Saturday 17 November 2012

Practicing Peace in times of War - An open letter to Israeli and Palestinian Doves of Peace

To Israeli and Palestinian Doves of Peace,

When all around you are losing their heads and you stay connected to your heart, it is a torturous time. But I am so thankful you stay connected. Even though I have not met as many of you as there are I wish to offer my sympathy, empathy and compassion for the pain this must cause you.
The energy put into war mongering at this time looks to be paying off, with what appears to be a majority support for killing and destruction within your society. You are not to blame for this, and it is not your responsibility to change it. But feel fully supported to try, to follow any idea through any peaceful means that might just work. 

The world we live in is not guided towards peace. This is but one reason to not judge those who fall to the strong seduction of war. We may be looking for peace more than ever before, but for every dollar spent by the UN on finding peace, $2,000 is spent by UN member countries on developing their war machines. And sadly yet unsurprisingly, 4 out of the 5 members of the UN Security Council are the largest weapons manufacturers on the planet.

It may be that this war in Gaza is no accident, but part of a cynical plan to strengthen the right wing in Israel. How many times does such an event happen before an election or when there is strong opposition? The situation in Gaza before the recent devastating bombings was terrible, not to say that firing rockets is justified, it is at least understandable. Israel’s retaliation as always is extreme and terrific, and, if not aimed at escalation, is simply idiotic.

That in the face of all this you continue to wish for peace is admirable. Whether the present situation energises you or depletes you, know that that is OK. Whether you feel hope or despair makes only a slight difference. For what you are working towards is not dependent on anything. The very next thing you do can be an act of peace, and peace will be manifest. It can be towards yourself, and why shouldn’t it be. It can be towards a loved one, that can only help surely. Or it can be for someone who you do not presently feel love, and they could probably really do with it.

It is not up to you to solve this problem in the world. It is up to all of us wherever we are to not support it. What form this takes will be divulged by the individual consciousness that guides your heart. You will know what you will do. This is not a path that is laid out on a map and can be followed by a memorised intelligence. This is a path that is seen only once it is created. It is created by the next right thing, one step at a time. It is appropriate to the moment, for it is the moment that creates it. This is not some airy excuse for inaction, inaction will not help. But neither does it exclude the possibility that it may be absolutely right to get enough rest, do something for oneself or focus on something other than the terrible things that are happening.

For those that can, or feel moved to, wherever they are, this is a time to practice peace. We could say that peace begins within if it were not, in reality, always present, like silence supporting all sounds. Peace is within, presently covered in layers of thoughts, feelings and emotions. One very effective way of accessing this inner peace is through meditation. But anything that works is the right thing to use. 

Meditation is the practice of letting things settle. As a muddy pool of water left unstirred will clear as the mud settles to the bottom, so too will our mind and in this way we can reach Peace. This can be so helpful when we are feeling burnt out, lost or incapacitated by despair.

To be clear, meditation is not about retreating from the world, turning your back on suffering, or becoming free for one’s own benefit. It is about gathering ourselves together from our greatest depths that we may bring into being, through our own actions, the type of world our hearts tell us is possible.

This Peace we find within is eternally available, it is beyond even self-sustainment. I hope you will find your way there, and that you will manifest it in the world. Peace is possible, even when it looks improbable.

If you are interested in finding support to practice this simple art of meditation contact Engaged Dharma at and if they cannot help you directly they will connect you with the right people. Their Hebrew language blog can be found at They offer actions from the heart, engagement in dharma, and acts of peace in times of war.

In Peace, Nathan
Photos from SanghaSeva's Being Peace 2008

Wednesday 22 February 2012

War, what is it good for?

In this episode of the blog I wish to look into whether there are justifiable uses of force and to explore this issue by analysing the environmental implications of war, the psychological impact on the people involved on all sides, and looking into whether there are circumstances when we can ethically support violence.

