’ heart strength for the suffering we will encounter, for the hard work we will do, for the long struggle we must endure.

One way of building this strength is to send out heart-felt messages to others, spoken and unspoken messages that come from the meditative state and have power to spread encouragement and support. In some Buddhist traditions, this process is known as metta, which is usually translated ‘loving kindness’, but goes far beyond that when part of a deep practice of compassion and compassionate action.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel composed this poem, whose words speak to us so strongly in light of recent words and actions, in the spirit of that powerful form of metta:

 

For All Beings

May all beings be cared for and loved,

Be listened to, understood and acknowledged despite different views,

Be accepted for who they are in this moment,

Be afforded patience,

Be allowed to live without fear of having their lives taken away or their bodies violated.

May all beings

Be well in its broadest sense,

Be fed,

Be clothed,

Be treated as if their life is precious,

Be held in the eyes of each other as family.

May all beings

Be appreciated,

Feel welcomed anywhere on the planet,

Be freed from acts of hatred and desperation including war, poverty, slavery, and street crimes,

Live on the planet, housed and protected from harm,

Be given what is needed to live fully, without scarcity,

Enjoy life, living without fear of one another,

Be able to speak freely in a voice and mind of undeniable love.

May all beings

Receive and share the gifts of life,

Be given time to rest, be still, and experience silence.

May all beings

Be awake.

The poem was published in Turning Wheel by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship in 2009. May it be spoken, heard, understood and enacted throughout the world.

Metta!

Go Cubbies! Baseball lives!

The Cubs win in the World Series was more than just a win for the Cubs team, organization, and fans, it was a win for real honest-to-goodness baseball.
Democratic baseball, as Kinsella called it, baseball that is won by a team working together, chipping out hits, walks, runs, and outs inning by inning. Not won by one or two superstars blasting grand slams and homeruns – though they did have a grand slam in game 6.
Take a look at the score card on game 7. Eight runs on 13 hits, with RBI for eight batters. In other words, every Cubs run was batted in by a different player. In 39 at-bats, they got 13 hits and four walks, with only five strikeouts. Every batsman except one (Heyward, who had a great night in right field) got either a hit or a SF. That’s good baseball at the plate.
They turned some beautiful double plays, made some great pickoffs, and generally through the series played excellent, sharp baseball on the field – with a few notable exceptions by young players trying too hard to do too much under the pressure of  must-win playoff games. The pitching was not always blow-your-eyebrows off stuff, but it was work that relied on the catchers and the other infielders to do their jobs well. And they did. Consistently. Good solid baseball.
Baseball that makes one believe in the virtue of sport, in the value of any human activity undertaken with conviction and heart. Baseball that plays out that one great theme of all literature, that great theme of our lives: the luminous possibility of redemption by the power of the human spirit.

…why the Otherworld is just as real as this one

Thanks to my friend Melissa, I’ve just been reading a most amazing blog, Dr. Sharon Blackie’s “Myths and Metamorphoses“. I’m still processing the most recent entry — “The psychology of mythology: or, why the Otherworld is just as real as this one” — but I’m astounded at how similar much of what she says is to the ideas in Spooky Action… the book on quantum entanglement and non-locality!
Dr. Blackie says:

“.. And so, in Corbin’s expression of this ancient Sufi philosophy, the material world which we take as real is in fact totally enveloped by a spiritual reality which influences (or perhaps even determines) it.

How similar to non-locality! Dr. Blackie, who is part of the Celtic culture, continues:

“…the forms and figures which occupy the mundus imaginalis have a real – and the key point here is that ‘reality’ is not just restricted to the material – presence. The mundus imaginalis is the place from where all spiritual and transcendent experience derives. It is the source of synchronicities, ‘psychic’ experiences and creative insights. This world penetrates into our dreams and other visionary experiences, including the places we visit during deep meditation or imaginal journeying.”

“… in most conceptions of the Otherworld in Irish and Welsh literature, the normal rules of existence do not apply: time passes differently, for example, and the seasons may be inverted.”

Time passes differently in all these instances of non-local action, and in fact some quantum researchers think this implies that time is imaginary. Compare this quote from Tim Maudlin in Musser’s book:

“I always thought, and still do, that the discovery and proof of the nonlocality is the single most astonishing discovery of twentieth-century physics,” says Tim Maudlin, a professor at New York University and one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics. In a paper in the late 1990s, he summed up the implications: “The world is not just a set of separately existing localized objects, externally related only by space and time. Something deeper, and more mysterious, knits together the fabric of the world. We have only just come to the moment in the development of physics that we can begin to contemplate what that might be.”

