Sunday, 2 March 2008

What is the Antonym for Ataraxia?

I'm struggling at the moment with a couple of concepts.

The first and most uppermost in my mind right now is the concept of the utter and final desecration of our Earth by Western Civilization.

I'm not sure why I just awarded those capitals.

Everywhere I look I see evidence of the big corporates and the governments of the world (yes indeed, including my own) pillaging the irreplaceable contents of the world, exploiting indigenous peoples of the world, and basically murdering the world. I see good evidence, too, to place this immoral looting on the mindset of the people of said Western Civilization (see, I did it again). That is, on the upbringing, schooling and enculturation of each of us born into this abusive, exploitative, selfish society. And yes, that includes myself.

There is such a pervasive inability to see beyond tomorrow's bank balance in almost every one of these folk that I admit I have started to despair. Even those Pagans whose outlook is far more Earth-friendly than the average Christian have startled me at times with an inability or an unwillingness to grasp the essential fact of our planet's demise.

I'm God, yes.

I'm a bloody wrathful God right now.

Watching a short documentary on telly (made in this county) explaining and extolling the virtues of Buddhism cast me into a further turmoil.

I love some of the Buddhist precepts - universal compassion, Big Mind, the essential deity of all things - but I couldn't help feeling, watching this program, that many Buddhists are running away.

They seem to have found a bolt hole in the disturbed fabric of Being Human on Earth which consists of finding and exploring the universe within, and to hell (not in so many words of course, and with fine-sounding sops in soundbytes) with the exterior.

Hey , Buddhists- stop running away! You don't have the Christian excuse (despicable as it is) of the Earth being here solely for our domination, and its upcoming End as a reason to celebrate.

Compassion, you say, extends to the very rocks and trees, never mind the fish and fowl who feed us. They're dying, to the tune of 200 species a day, you twits. Where is your compassion? More to the point, does it do a damn bit of good?

And here I come to the crux of my own terrible frustration.

I love being able to sit zazen before my altar, emptying my mind of all and just bask in the suchness of it all. I adore practising Bodhichitta, cycling and recycling love outward from my heart toward all creation.

But raising a purely Pagan sacred circle, I become aware of the elementals, those souls of our material being. I converse with Pied Crows and communicate with Coltsfoot. And each of these is directly threatened- dying, poisoned or standing on the brink of not-being for all time - by the direct actions of myself and the culture which raised me.

Getting angry may be the necessary first step. But by Gods I have to find some way to accommodate this anger.

Doing something concrete-something a bit more than a spot of guerrilla gardening and railing against civilisation- now seems to me the only way out.