Wars are the embodiment of all possible destructive forces that humans can channel, and modern warfare has taken us to new levels of devastation. There are few species on the planet that kill its own kind, and none that do so in such a systematic manner as we humans are doing currently. Perhaps the systematic manner that our waring species executes its killing is what creates such wide spread and ongoing repercussions.

There have been wars raging across the face of the planet continuously for a long time, and as time moves forward the destructive power of the human race increases exponentially. Yet, against what we may instinctively feel, there are less people involved and directly affected by war than ever before. That we are in a more peaceful time for much of the world’s population is an inspiration to continue this trend and include more and more people, animals and nature. (Source: Steven Pinker - The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.)

A great deal of violence and murder are happening in the world right now, especially in the Middle East and Africa. Syria is undergoing a very difficult transition from dictatorship to something new. People are being killed by snipers (people with long range guns) from the roof tops as they protest against their unelected overlords. This is a situation so far from normal, for many of us, that imagining the thoughts and feelings of either side is difficult.

Despite the difficulty maybe we can take this empathy even further, to uncover our capacity to see in ourselves the dark and destructive parts of our nature. Can we actually empathise with both sides, can we recognise that feeling of standing up for what’s right despite the risks, and, albeit uncomfortable, can we see the sniper within ourselves. Is it possible that being someone willing to kill another is not as far away from who we actually are as we might like to think?


During the summer of 2011 a significant percentage of reported news concerned what was happening in Libya. I recall many journalists calling for action to support the rebels who were being violently suppressed by Gaddafi, his supporters and army. I remember when backing for the no-fly zone was declared by the United Nations there was also an out-cry against the campaign. I was perplexed, it seemed clear that something needed to do be done to stop the killing of prodemocracy demonstrators, and yet was there an intervention that would actually achieve this. With hindsight I am still uncertain, a lot of violence was used by both sides, a great many people are now dead or severely injured, and the suffering and stress for all the community will continue. They are free from their dictatorship, but what is to come?

Noam Chomsky has pointed out time and again that the situation in the Middle East and Africa is not some accidental and unfortunate unpredictable outcome of events separate from Europe and America, but that the dictatorships there are not only supported but often propped up by them as a means to acquire oil. In the light of this hope of real change is dimmed.


The psychological implications for people who live through war are severe; depression and trauma are commonplace. Veterans of modern warfare are highly stressed, and have trouble reintegrating into the society they left behind. In war a soldier has to be convinced that the killing of another person is the correct thing to do, this complicated and involved decision has to be simplified and clarified, to allow for the execution of this complex act instantaneously without question. How hard it must be to live with knowing what one has done, and how difficult it must be to adapt to a life of allowing other’s differences.
The impact on women and children is higher than one may imagine, 80% of casualties of conflict and war are women. (80% of the world’s 40 million refugees are also women.) They are raped, abused and humiliated as a means to destroy communities will to fight. An astounding figure of 300,000 children are soldiers and more female children are used to ‘service’ the troops. (Source:

Typically during times of war concern for the environment, and the laws that protect it, are far weaker than in times of peace. For this reason pollutants from weapon factories are more frequently entering eco-systems and damage to nature is greater, as seen by deforestation and water pollution.

War strategies are frequently destructive towards the natural environment, water sources, for example, are often destroyed or contaminated. In Iraq, retreating Iraqis set fire to Kuwaiti oil supplies releasing half a ton of air pollutants. In 2006 Israel bombed a power station in south of Beirut and 20,000 tons of oil leaked into the mediterranean sea. Marine life was devastated by the slick, and when it caught fire it caused wide-spread air pollution.
Two of the most dramatic impacts on the environment came from nuclear weapons and land mines. The impact of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear explosions were immense; radioactive debris joined air pollutants to infect the air, and land and water sources within 7 miles of the explosion were contaminated. Many plants and animals, as well as humans, were killed by the blasts or died as a result later, just under half a million humans alone lost their lives. Multiple fires lit by the explosion burned into wildfires as the heat of the blasts had evaporated all water that could have put them out. (Source:

Land-mines are so hard to remove that it is estimated to cost 30 times as much to remove them as to put them in. This leads to maiming and killing of humans and animals long after a war is over; 80% of human victims are civilian and a quarter are children.