In other word, the normal rules do not apply. Realizing that “locality” is the aspect of our conventional reality that is essential to our very existence, as we understand it, to the notion that we are each separate with “space” between us, consider this: Mosser says, “In the instances of nonlocality I’ve talked about so far, space is failing in its most basic function: to separate things from one another, to space them out. Entangled particles coordinate their behavior without exchanging signals through space. Matter falls into a black hole and manages to climb out of the abyss of space. Galaxies look alike across an unbridgeable gulf of space.”

All of this is not mere speculation. It is based on solid, mainstream scientific experimentation. Real data shows that particles, once together, are forever entangled. Regardless of time, space, or distance.

Entangled particle behave like two coins that always end up the same, either heads or tails, when flipped. Always. In experiments. And this transcends just particles at the quantum level. Mosser again:

“Once physicists were clued in to the importance of entanglement, they began to see it almost everywhere they looked. It occurs even in living organisms. In photosynthesis, entanglement accounts for the unexpectedly high efficiency with which molecules transfer light energy into chemical energy, thereby helping to enable life on our planet.”

Compare again to Dr. Blackie:

“Why does all of this this matter? It matters for a very simple reason: because our relationship with the Otherworld determines what happens in this world. The Otherworld was the source of inspiration, insight, and knowledge. …

It was from the Otherworld that Sovereignty arose, a quality of the goddess of the land who was its guardian and protector, a deeply ecological force. … If the power she bestowed was abused, then we invited disaster. During the reign of a king favoured by the goddess, the land was fertile and prosperous, and the tribe was victorious in war.”

Mythological expressions of an underlying reality that is intricately connected with our everyday apparent reality.

Musser: “Quantum nonlocality is clearly not just a dinner act in Vegas, but an essential aspect of the world, and physicists and philosophers still don’t know what is behind the magic. Could the clues they seek lie in other domains of science? What can they learn from the other types of nonlocality that are out there in the world?”

Indeed. Or perhaps these clues lie in other domains altogether. Domains long known and understood by the peoples of the world, and embedded in the myths and magics that make up the lore of every culture.

Dr. Blackie ends with this: “We ignore it at our peril.”

Separation…

My friend Gareth has a great post this week that I wanted to share… it’s a sweet and deep look at how we suffer from this oh-so-human condition: separation.

“But the other side of these stories of identity is that they cause separation.”

In his essay “Mind creates the abyss, heart crosses it” Gareth gets at the central issues we face on a daily basis… our tendency to think we can mentally construct happiness for ourselves. But just read what he has to say… it’s good!

Gareth always has something worthwhile to say, and I would recommend regular reading – but this one is particularly poignant, at least to me, so I hope you’ll find it meaningful, and consider signing on for his blog as well…

Mind Creates The Abyss….The Heart Crosses It

A Reclamation of the Divine Feminine – Nicole Barrett

This paper is so wonderful and deeply insightful, and it seems few have noticed it, so I’m posting it again with better tags!

….

A Reclamation of the Divine Feminine:

Developing an International Spiritual Ecology Center for Women

Written by Nicole S. Barrett for a graduate degree from Portland State University, the paper lays out Nicole’s vision for an educational center to help women discover their connection with their own powerful intuition and with the natural world – which are essentially the same thing – and provides a beautifully presented case for the recovery in our society of a central leadership role for women — and men –who are strongly grounded in the feminine and bring to their leadership the deep intuitive wisdom, the “ability to trust one’s internal voice,” that includes. (Most of our women leaders today are  simply women who have learned to ‘get along’ in the patriarchy.)

Nicole was also a student and a teacher at the Buddhist Education for Social Transformation training, and was killed in an accident in Thailand. My friend Maia Duerr, who conducts the BEST school, has started a scholarship fund in honor of Nicole to help other women carry on her work. The Indiegogo link above gives more details on Nicole and the fund.The paper is a wonderful statement of the connections among ecological awareness, spirituality, feminism, social activism, and peace building. It also articulates very well several critical points about what’s going on in our world today. It is well worth reading. Following are a few excerpts from Nicole’s paper, which I hope will inspire you to read the whole thing:

“…all life has value, and not only is all life valuable, but it is also interconnected and interdependent. Western culture is relentless in its pursuit to colonize our minds, convincing us that we should bow down to the holy idea that “independence” equals freedom and “dependence” equals weakness. These oppressive social constructs, which our capitalist society depend on, violate all principles of social sustainability.

Attitudinal norms imposed by colonialism and modern industrialization not only encourage human behaviors which are unsustainable and devoid of spiritual concern, but they also compel us to create great suffering for ourselves and other beings of the world.

To generate ecological and spiritual healing, it is imperative that all people, not just women, bring the feminine and the masculine back into balance both personally and collectively. Although there are drawbacks to using the seemingly dichotomous terms of “masculine” and “feminine,” for the sake of clarity in this paper it is useful to do so (see Appendix A for a chart describing these terms). Rather than view them as opposing forces, they can be understood as complementary aspects of a whole.

