Monday, 20 April 2020

The Earth in our Hands
Thomas Berry  " When we pray for a better world....God responds, not in a way we may wish for, but by giving us the opportunity to create it...but it is up to us to do the work. Our responsibility is the immediate work in hand, the inner and the outer work, and to let the outcome rest in God's hands."
This April Earth Day 2020, instead of holding our annual NSW Community day of reflection on God’s creation, we find ourselves in a situation we could not have imagined a few weeks ago. We face a corona-virus pandemic affecting all of us, giving us all a direct collective experience of our oneness and interconnectedness.  We are sharing our vulnerabilities, fears and uncertainties and also discovering new ways of being together while alone; sharing acts of kindness and in slowing down, possibly discovering a deeper sense of self.

This is a wake-up call, showing us the fractures and challenges in our relationships with each other and the earth which supports us. Is it a crisis which could be a portal to the creation of new consciousness and a way of living more sustainably and in harmony with the earth?  We are seeing dramatic reductions in pollution showing us the burden human activity has placed on the environment.
At a previous Earth Day gathering the question was asked,

“What will bring about a radical change in our relationship with the earth?”

We could not have imagined an event so striking in its collective impact as Codiv-19 which has the possibility to change our collective thinking recreating a new relationship with each other and the environment. We hope that it will galvanise action to work on the ongoing impact humanity is having on the environment. While extreme weather events including droughts and fires of unprecedented ferocity are happening with increasing regularity and severity, this crisis is having a dramatic impact on our collective consciousness.

In our meditation community we discover the power of meditation to change our consciousness and the need for inner and outer work, and we recall Fr Laurence’s words

“Great shifts in consciousness need to be worked out at the individual as well as the communal level – we need to transform ourselves before we can change the world for the better” Laurence Freeman (NL Feb 2004)

 He also said (NL Dec.2012)

In meditation, when we awaken to the deeper dimensions of who we are, we sense our connection with the living earth, the cosmos and each other and we know that that vision requires us to work together to transform the world through a new consciousness.

Janet O’Sullivan


Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Linda's Report


Meditation and the Fire of Climate Crisis

The thing about an actual crisis, an immediate one, is that when it comes barging in through the front door, theories go flying out the back door. The seemingly slow unwinding of the ‘climate crisis’ sped up on New Year’s Eve 2019 here on the south coast of NSW. That we had had some time to prepare was a mercy for us. Others had no such grace. The creeping, leaping fires that began in September had until now appeared only on the screen and in the smoke that crept in and stayed. It was also there in the charred remains of trees washed up on the tide line. Then suddenly it was here. The thing about an immediate crisis is that singleness of mind comes not as a choice but as necessity. There is an unwanted imperative to act without distraction, with clear, purposeful attention; no egoic pattern of thought can survive. The fire is not an audience for self- reference. The ‘firey’ (volunteer fire fighter) in the face of flames has one purpose, one thought, one action. The resident leaving home to escape the flames is as singular in intent. The 84-year-old woman I encountered at the aged care facility told me she had literally gone out the front door as the flames came in the back door. She had the presence of mind to pick up her handbag on the way but no time for anything else. Now, she sat with us as we shared communion, in tears, still in shock. I’ve not yet heard the details of ‘Joan’s’ escape who, at 104 years old, and still attending our choir, lost her home and everything in it. She is one of so many we know.  continued here

Remains of the Cadgee church pulpit, and after the fire the metal cross seared on the earth


Saturday, 18 January 2020

Climate Change


Meditation and Environment 




WCCMAust

Contemplation and Environmental action Nov-Jan 2020

As we live an experience of ‘climate change’ in the Australian fires, many new questions are being raised as to how we go forward in “the new normal’’ climatic conditions and how this crisis is an opportunity for new and deeper questioning  about causes rather than simply consequences of climate change. The questions need to go beyond ‘climate change’  which has become  an ideologically divisive expression,  to the drivers of these changes-  rather than the adaptations to them-to  relationships between our  lifestyles; the economy and ecology,  and instead focus on who we are as part of God’s creation; on our relationships with the Creator, with creation; with each other.

We know that when a part of our bodies becomes out of balance; disruptions occur in other parts and the health of the whole is disrupted. So too in the body of our planet home.

