If all goes well, by the end of this episode, you’ll feel inspired to shut down your electronic devices, stow your earbuds, and go outside to scan the skies, dig in the dirt, watch the wildlife, or find some other healthy way to pay attention to the natural world.
I’ve learned that I need to work on my own grief because it’s the only way I can access the depths within myself that are requisite of these times. Only then am I able to be clear about what is most important, and what my next right step should be.
Josef Pieper suggested that our fixation on busyness stems from modern man’s suspicion of grace: “man seems to mistrust everything that is effortless; he can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired with toil and trouble; he refuses to have anything as a gift.”
In discussing climate change and all our other eco-social predicaments, how does one distinguish accurate information from statements intended to elicit either false hope or needless capitulation to immediate and utter doom? And, in cases where pessimistic outlooks do seem securely rooted in evidence, how does one psychologically come to terms with the information?
I was intrigued as to what impact living in a state of ‘Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder’ might have on the human imagination, on its ability to flourish, and to imagine the future in positive ways. Are we all, to one degree or another, living in a state of ‘Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder’?
It was in an article about Eric that I first came across the term ‘pre-traumatic stress disorder’, a topic we’ll explore more in a future podcast. How does that impact the imagination, I wondered? So, when I chatted to Eric, I started by asking him to tell us a bit about that journey he went on, of injecting very real human emotion into a field that usually limits itself to facts, figures and data.
My point in writing this article wasn’t that I don’t use appliances or am against technology, but rather, that we need to use our hands more. Or as another person wrote “Many of us have one foot in the modern world and another in the world we think is likely to come”. Exactly!
How do you envision yourself at age eighty? Do you want to be active, mobile, and of sound mind and body? Or do you think you’ll be lucky just to be alive? Good health is not luck.
I want to tell you what I know about shikataganai. I learned it in an empty prison, a long way from anywhere, and understood it as I sat in meditation in a garden in the middle of that prison. I offer it to you as a gift, as it was offered to me.
You feel what you feel, you do what you can, and you try not to carry the weight of every errant carbon molecule on your shoulders. Everyone else is carrying that weight, too, whether they’ve dealt with it or not — and most are just as lost as you are. You help them figure out their thing that they can do, rather than tell them what they should be doing. You try to be patient. And doing all of these things, is what will keep you from giving up hope.
You are too important to squander your energy being miserable. Indeed, even if you don’t have hope, you owe it to yourself to lead a contented, useful life. Let me explain.
Ultimately what sustains me is a rather heady cocktail of stubbornness, optimism, a strong faith in the human spirit and in other people, rage, a deep wish to live a life of service to others, the thrill of seeing people step up and take their lives into their own hands, all coupled with a deep sense of urgency. It works for me.