Ecofeminism unites ecology and feminism, exploring the interconnections between male domination over women and domination of nature

Women’s intuition is linked to nature, and because women have been taught that intimacy with nature is morally suspect, they are often suspicious of themselves (Reeves, 1999; Starhawk, 2004; Gomes & Kanner, 1995). This ability to trust one’s internal voice is, (Baxter Magolda,2008) arguably, the single most important factor in being an authentic leader.

As Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh (2013) plainly states, “A spiritual revolution is needed if we’re going to confront the environmental challenges that face us” (p. 28). The burgeoning field of spiritual ecology “acknowledges the critical need to recognize and address the spiritual dynamics at the root of environmental degradation,” (“About Spiritual Ecology,” 2013) and promotes the idea that creation is sacred and should be honored (Macy, 2007). Martinez (2008) agrees, arguing that, “The greatest healing that needs to be done is the healing of the European idea of the separation of people from nature” (p. 107). Sustainability leadership models (Burns, 2011; Wheatley, 2006; Ferdig, 2007) counter mainstream pedagogies by offering collaborative, reflective strategies for those interested in sharing spiritual ecology values. Non-formal learning organizations can offer conducive spaces for workshops or other experiential learning activities aimed at women who want to begin or deepen their practice as eco-spiritual leaders.

In the Portland, Oregon metro area, there are numerous businesses and nonprofits that offer yoga or other spiritual practice, but they tend to focus solely on inner healing while disregarding social activism or engagement with their community. Conversely, the city is also home to many activist organizations who may dedicate themselves to social justice or sustainability causes, but whom lack spiritual practice or tools for self-care. In order to empower women to rise up as global eco-spiritual leaders, there must be non-formal educational opportunities for them to experience personal transformation and healing while developing practical skills they can use as active change agents in their communities. I propose the creation of an International Spiritual Ecology Center for Women in the Portland area. The center will incorporate a transformative and holistic educational “model in which participants use head, heart, hands, and —this will be a space where women (and their allies) from across the globe can gather to reconnect with their body’s intuitive wisdom, deepen their spiritual practice, and collaboratively cultivate tools for non-violent activism.

The work of The International Spiritual Ecology Center for Women is grounded in four core values: spiritual ecology, feminism, social activism, and spiritual practice. … We embody our guiding principles and values through the use of methodologies that reflect power sharing, respect for diversity, non-violent conflict resolution, unlearning internalized patriarchy, holistic, experiential learning, simplicity, and the combination of personal practice with social transformation

In most pre-industrial communities, female spiritual leaders in the forms of herbalists, midwives, and traditional healers were commonplace, and through embodied learning, these women seamlessly knew how to weave the sacredness of nature into their practices of medicine and magic (Reeves; Starhawk, 1999). Reeves notes that these leaders were, “out of necessity, steeped in an intimate knowledge of the Earth, of herbs, the mysteries of childbirth, and the ecological cycles of renewal” (p. 7). Nature, spirituality, and intuition were deeply intertwined. You could say that women were fully connected to the powerful Divine Feminine. spirit (intellectual, emotional, kinesthetic, and spiritual modalities) in the learning process” (IWP, 2013)

“[Its] Gaia consciousness.”

Many eco-spiritual leaders believe we are on the brink of a spiritual paradigm shift, sometimes called “The Great Turning,” (Macy,1998) which will lead our world back into a state of equilibrium. A collective surrender to the elements found in the archetype of the Divine Feminine is what may lead us on this healing path. These elements include silence, mercy, empathy, collaboration, creativity, diversity, and receptivity, “the set of qualities that are systematically devalued in patriarchy” (Gomes & Kanner, p. 119).

In essence, the Divine Feminine is our intuition. “Intuition has been described as the capacity to sense messages from our internal store of emotional memory – our own reservoir of wisdom and judgment” Despite the many claims emphasizing the importance of intuition in effective leadership … there is very little to no help on how to nurture this way of knowing.

…the Witch Persecutions, their essential body-held wisdom and animate worldview now held under contempt — Black midwives and healers used their knowledge of plant medicine and magic to treat ailments in their communities, sometimes as a form of resistance against slave owners (Fett, 2002). Many white male doctors were threatened by the midwives’ high rates of success,…

Mainstream educational environments are largely unfit for this kind of healing work as it requires flexible time for emotional reconciliation, deep spiritual reflection, and practice.

Kumar (2004): “Pure rationalism is in itself violence of the mind. Rationalism by its nature cuts through, separates, divides, isolates. This is not to say that rationality has no place in our lives. It has. But it should be kept in its place, and not given an exaggerated status in our society. Rationality tempered with feelings and intuitions of the heart, in yin-yang balance, can create a culture of non-violence, wholeness and compassion…”‘