Image Source: Pixabay

Deep Weaving: indigenous Earth wisdom, mythology, and cosmology

Reflections on the Ashoka ‘Global Change Leaders’ gathering to catalyze transformative innovation in education (3 of 4)

“Caught up in a mass of abstractions, our attention hypnotized by a host of human-made technologies that only reflect us back to ourselves, it is all too easy for us to forget our carnal inherence in a more- than-human matrix of sensations and sensibilities. Our bodies have formed themselves in delicate reciprocity with the manifold textures, sounds, and shapes of an animate earth — our eyes have evolved in subtle interaction with other eyes, as our ears are attuned by their very structure to the howling of the wolves and the honking of the geese. To shut ourselves off from these other voices, to continue by our lifestyles to condemn these other sensibilities to the oblivion of extinction, is to rob our own senses of their integrity, and to rob our minds of their coherence. We are human only in contact, and conviviality, with what is not human.”

— David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

Lakota Medicine Wheel — The Four Shields
Clinton Callahan interviewing Meredith Little in 2013 about her life’s work with rite of passage and vision fast work with youth, young adults and people of all ages.
8 Shields is a global movement worldwide that utilizes a finely tuned, tried and true mentoring model that has proven to create healthy and vibrant natural leaders, and nature-based intergenerational mentoring communities around the world. “Our north star is to re-awaken these attributes in people and in turn help heal the widespread disconnection and loss of culture worldwide.”
Hopi Seed Saving Pot with image of Spider Woman (source)
Nature’s Jewels by David Kleinert — an illustration of the ‘Jeweled Net of Indra’

“Imagine a multidimensional spider’s web
in the early morning covered with dew drops.
And every dew drop contains the reflection
of all the other dew drops.
— And so ad infinitum.

That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image.”

— Alan Watts, Following The Middle Way

[A Tibetan Legend]

“There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. Barbarian powers have arisen. Although they waste their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable devastation and technologies that lay waste the world. It is now, when the future of all beings hangs by the frailest of threads, that the kingdom of Shambhala emerges.

“You cannot go there, for it is not a place. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors. But you cannot recognize a Shambhala warrior by sight, for there is no uniform or insignia, there are no banners. And there are no barricades from which to threaten the enemy, for the Shambhala warriors have no land of their own. Always they move on the terrain of the barbarians themselves.

“Now comes the time when great courage is required of the Shambhala warriors, moral and physical courage. For they must go into the very heart of the barbarian power and dismantle the weapons. To remove these weapons, in every sense of the word, they must go into the corridors of power where the decisions are made.

“The Shambhala warriors know they can do this because the weapons are mano-maya, mind-made. This is very important to remember, Joanna. These weapons are made by the human mind. So they can be unmade by the human mind! The Shambhala warriors know that the dangers that threaten life on Earth do not come from evil deities or extraterrestrial powers. They arise from our own choices and relationships. So, now, the Shambhala warriors must go into training.

“How do they train?” I asked.

“They train in the use of two weapons.”

“The weapons are compassion and insight. Both are necessary. We need this first one,” he said, lifting his right hand, “because it provides us the fuel, it moves us out to act on behalf of other beings. But by itself it can burn us out. So we need the second as well, which is insight into the dependent co-arising of all things. It lets us see that the battle is not between good people and bad people, for the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. We realize that we are interconnected, as in a web, and that each act with pure motivation affects the entire web, bringing consequences we cannot measure or even see.

“But insight alone,” he said, “can seem too cool to keep us going. So we need as well the heat of compassion, our openness to the world’s pain. Both weapons or tools are necessary to the Shambhala warrior.”

— Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy tells the story of the Kingdom of Shambhala based on the oral tradition of how she was gifted this prophecy by her own teacher — inter-generational weaving!

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

— ‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver

This video was created as feedback on a 12 day experience of transformative education I had the privilege to co-create with some of the most skillful educators I ever had the pleasure to work with. In August 2009, a group of 30 young Europeans gathered together in Scotland, at Findhorn ecovillage, for twelve-days. They explored different tools and techniques for building inner-resilience for the journey towards creative and sustainable cultures. The programme combined many of the deep weaving connections this article explores. There is hope! There is another way! We need programs like this for young adults everywhere!

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Daniel Christian Wahl

Catalysing transformative innovation, cultural co-creation, whole systems design, and bioregional regeneration. Author of Designing Regenerative Cultures