The US military uses depleted uranium and napalm in its nuclear chemical weaponry, no doubt causing cancers among its enemies, and their own troops who are exposed to them, and destruction of the environment. (Source:

Disproportionate spending on war, means that less money is used within a country for its citizenry’s health, education and wellbeing, or for the fairer distribution of wealth and welfare to other counties.


Returning to the issue of what is happening in Syria, is it possible to explore the situation there with the impacts of using force in mind to see if it is justifiable or if any alternative is possible. Earlier this month (4 Feb 2012) a UN proposal to condemn the violence of Bashar Assad’s regime and call for him to resign were blocked by Russia and China. Perhaps this demand would have made little difference, but with the death toll rising above 7,000 it seems totally indefensible to block it. Rather than focusing on arming the opposition to Assad, (For, arguably, it was in arming Afghanis against a Soviet threat that led to the formation of the Taliban.) it may be wiser to look at convincing his supporters in China and Russia to turn away from the tyrant. Russia has much to gain if Assad remains in power, but if what appears evident comes to pass; that Assad will go out of power with a great deal of loss of life, then they will have much to lose when a new order is in control. (Such as their naval base in Tartus and arms exports.)

That Syrians have not backed down in their pro-democracy demonstrations despite all the terror that is imposed on them, suggests that Assad cannot continue. They are now unstoppable. We surely must support them in a way that is neither aggressive nor passive. Turkey is willing, if there is western support for it, to create a safe haven for the opposition in North-Western Syria. This could allow the factious opposition to organise themselves. Assad would only be attacked if he were to attack it. The great hope being that this free partition of the country could allow for a more peaceable transition of power. (Source: The Economist - 11 Feb 2012)

When asked if non-violent resistance can be effective the Dalai Lama has clearly pointed out that violent resistance is ineffective, non-violence creates rather than destroys; it gives rather than takes away. In the light of interconnectivity it is against you as much as against another. (Source: Dalai Lama - The way of NonViolence - YouTube)
It is slow and its change is at times imperceptible, but we can know that change, and if we attune ourselves to it we can be that change.

May all beings be free.

Feel free to add comments, corrections or your feeling below.

Sunday 12 February 2012

What you put into your mouth is as important as what comes out of it.

In this blog I want to touch upon the topic of food, which is a massive topic. Looking briefly at the chemical make-up of a modern diet, then looking more in-depth at the use of animals in our daily meals. As an early warning I should say this post is probably something I have quite fixed views about and will not be a very balanced account, please use the comments to keep us honest.

There is a saying “You are what you eat” and for many of us that would mean we are now all kinds of strange and creative inventions of modern times. Inverted syrups, inert stabilisers, dough conditioners, and a plethora of numbers and codes for things so plentiful they don’t even warrant the effort to be named, are added to our foods to make them look good and taste fine for longer. The mysteriousness and unnatural origination of these additives have moved many of us towards natural wholefoods, and we would often claim that they taste better too. But do they? I will leave that subjective question hanging, although fascinating to me at least, it has no corollary relation to the strangeness of chemical additives.
What happens to such things intended to preserve, improve or enhance our food when they get into our soft organic bodies? Do they improve and enhance us?
Unsurprisingly the quick answer to the second question is no. Although all the additives put into our food have been passed by food standards agencies as acceptable in the quantities that they appear, they have a magnified effect over time. The logical repercussion of adding small amounts of chemicals regularly is that, depending on the time it takes for them to pass through, they add up to a larger dose. Many additives have been proven unsafe in large quantities, aspartame (the sweetener) produces formaldehyde, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) (popular preservative) cause stomach and liver tumors, and pesticides can cause cancer.
How do we know this? We served it to animals at high doses, lucky animals.
Adding colour to food that has gone colourless may be good for that “first bite is with the eyes” moment, but if it lacks colour it also lacks the nutritiousness that the colour indicates. (Source


