I used to be a yoga teacher. Now i am glad that i am not. I still teach the same things, in the same settings, in almost the same way.
Mainly what is different is the orientation of my teaching. Rather than inviting people to make deep peace with themselves, i am inviting them to make deep peace with the world, in its totality. The journey is similar, the destination different. Through inviting a deep intimacy with their own nature i am now overtly inviting them to a deep intimacy with the whole of nature, the whole of existence.
Of course, making deep peace with yourself does not take place in isolation. Nevertheless many people spend a lifetime practicing yoga and meditating without coming to terms with the world as it is. They may find some peace within it, but only too often just in a part of it.
We need more than that now. Now that our home is collapsing so rapidly.
Nature has always played a crucial role in my annual summer retreats. We have lived those summer months as close as possible to nature. This year was the closest. It was raw, it was ripe. It was about as natural as could be. There wasn’t one closed off indoor space to hide in.
At the same time the ideologies, hidden assumptions, subconscious ambitions, contradictions and wishful thinking of yoga that i have struggled against for so long evaporated. This was no longer yoga that we were doing. It was not simply an inwards journey. It was an opening into the world that begins as an opening into the body.
It was Radical Ecology. It was, is, a deep homecoming. A coming home to consciousness. A coming home to nature. A coming home to the world just as it is. A coming home in the midst of calamity, in the face of catastrophe. A coming home that takes you deeper than collapse, deeper than the world.
To be a Radical Ecologist is to have a vision: a vision of Wholeness. A vision within which there is no ‘other”. A vision within which love triumphs over fear, generosity over greed, giving over taking.
Radical Ecology is not another ideology. It is a way of seeing, a way of being. The way of being follows necessarily on the way of seeing. It can not be pretended to for long.
What needs to be seen is Wholeness: in its wholeness. This is more than recognising the interdependent interconnectedness of organisms and environments. It is living within this world, this universe, as this universe, as this world.
You are the universe made flesh. You are the world made conscious. You are consciousness biologising.
The world is spiralling into chaos, nature is crumbling into breakdown. Human beings have made it so. Not by choice. Not by intention. Not by design. By accident. Even if those remain who seem not to care, who seem to want to cause as much destruction as possible.
Yet this accident, and that unforgivable perversity, has a deep cause. That cause is ignorance. Not so much lack of knowledge, but lack of perspective. We have been ignoring so much. Not only the balance of nature, but the depths of our own nature.
We have been marooned in a sense of separateness that we have institutionalised. The breakdown that we are all participating in rests on the institutionalised perspective of separateness. This country from that. Capitalists from Environmentalists. Human beings from nature. Men from women. Poor from Rich, This colour from that.
This separateness cannot be resolved from separateness. It can only be resolved from the perspective of wholeness. Even if that resolution is that we meet the collapse of so-called civilisation, and the possible extinction of humanity, with dignity and grace.
The perspective of wholeness is not an intellectual one. It is an experiential one. The journey from the institutionalisation of separateness to the embodiment of wholeness is an experiential one. It begins in the body. From there it extends through relationship with others (human and otherwise) into nature and the world just as it is (changing).
This is the journey of Radical Ecology. It includes the biomechanical nature of the body, the conceptual nature of mind, and the intelligent nature of consciousness. Yet it rests on the body and the sensations through which it signals its presence and its needs. These sensations are not just expressions of human nature. They are expressions of Mother Nature encapsulated through the human genome.
Through the systematic use of movement and stillness the body clarifies to mind the contextualisation of separateness within connectedness . Going deeper connectedness is contextualised within interconnectedness. Deeper still interconnectedness is contextualised within boundarylessness. Boundarylessness is finally contextualised within Wholeness.
These contextualisations take place experientially. In doing so they are conceptually recognised for what they are by mind. The cognitive journey follows, depends and is determined by the somatic journey of deepening intimacy with the body.
They are not contextualisations of exclusion. Separateness exists within and is contained by connectedness. Connectedness exists within and is contained by interconnectedness. Interconnectedness exists within and is contained by boundarylessness. Boundarylessness exists within and is contained by wholeness.
Wholeness is singular. There is no other within it. The other exists only within the perspectual realms of separateness, connectedness and interconnectedness. It dissolves through boundarylessness into the singularity of wholeness.
This is the journey of Radical Ecology, the journey to becoming a Radical Ecologist. See you there, perhaps!