As we become an increasingly globalised world where we are moving towards greater complexity and convergence, finding what we have in common becomes much more important that our differences.  Finding our right relationship with, and understanding of our dependence on, our common home is even more critical.

As Fr. Laurence says, we need a new ‘contemplative consciousness and meditation is a pathway to seeing reality with new eyes. As one interconnected unity. He says (NL Feb. 2004) “great shifts in consciousness need to be worked out at the individual as well as the communal level-we need to transform ourselves before we can change the world for the better”
We also see that a crisis calls out the very best of our humanity with compassion, generosity and care for others in the midst of the crisis.

Expressions of how meditation changes us include:          
  • from fragmentation to wholeness
  • from ego centred to true self and the experience of spiritual unity the practice of attention and presence
  • experience of being rooted in the Absolute
  • movement from head to heart centred
  • from self centred to other centred. 
  • experience of oneness 
  • practice of attention and presence.
  • developing spiritual senses- the difference between love and fear; needs and desires
Our symbol of the 2 doves reminds us of the need to link contemplation with action.

Collective action

We need individual and collective actions, and our WCCM Australia community has this year joined larger interfaith networks-ARRCC Australian Religious Response to Climate Change  https://www.arrcc.org.au/ ( and its collaboration with Green Faith in  a Living the Change campaign) and  more recently, the Faith and Ecology network https://www.faithecology.net.au/

WCCM Australia has had members engaged in climate change action in recent months and would welcome reports from other members engagement in our community, in what is becoming a pressing  need for collective action for our common good. In connecting with related faith based organisations we can help bring the contemplative dimension to activist groups and encourage our meditation community to link action for the common good in our meditation groups. 

Conversation groups relating Meditation and action are also beginning as an opportunity to bring others to meditation groups and those in meditation groups to action. They create a good basis for listening to opposing views, a safe place to express our fears, a sharing of ways we can contribute to bring hope in the face of uncertainty. These are related to meditation as a way of inner transformation…from ego to true self.

We began with considering what we as individuals can do…..then  leading to ways of collective action, to considering the impacts of our lifestyles on the environment which supports us, and reflecting on the many levels of interconnectedness in the dimensions of our natural and cultural worlds.

Actions in which we have participated include:
Schools Climate Change rallies (Meditation with ARRCC);

Attending the recent first multi faith national ARRC conference at the Centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra in November at which Linda Chapman introduced a meditation session on behalf of WCCM Australia.


(See Linda’s reports on the ARRCC conference and of her environment related initiates in regional NSW. below.)

Action taken by Vikki McDonough in setting up a meditation space at the Nov 28  ACT schools “Climate Change Classroom” in the forecourt of Parliament House.

WCCM Australia has recently participated in a regrouped Faith and Environment Network, FEN --meeting which encompasses a diverse interfaith group based in Sydney, in planning for events relating to World Environment Day in June 2020

Rev. Linda Chapman  http://opensanctuary.weebly.com/
Rector Anglican Parish of Moruya & Open Sanctuary Tilba Tilba

ACMC at National Australian Religious Response to Climate Change Conference (ARRCC), Nov. 2019

Having recently joined the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) organisation it was good for ACMC to be given an opportunity to offer meditation to participants at the initial ARRCC National Conference in Canberra in early November. On the Saturday morning, before the conference began, around 40 people came together  to meditate in the pavilion room at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture where the conference was held.

Rev Linda Chapman, who led the meditation, spoke briefly to locate the place of meditation in climate action. She referred to John Main’s words about distraction being the ‘wish to possess.’ ‘In an acquisitive global culture this wish to possess may be at the heart of our destructive effect on the natural world. The practice of meditation simplifies our desires and enables us to be contemplative in our action’, said Linda before leading the group into 20 minutes of meditation.

Linda’s Parish Activities

(Linda’s home was not damaged in the recent fires which engulfed the NSW South Coast and caused massive damage and loss in her surrounding communities)

“Meditation, as contemplative practice, reminds us of who we are and how to live in a way that may preserve the interconnected community of creation. It heals our aggression and exploitative tendencies. The contemplative practice of meditation is an action of deep listening and it bears the fruit real humility”
 (Linda)

As Rector of the Anglican Parish of Moruya & Open Sanctuary Tilba Tilba , Linda has outlined some action by  their local  Anglican School and parish.