The other day at a cafe someone from the next table ordered a mushroom burger, the waiter asked if they wanted veg-mushroom or chicken-mushroom, they replied “Chicken is also good.” That phrase “chicken is also good” has somehow stuck in my mind. Here in India the situation for that chicken to be good is inconceivable in every way I can think of. Passing through the market place one sees stacks of cages so crammed with chickens that their white feathers are pushing through the wire netting. When someone buys some chicken meat a live chicken is pulled from the cage by its feet and its head is chopped off in sight of its siblings. As I have mentioned before I am equal parts shocked and thankful to India for not hiding away the realities of our daily life, for to see the ending of an innocent animals life I am certain that I will not partake in eating them.

Looking at the environmental impact of livestock (keeping animals for food production) is actually astoundingly shocking. It comes down to a very simple dictum; meat is unsustainable. This is nowhere near as catchy as Morrissey’s offering; Meat is Murder.
Livestock production is a major cause of a long list of environmental problems including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution and loss of biodiversity. It is responsible for 18% of green house gas emissions and 37% of anthropogenic methane, both of which are helping to change the climate of the planet.
Over one quarter of the earth’s land is used for grazing, and one third of all arable (farmed) land is used for feeding livestock. 70% of previously forested amazon is now used for grazing. 
Keeping animals at the scale we do pushes wild animals into ever shrinking spaces of the planet. The wide-reaching presence of human’s and their animals makes it the single largest source of water pollutants. These come from animal waste, medicines, (hormones and antibiotics), chemicals from tanneries, and pesticides and fertilisers from feed crops entering the water systems.

It is important to note that eating meat is only one way of supporting this devastation, drinking milk is perhaps equal to it.


This summer in the UK (2011) there was a proposed cull on badgers, 1,000s of badgers were planned to be shot by marksmen in the fields where they live and roam. The reason for this was that badgers are carriers of the bovine affecting tuberculosis (TB), if a cow contracts TB then their milk will not be sellable and they will often be killed. This is a terrible (financial) loss to dairy farmers and some farmers therefore preferred to have the badgers killed as a preventative.
The planned badger cull was dropped as it did not have one supportive reason to take place; more badgers are killed on the roads than would be impacted by this labour intensive cull; the likelihood of killing an infected badger was poor; plus if a sett of healthy badgers were wiped out then a TB infected family might move into the area.
But by the time the decision to abandon this had taken place I had decided to become vegan.
Although I see the cull is back being planned. (Source
The assassination of these magnificent creatures was the final straw. I would like to mention some of the other straws.
When I lived on a Kibbutz my partner and I built a mud house on the outskirts of the community, we had a beautiful view of the Jordanian mountains and the sounds of the dairy. Mostly this was the clanking of metal and machinery moving around, for a dairy is an industry more that a pastoral event. But the hardest sound of all was that of a young calf and its mother calling to each other. The calf would already have been moved to its small stall (1m x 2m) where if it was male it would live until slaughter. The mother was again producing milk so was among the productive cows. They could not see each other but they could hear each other and called for hours and hours, it was so painful, it hurts to remember it.
Cows in particular are giving large amounts of chemicals to allow their bodies to produce insane quantities of milk, some of this remains in the milk (fear-monger moment), but to me it simply feels wrong to force this on another creature of the earth.
A further consideration is in the foreshortening of the life span of a dairy cow, from a life expectancy of 20 years it is shortened to only 4. (Source Turn away now if you want to avoid the really ugly bit where the self-righteous vegan makes a cheap shot: We are the only species that drinks the baby food of another animal, and without wishing to cause insult to cows, it’s food to help the development of a large-bodied low-intelligent and somewhat docile creature. If that’s your ambition in life, so be it. It’s OK you can open your eyes again now.

