“The world is being undone before us. If we do not reimagine Australia, we will be undone too.”
Richard Flanagan from a speech at Garma
Setting the scene
In Australia today, and the world as a whole, we are confronted by what is described as a ‘wicked problem’. A wicked problem is multi-dimensional, can be considered a symptom as well as a cause, of other problems, is unprecedented, complex and consequential, yet solutions are hard or impossible to test accurately, has a tendency to fester or get more severe, with nothing automatically stopping the vicious cycle or intensifying feedback loop fromt(from Pg23 ANROTH)
At the same time we live in a fog of ‘opinions; information overload, ‘data smog and what has been described as ‘consensus trance’ (ANROTH) chapter 1
I suggest that leadership needs to come from the grassroots and will require discerning wisdom, integrity, courage, sustained energy and collaboration.
Spiritual practice in this context is whole of life practice – not just the occasional meditation session but a whole life geared towards sustainable activism supported by community and contemplative prayer.
Perhaps its time we took up the mantle of such leadership and together with others apply ourselves to a unifying principle to give strong voice to policy makers and for the common good?
Song: “If I had a hammer”
‘The longer I live, and especially now when I feel vividly the nearness of death, I want to tell others what I feel so particularly clearly and what to my mind is of greatest importance: namely that which is called ‘Passive Resistance’ is in reality nothing else than the teaching of love uncorrupted by false interpretations….I think this was most clearly expressed by Christ, who plainly said: “ In love alone is all the law and the prophets. Love neighbour as self’
In a letter from Tolstoy to Gandhi
Song: Ubi Caritas
‘Non-violence is not a resignation from all real fighting against wickedness. On the contrary, the non-violence of my conception is a more active and real fight against wickedness than retaliation whose very nature is to increase wickedness. Disobedience to be civil must be sincere, respectful, restrained, never defiant, must be based upon some well understood principle, must not be capricious and above all must have no ill-will or hatred behind it.’
Question for discussion: What is the ‘well understood principle’ of non-violent resistance?
How to collaborate – conversation.
Spiritual practice – silence Meditate for 10-15 mins with the below as opening. And poem at end of silence.
An excerpt from Laurence Freeman OSB, “Meditation,” in JESUS THE TEACHER WITHIN (London: Continuum, 20000), p.. 210
One of the fruits of meditation is the gift of discernment. Discernment about what the media is doing and saying to us, about when to switch off the screen. By creating the space of solitude through daily practice, meditation protects the dignity of individual privacy. As a result, it also develops the social values of personal liberty and responsible participation in society’s decision making. The passivity and fatalism that media-saturation can create is challenged by meditation, if only because people of wisdom are less easily misled. We meditate in this world. Our decision to meditate represents a commitment to participate responsibly even in a world going mad. It trains discernment and limits intolerance. It teaches faithfulness to the community of the true Self thus protecting human dignity. Each time we sit down to meditate we carry our own and the world’s baggage into the work of attention. It is a way of loving the world we are part of and contributing to its well-being. Precisely because it is a way of letting go of ourselves, meditation helps us recognize and share the burden of humanity.
After meditation: “True North” by Annie Lightfoot in IRON STRING TRUE NORTH You are the first compass, you the needle and stone, water, and pail. You are the tug of the miles, the force that turns, and you at last the surety that follows your own silver point. You are the sail above the small craft, its angle and drift, the night and the blackness of winds. You are the bent head, the giving and ceasing, you the bright weaving and the kindness of hands. You are every city and every street, you the nightwatchman and the young shepherd as well, you the sharp fear, you the heart, arriving unharmed. Many things are true, and this is one: You were there in the great tree at morning. You were who watched the green time unfolding. You were and are there the whole length of the song.
If I had a hammer I'd hammer in the morning I'd hammer in the evening All over this land I'd hammer out danger I'd hammer out a warning I'd hammer out love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land,
If I had a bell I'd ring it in the morning I'd ring it in the evening All over this land I'd ring out danger I'd ring out a warning I'd ring out love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land, oh
If I had a song I'd sing it in the morning I'd sing it in the evening All over this land I'd sing out danger I'd song of out a warning I'd sing out love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land, oh
Well, I've got a hammer And I've got a bell And I've got a song to sing All over this land It's the hammer of justice It's the bell of freedom It's a song about love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land It's a hammer of justice It's a bell of freedom It's a song about love between my brothers and my sisters All over this land
Songwriters: Lee Hays / Pete Seeger