Friday, June 20, 2008

Why Bother?

From Michael Pollen's piece "Why Bother?" in the NY Times...

"For us to wait for legislation or technology to solve the problem of how we’re living our lives suggests we’re not really serious about changing — something our politicians cannot fail to notice. They will not move until we do. Indeed, to look to leaders and experts, to laws and money and grand schemes, to save us from our predicament represents precisely the sort of thinking — passive, delegated, dependent for solutions on specialists — that helped get us into this mess in the first place. It’s hard to believe that the same sort of thinking could now get us out of it. "

"Thirty years ago, Wendell Berry, the Kentucky farmer and writer, put forward a blunt analysis of precisely this mentality. He argued that the environmental crisis of the 1970s — an era innocent of climate change; what we would give to have back that environmental crisis! — was at its heart a crisis of character and would have to be addressed first at that level: at home, as it were. He was impatient with people who wrote checks to environmental organizations while thoughtlessly squandering fossil fuel in their everyday lives — the 1970s equivalent of people buying carbon offsets to atone for their Tahoes and Durangos. Nothing was likely to change until we healed the 'split between what we think and what we do.' For Berry, the 'why bother' question came down to a moral imperative: 'Once our personal connection to what is wrong becomes clear, then we have to choose: we can go on as before, recognizing our dishonesty and living with it the best we can, or we can begin the effort to change the way we think and live.'"
There is this idea that many of us have in our heads that everything is connected. We nod too. I've been trying to get it out of my head as an idea and into my life as something that's actually true. I've been trying to do some stuff...changing out light bulbs for energy efficiency, putting together errands so I don't have to drive as much (living in a rural area is not very "green", ironically), carrying my own shopping bags (not just to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's...but everywhere, etc.
But here's another way to think about doing your part for the environment...all of it...everything is connected...
"Stillness within one individual can effect society beyond measure" - Bede Griffiths
My meditation practice feels more and more like it is part of this overall effort to "bother" about the world we live in together. It's not about creating this fake smiling, everything is wonderful, persona...but about delving deeply into these connections...everything, everywhere...and letting that inform what I choose to do in this world we all share.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Photo shoot

I was asked a few weeks ago if I wanted to provide some photos of some of the people in my yoga classes as part of an art exhibit...maybe some of the people who have been around for awhile and have shown the most progress, they said.

I never know quite how to respond to things like that. For me, "progress" in yoga is, for the most part, invisible. There truly are some yoga postures that could be considered "advanced" on some level of measurement. But I bet there are some really bendy people who could walk right into their first yoga class and get right into the most pretzel like posture with a little instruction. And then there will be those of us who could come to the mat every day for years and never approach that kind of physical pliability or strength.

So how do I capture equanimity in a photo?