Is an animal free diet healthy?
That is of course a natural concern, and some terribly unhealthy looking vegans come quickly to come to mind, yet many people live happy healthy lives without consuming animal derived products. Is protein actually that hard to find? The simple answer is no, there is enough protein in a normal balanced diet that consists of natural food. As in food that grew in a field not a factory. Good sources of protein are whole grains, nuts and seeds, soya beans, and the food with the highest percentage of protein is not meat or dairy but a blue-green algae called Spirulina. Calcium and Iron are also freely available through tofu, whole-grain bread, seeds and pulses.
With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs. (Source:


A balanced healthy diet is possible without a feeling of giving up anything. 
Nature quite clearly makes food that is indigestible look indigestible, I feel we shouldn’t be trying to fool each other. Surely a diet without synthetic or chemical additives will be easier to digest and will be guaranteed to be fresh.
I feel it’s ethically and environmentally unsupportable to use animals as part of our diets. If you feel otherwise please add your view in the comments. Personally, I feel a lot healthier on a vegan diet, although I have been following it only since the summer of 2011 I feel my energy is clearer and more accessible. I have also been vegetarian for well over a decade and feel that this is a good diet for me, I feel (and look) fit and healthy with a lot of vitality. Feel free to add your views below.

Monday 30 January 2012

Should I get Down? - Down vs Synthetic Sleeping Bags

This is a caring travellers conundrum which I feel represents a painful dilemma: Is it better to negatively affect certain living beings in the short term or the whole planet in the long term. In this case geese killed for their lightest insulating feathers; down, or more synthetic materials; plastic, in the world. Maybe by comparing how down is collected to the impact of the alternatives on the environment we can make an educated and sensitive decision.

But first lets make a comparison of the two in terms of their qualities and benefits in a finished sleeping bag. Down feathers are one of natures great moments, they are beautiful to look at and can simply hang in the air, they weigh so little we can not tell if we are holding one in our hand or not. They are so effective at insulating that no man made object can match it weight for weight. Each down feather is made up of many filaments which radiate from their central shaft, this creates loft which allows for air to be trapped and warmth kept in. 

The alternatives to down are made from synthetic (man-made) materials mimicking natures design; polyester fibres set in wiggly single threads or fanned out designs. Some are better than others but nothing as yet matches down for insulation by weight or compression. Meaning that your sleeping bag can be lighter and smaller with down. But bear in mind that down can absorb a lot of water and is very slow at drying out, while polyester can dry out quickly. 

A more detailed comparison, pitting natural down against its polymer imitators, can be found here (Source

Where is down coming from?
In most cases down is plucked from geese killed for their meat, therefore down could be seen as a byproduct. Apparently some are plucked alive, (Source which must be like having your hair pulled out, conversely it is possible to collect down from the ground or nest after it has naturally fallen off the bird. 

About 65% of down is coming from Asia (Source where avian consumption is high, and animal living conditions are often poor. The rest are coming from Europe where “Fois Gras” and other ‘delicacies’ are made from geese and ducks by force feeding. So there is a fair degree of suffering in the donors life.

Yet the very highest quality down comes from mature birds in the wild who moult it naturally when the weather warms and it is collected from the ground or nests. The down from Eider geese in Norway is collected by this method, it’s more labour intensive and Eider down is more expensive partly for this reason. It is positive to see there is an “ahimsa” (non-violent) solution, because generally birds are killed around 4 months old.

