Sunday, 26 July 2009

End of the recession

Apparently the end of the recession is at least five years away, only then will we have returned to the financial situation of early 2008! Just think five years before we are back to a reliance on credit which we can't repay. Five years before the greed of the city institutions is restored. Five years before our elected representatives have stopped worrying about us and gone back to the expenses gravy train. Five years before we stop listening to the people saying it is good to slow down our consumption, good for the planet, good for our health, good for our society.

Wouldn't it be nice to think we could say ENOUGH. We don't want to return to the cycle of boom and bust, endless and pointless celebrity, corporate social irresponsibility, pollution and profligate use of limited resources.

Maybe now is the time to say enough, I don't want to be part of that culture, that society. Maybe it is time to look again at the inconvenient truth, the 11th hour, the teachings of any of the world's great traditions. Time to think about peace, caring, each other rather than corporations and profits. Time to remember that actions have consequences, that maybe the recession can have positive consequences, helping us change for the better. But only if enough of us say ENOUGH. Only if we are engaged, are living for the sake of all beings, human or otherwise, and for the sake of the world we are part of.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Mindfulness in later years

At 4 in the morning, lightning streaking across the sky, thunder crashing, raining as if it was a monsoon and Jess our dog hiding under the bed. Then the phone rings, there is a rescue on, the team have been called out to support a search of Scafell, England's highest mountain. Quickly getting dressed grabbing the rucsac which sits ready to go and down to the base to collect the Land Rover Ambulance, soaking wet before getting much beyond the door.

Then an hours drive to the search area, meet other teams involved, get a briefing and watch the sky brighten as the sun comes out. Two ladies, one in her eighties and the other her 60 yr old daughter, reported missing by the manager of their campsite. The teams deploy in support of the local area team who have been searching all night. A few hours later the message comes through to stand down, they are safe and well and back at their tent!

But the thing is the press are very quick to criticise and yet these ladies were mindful. They had been walking in the area for a few days (along with their three dogs). They were carrying the right equipment so had been mindful of risks. They realised it was getting dark so took the decision to stop and take shelter, mindful of avoiding injury or getting lost trying to get down from the mountain in the dark. They slept in their shelter, along with the dogs until it was light and made their way back, not knowing what had happened in the meantime, that the campsite manager, mindful of two people not returning had taken action.

The rescue teams are made up of people (all unpaid volunteers) who are mindful of others. Mindful of the dangers we all face, that things can go wrong and in practising mindfulness exhibit compassion for the well being of others, that's why as volunteers they turn out in a storm and the dark, to go to the aid of others less fortunate. So the whole episode involved mindfulness practice. The only thing the ladies could perhaps have done was left a route card with someone so the teams knew where to start looking.

But let's not forget that these ladies were also practicing being mindful of nature, that's why they were walking in the area. Mindful of their health, while some over 60's sit at home watching daytime TV these ladies were mindfully working on their fitness, protecting their health. Mindful of each other and others, that's why they stopped, had the right gear etc.

And as for the teams, anyone safe is always a good result!