Our topic this week, after meditation, is inspired by a Joanna Macy essay titled The Greening the Self. It is taken from Ordinary Magic, a collection edited by John Wellwood. Macy writes:

Something important is happening in our world that you are not going to read about in the newspapers. I consider it the most fascinating and hopeful development of our time, and it is one of the reasons I am so glad to be alive today. It has to do with what is occurring to the notion of the self.

Macy talks about the shifting sense of who we are, moving from a "skin-encapsulated ego" (an Alan Watts phrase) to a eco-self, and ecological self, that recognize our interdependence and connection to all of life and to the entire Cosmos. We then watch the end of Earth’s Crisis: On the Edge of the Roof, a Tara Brach talk. She reads from a Paul Hawken commencement speech:

In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a “little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven.

Then we did a visualization exercise called Things or Beings? that explores our perceptions of the world around us, and concluded with an Awaking.org excerpt, Song of the Birds, from David Haskell's The Unseen Forest:

Listen: an invitation. But it is hard to discern what is meant in this speech of our winged cousins. Birds inhabit flesh profoundly different from our own. Our inattention further muffles their language. We wall them out with bricks that keep us indoors, inside self-made worlds, and with presuppositions, closely guarded vaults of the mind. We’ve made ourselves a lonely place, so quiet.

Let in the sound.

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