A clarifying (over rationalising?) question might be “How many geese are needed to make a down sleeping bag?” 
An approximate answer will be 8, although it is actually quite complicated to calculate exactly. Down is measured in “fill power” per weight, the fill power is higher for down that creates more loft, meaning it fills more space for its weight. Typically these range from 400-700 inches per ounce. Because down varies in “fill power” the number of geese needed to make the down sleeping bag also varies. 
Wild Eider in Norway produce around 1.5oz (42g) per nest per year. (Source This is the highest quality down so a light weight filling would be possible. If your bag is taking 300g then it would take 8 birds. (8x42g=336g)
Presumable more weight of down will be collected from a dead bird or one plucked alive (which thankfully is outlawed and represents only 1% of all “harvested” down (Source But the fill power from a young bird will be less and more weight will be needed, I’m guessing that this may balance out and 8 birds may still be enough but it could be many more.

So what should we do if we need a new sleeping bag; synthetic or down? 
A synthetic bag generally will be heavier and larger when packed than a down bag of equivalent warmth, but maybe not by much if you use the latest technologies. If you get your bag wet you’ll be glad you bought a synthetic. Down bags usually cost more than synthetic.
From a practical perspective down is better unless you’re going to be in a wet climate.

If your bag is filled with regular down the geese will most likely have led a factory farming life and have been killed in the first few months of their existence. From the animal rights perspective down is an inexcusable abuse of an animals right to a free and natural existence.

A down bag will remain functional longer than a synthetic one, the plastic is more fragile than feathers, and the down once disposed of will return to nature quicker, while the polyester components will take thousands of years to break down fully. From an environmental perspective down is better; its components will return to nature easily. (Although the nylon shell of your bag will be blocking drains and filling the gills of a blue whale for millennia.)

A more ethical solution would be to ensure that the down filling your sleeping bag was collected from wild geese living a natural life, or a polyester filled bag made from recycled plastic. If you know of anyone manufacturing a sleeping bag to either of these ethical criteria let us know in the comments.

A down sleeping bag is the superior choice for most situations, being lighter smaller and warmer. It also has a lower impact on the environment as a whole. If you are able to live with knowing that the beings who grew the downy feathers that will keep you warm lived short torturous lives then it is a clear favourite. The alternative is to continue our addition of polymers to the world's ecosystems. This is continuing at a pace already and perhaps one more sleeping bag of polyester is negligible. What do you think?

I hope the exploration of this issue was informative and useful, feel free to leave comments, corrections and feelings below.

Bottling it - Packaged water and its environmental impact

This time I want to look at the issue of plastic waste creating by drinking water from bottles.
I am writing from South India, and the content of this post is based on experience of travelling here, but the point should be applicable to anywhere where bottled water is available in plastic: It is creating waste regardless, even when it is recycled. (More about recycling and its efficiencies and inefficiencies, in another post)

 If you have spent anytime in a country, like India, without a centralised waste management system and recycling plants, you will have seen an enormous pile of empty plastic water bottles. It is a dramatic sight not easily forgotten; sometimes tumbling down a small cliff in front of a perfect sunset, sometimes clogging up a blackened water way. These are the scenes of tourism outside of the tourist’s health’s comfort zone, the understandably poor meeting between western digestive systems and water systems less clean than they’re used to.

It is also a startling glimpse through the doors of perception. The huge amount of waste we create on a daily basis is dealt with very tidily in the west. We can ignore it, along with our mortality. In India there is a destabilising honesty to it, there is nowhere for your waste to go. It will pile up around us, then probably be burnt.

The water in many countries is not going to be perfect for many of us when it comes out of the tap. Depending on where you are the cause for concern will vary, in Israel you may be wanting to filter out heavy metals while in India it’s micro organisms. Naturally enough this is something we would want to avoid, but due to the impact mentioned above, buying bottled water is not the best solution, filtration and treatment is.