“Earlier this year we organised a 'Climate Conundrum' at the school with Will Steffen as key note speaker together with  Bishop George Browning and others.
In our parish:
 We have installed pvc solar panels on our hall and office and regularly host climate/350.org meetings and events. 

We have just installed a Community Garden. We regularly put climate related signs up on our street billboard. Following our local Global Strike for Climate Action event in Moruya a parishioner and member of our meditation community is now 'keeping vigil' every Friday morning in front of local council chambers for climate action.

At Open Sanctuary we have some solar panels on the roof of the church.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Introduction Climate Change


Environment 

Contact for WCCM Australia Meditation and the Environment:

The language around climate change is changing….now increasingly described as a “climate emergency”.  Recently (May 2019) parliaments in UK and Ireland, soon followed by Canada, declared ‘climate emergencies,’ as did numerous local governments, UN climate experts, environment scientists, school activists and movements such as Extinction Rebellion, and Live the Change (Green Faith). Leaders such as Mary Robinson call for renaming the crisis as ‘Climate Justice’ to also view it as a human rights issue.
How can we reach a tipping point in the politics of climate change?  How do we reach a tipping point in consciousness to bring this about? (See Fr. Laurence’s section in “Tipping Points for a Precarious Future”).
How can we as a global contemplative community contribute more to this change?  A new individual contemplative consciousness of our interconnectedness, of our utter dependence on the natural world and a new collective consciousness is needed.
Action is slow ….opinion divided as to whether it is an economic or a moral issue; whether it is real. There is a lack of political leadership in many countries, lack of trust in scientific expertise, and a reversion to nostalgia for past identities. However, there also an increasingly urgent call for new conversations to address what is a common challenge as we face a new narrative of our future, and for mobilized action with others, not against them.
This is now an issue  requiring and calling forth conversations  between different  fields of expertise all impacted by  the effects of climate change and the  need for urgent action-  psychology, behavioural sciences, physical sciences, economics, business, social justice and education.

ACMC at National Australian Religious Response to Climate Change Conference November 2019

 Having recently joined the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) organisation it was good for ACMC to be given an opportunity to offer meditation to participants at the ARRCC National Conference in Canberra in early November. On the Saturday morning, before the conference began, around 40 people came together in a pavilion room at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture where the conference was held, to meditate. 

Linda Chapman, who led the meditation, spoke briefly to locate the place of meditation in climate action. She referred to John Main’s words about distraction being the ‘wish to possess.’ ‘In an acquisitive global culture this wish to possess may be at the heart of our destructive effect on the natural world. The practice of meditation simplifies our desires and enables us to be contemplative in our action’, said Linda before leading the group into 20 minutes of meditation.

Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.

Laurence Freeman Newsletter (Nov 2018). “the great teachers in our tradition all call us to see that contemplation is seeing and so that the contemplative response to the challenges of our time is the best contribution we can make can make to go forward with hope.”

This year WCCM Australia has become a member of ARRCC- Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. ARRCC is a multi-faith, member-based organisation of people from around Australia who are committed to taking action on climate change, bringing together representatives from all the major faith traditions to work together in addressing climate change. See website above.

As governments, environmentalists, scientists around the world are declaring that we are facing a climate emergency and calling for action, a programme, Living the Change,  which  ARRC is engaging in with a global interfaith community, seems an outreach we can all engage in at a grassroots level bringing to it our contemplative dimension. Living the Change was initiated at the UN Climate Conference in 2017 by the US-based multi-faith organization, GreenFaith, an interfaith organization whose mission is to educate, organize and mobilise people of diverse faiths to become environmental leaders.
“Living the Change: faithful choices for a flourishing world” is a globally-connected community of religious and spiritual institutions working together with sustainable consumption experts to foster sustainable ways of life.  The website above 

Several of our meditation groups are now trialling “Living the Change conversations” as part of our contemplative outreach in this critical area. If you have meditation groups, or possible contemplative outreach areas, you might be interested to participate in offering these conversations, as a contribution from our contemplative community to raise consciousness around the challenges we face. Details can be obtained from janetos239@gmail.com

As part of the WCCM Meditatio Outreach Australia has made a significant contribution since our 2016 Seminar in Sydney and we welcome input from any of our WCCM Aust. events relating meditation and environment. 

Past Australian related events are archived on this blog-spot. and global events can be viewed   at http://www.meditatio.co.uk/environment/