SUBHEAD: Distilled down as far as possible, a connection is the quantum unit of the sacred. [Editor's Note: We have enjoyed publishing several of Mr. Chefurka's articles over the last year or so. This one appears to be the last from his current website. We hope to hear more from him in the future.]

By Paul Chefurka on 2 September 2009 in Limits to Growth - http://paulchefurka.ca

image above: Photo of Paul Chefurka from his website. http://www.paulchefurka.ca/Introduction.html

Over the past few years I have used this site as a notebook to record my thoughts about our global civilization in the face of crisis. I've focussed on the converging crises of ecology, energy and economics – all of them driven by an expanding human population with growing material wants. As my investigation has progressed I've experienced a range of very intense feelings, from amazement, disbelief and outrage through resignation, despair and bone-deep cynicism to transformation, optimism and finally to hope.

In the process I've attempted at all times to respond to the world as it truly is, both in terms of the physical circumstances that we have helped create on our shared planet and the qualities of the human beings that share it. As my responses have developed I've also tried to apply the same honesty and realism to my personal reactions.

Being human, I have not always been successful at being honest about my own reactions, as my long sojourn in existential darkness amply demonstrated. Instead of recognizing my bleak feelings as a momentary, personal truth that was driven purely by my inner states, I mistook them for some sort of Absolute Truth. As I viewed world events through this barren filter, I indulged in long chains of confirmation bias and bent the meaning of the events I analyzed to fit and validate my own cynicism.

Just to be clear here, my perceptions about the physical world were not wrong. The evidence for climate change, the degradation of virtually all the ecological domains we have touched, the limits to growth implied by Peak Oil and the risks posed by the excessive complexity of our globalized civilization are all too real.

How we as individuals choose to respond to those physical facts, however, is an entirely different matter. Here we enter the realm of interpretations, values and meanings. Each of us will respond to the same set of facts in a different way depending on our inner state. Some of our responses may be helpful, others may not be. What one person sees as a glorious challenge, another may see as evidence of failure. I may perceive a situation as an invitation to shake off old ways and build a very different future; someone else may see the need to tighten up, refine or enforce existing ways; yet another may simply say the problem is too large and give up.

To some, choosing to shake off old ways and build a very different future can look a lot like giving up. We may even accuse those who are looking for a complete change of direction of being quitters if we are very attached to the old ways they are trying to shake off. For instance, we may be attached to our economic system, our desire for material growth, cars, air conditioning, television, packaged food or our legal and educational systems. For every person who suggests we might live perfectly happy lives without one or another of these things there will be a host of others with reasons why such a change is undesirable, unacceptable, impractical or even impossible.

In the end, though, change has always been inevitable. Our living circumstances have changed dramatically over the years, centuries and millennia. What humans have always done in the face of change is adapt to whatever new situation we found ourselves in.

Remarkably, we have always managed to find great amounts of happiness no matter how constrained our physical situation became. The root of this happiness has always been in our sense of connection. In the core of ourselves, only connections truly matter to us. My earlier despair arose from my sense of separation, of disconnectedness, of isolation. As I rediscovered my sense of connection – to my community, my world, the universe and my own true self – my despair, loneliness and cynicism washed away. In its place I rediscovered wonder, boundless joy, deep love and a sense of optimism that was simply inconceivable a couple of years ago. As I have explored this new interconnected realm I have traveled many paths that would have been similarly inconceivable to me just a short time ago. I recognized quickly that this new landscape was best described by the word "spiritual", though even that word seems somehow impoverished compared to the richness of the actual experience. Like all word symbols it has been given various meanings by our culture – meanings that in most cases bear only slim resemblance to reality.

Each path I have explored has revealed its kernel of truth and has given up a nugget of value. Deep Ecology, pantheism, Taoism, Zen and other forms of Buddhism, shamanism and Earth worship, the mystic experiential cores of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism, the free-form spiritual experimentation of New Age thought, Tantra, Theosophy – the list goes on and on.

While I am still at the very beginning of this extraordinary journey, one idea has taken root in me. It's an idea that I see expressed in different forms in virtually all of these streams, and it's very simple:

The reality we experience exists because of its connections. Everything is connected, ultimately, to everything else. This applies to physical things like quarks, galaxies, plants and animals, as well as to non-physical things like ideas, social structures, actions, intentions and our inner Self.

Distilled down as far as possible, this idea becomes:

"A connection is the quantum unit of the sacred."

As I travel though this new land, I've come to realize that our consciousness and awareness determine the nature of the world we build from all those inward projections of the outer world. The old maxim "Know Thyself" has never been more urgent. The spreading "Gaian antibody" movement of environmental and social groups that I've described in various articles, along with the world-wide explosion of spiritual awakenings like mine are evidence that this sense of urgency is being felt by millions upon millions of people. In their own way each one is answering a call, and I have joined this rising tide.

I am now closing this notebook to which I have been so fiercely devoted for the last few years. It's time to follow a new direction. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has followed and encouraged my explorations. I've made amazing connections through this work, and it has been a privilege to share these connections with all of you. I will be leaving the web site intact, and all the material here will remain available.

I wish you joy, I wish you love, I wish you success in your chosen path. But most of all I wish you Grace – that boundless, soundless shout of joy through which the universe answers us back.

Bodhisantra see also:

Ea O Ka Aina: Guardians of Hierarchy 7/22/09 Ea O Ka Aina: Meat Computers with Cultural Programs 4/28/09 Ea O Ka Aina: We Are Only Human 3/29/09 Ea O Ka Aina: Responding to the Crisis 2/20/09 Ea O Ka Aina: The New Normal 12/6/08 Island Breath: Don't Worry About Collapse I of III 8/2/08 Island Breath: Cultural Change at the Limits to Growth 6/9/08

1 comment :

Bodhisantra Paul Chefurka said...

I would like to thank IslandBreath for republishing some of my work. I have enjoyed your site as well, with its commitment to "truth with a Hawaiian flavor". It's very likely that I'll be back on the net at some point to share new insights, but for now I need to refocus my energies to respond to the shift that is already upon us.

If I may, I'd like to recommend to your readers the remarkable phenomenon that is coming out of the Oneness University in Chennai, India. While it may not be of universal interest (what could be?) it may be exactly what some are seeking as they confront the change.

Deepest love to all beings,

Post a Comment