Here are some alternatives to buying bottled water when the water is not clean enough;

  • Purification tablets.
    • You will probably need to arrive with enough for the whole trip. The best chemical purifier is iodine, yet it is not to be used by pregnant women or those with thyroid problems.
  • Water Filter or Sterilisation, 
    • With a small pore size less than 4 microns; it needs to be effective against both bacterias and parasites. Water filters come in travel size also.
    • Using ultra-violet rays to kill all micro organisms. This is common in many multifunctional household filtration systems, and it also available as a Steri Pen for travel purposes.
  • Buying Processed water 
    • Boiled and Filtered or Mineral water bought in bulk. In many towns you can find places to fill up water. And if you’re staying for a week or more you can buy water in bulk, filling up this way is more sustainable as the large plastic containers of 20 litres (5 gallon US) will be reused many times.
  • Drinking the water in Cities 
    • I don’t actually recommend this, but some feel it is fine. The levels of chlorine and other disinfectants and anti-bacterial additives from the water treatment plants make it safer. Bear in mind that water contamination is mostly invisible to the naked eye, and much water is stored in tanks on a roof before it is drunk.

You may have strong digestive system with guts made of iron. If so feel free to drink from every tap in town. Some do. The above advice is just that advice, do as you feel. But if you have a digestive system as sensitive as your ecological conscience then the goal of safe water and a clean environment is possible.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts, feelings and solutions to this situation.

Friday 27 January 2012

A Declaration of Interdependence - General Sources of Inspiration

I am not who I was, I am a part of something greater that is always changing.

I take the view that we should live lightly on the planet, with the aim to pass this beautiful planet to future generations in better condition than we ourselves found it. Yet the likelihood of this coming to pass is poor. The human species has probably already changed the face of the planet in ways that will take millennia to rebalance. We have added more carbon to the atmosphere than there has ever been, and added polymers to delicately balanced eco systems.

But in light of this great failure I plan, through these blog posts, to explore the ethical, spiritual and practical dilemmas (or trilemmas; when adding the Buddha’s middle way to the mix) of being a modern human. Trying to live with wisdom and compassion while being one part of the most destructive force of nature ever to have walked on the planet’s surface.

Before I get going I want to apologise, briefly.

I know that I shall fail to reference all the sources of knowledge that substantiate this blog. Many things I have read will come out through these words, even an idea that feels original to me will no doubt have been formed by other’s ideas I have consumed along my path to make sense of being human. It is not in arrogance of thinking myself original that will lead to the lack of accreditation but a poor memory. I will update this page’s list of the dominant influences as soon as I remember, while within each post I will provide links to the specific influences for that topic.

I have been touched and inspired by reading “The World without Us” by Alan Weisman. The book envisions a world suddenly vacated by the dominant species of humankind, exploring how our influence diminishes, whether slowly or quickly, across many spheres of life. The cities we’ve built dissolving, the transport systems collapsing, the cultivated plants reverting to the wild, and the atmosphere, last of all, reabsorbing all the extra carbon we’ve released through our excessive use of fossil fuels.

I am inspired also by the wisdom of ancient and modern spiritual teachers, Ken Wilber and Alan Watts come to mind first. Because for me they have crystallised wisdom teachings and found vibrant and accessible means to communicate it. One thing I would like to share from their over flowing pots is this. If you are able to see a situation you are no longer stuck in it. There is a freedom in knowing that we are stuck. This is not the time to feel sorry for being stuck, or beating ourselves for being where we are, now is the time to act, to move forward.

May we all seize this opportunity to benefit ourselves, our friends, our friends to be, all living beings, and ones to come, this fragile yet resilient earth, and all that is beyond the knowing of this complex being that is just coming and going.


Monday 23 January 2012

Why is SanghaSeva starting a blog?

We already have a website that is offering all the functions that we need. A place for people to stumble upon the retreats we offer; Meditation in Action (for short). A place where people can learn about these events and even register on the site.
But right now we want something a bit more interactive, we want to explore the themes of our everyday impact on the world. From all angles if possible; both rational and spiritual, being realistic without losing touch with the dream, aiming for the sky with our feet in the dirt.
This is all part of the path of getting as free as possible because "Daily Life Matters"

Hope you will join us,

With Love,
SanghaSeva Team