This home unveils my life’s liturgy.
I cannot drink fully through eyes and skin without this place,
my lifetime rebirthing space.
This story starts with an eight-year old boy who knew there was something different about him. He worried that it might be different in a way like boys are different than girls, but this difference had no name. An alone kind of different. Possibly a “special” kind of different, or a “differently-abled” kind of difference, but maybe just a bad kind of different.
He worried about it a lot. But, mostly he put it away and just went on as-if he were different from other people like his brother was different from his two sisters, and his younger sister was different from his older sister, and all four of the kids were different than his Mom and Dad, who were kinda the same, in a creepy sort of “we are the adults” kinda way.
His sister Kerry was also his best friend. They even looked like twins, lotsa people said so. Maybe it would be better if his best friend were his cousin Steve, cause he was a boy, after all, and Steve was born just a month after him. He liked Steve, but he usually had more fun with Kerry, even though she was two years younger. He liked making her happy, protecting her, helping her play with her dolls, being “Dad” while she played “Mom.” They were better together, on those sun-drenched summer afternoons, on a wool plaid blanket covering the prickly grass, than they were apart, usually. Sometimes he would forget to be kind, but Kerry blossomed with trust, and only seldom needed help from Mom to be able to forgive his lapses. After all, he was just a boy, and she instinctively knew that boys are sometimes difficult, and different.
One day the boy was riding through their south field on the back of the tractor while his dad drove back toward the barn. He saw an owl whose wing had tangled in the barbed-wire fence. His dad didn’t seem interested, but he was riveted.
Later that day he had time to walk back to the fence, carrying a huge boot-box he found in with the gardening supplies. He really didn’t expect the owl to still be there, but it also seemed like the owl was there to meet him. Still quite distant, coming over the rise in the field, he could see that the owl’s wing remained hanging from the barbed-wire, but the rest of the owl was lying on his back in the fence row.
He was approaching gently when the owl’s enormous eyes popped open.
“What took you so long?”
“My dad didn’t think I could help you.”
“Well, he was right about that, but I have a message for you. Put me in that box you brought but please make a bed of grass in the bottom first. Did you bring any water? I am dying of thirst here.”
“No, I didn’t think of it.”
“Did you bring anything you can put water in?”
“Just my hands. I can carry a little in my hand, from the creek.”
The boy did that, making several trips. While most of the water ran off the owl’s chest, he did open wide and seemed to be swallowing OK.
Not being able to hear the owl’s voice anymore, the boy figured the owl had fallen asleep, so he carried the now surprisingly heavy box, in stages, back to the tool shed. Then he went to the kitchen to see if he could come up with a few scraps of meat, or catch some flies, because surely the owl must be hungry too.
But, the owl continued to sleep until the next day when the boy carried the heavy box out of the dark tool shed and into the shaded outdoors, when those amazing eyes popped open again.
“Did you find any hamburger?”
“No, just a few dead flies.”
“No thanks, really. Never mind, just more water please.”
The owl did take more water, but, to the boy’s great dismay, he could see that swallowing was much more difficult this morning, slower, kinda scary for the owl to get it down and continue breathing.
“Enough for now. I want you to bring a shovel, take me to the highest point in the cowlane, and dig a hole large enough for this bed of grass, me, and my wing.”
The boy was heavy with grief. Meeting the owl had created a bubble around him that not even his sister Kerry could share. He had wanted to tell her about the owl, and he had shown her the owl, but she was astoundingly disinterested; no more than briefly curious about seeing the magnificent Great Horned Owl.
“Boy owls must be stupid to fly into a fence. You never see girl owls behaving like that.”
Wow, six years old, and already a militant feminist, thought the boy.
Anyway, he decided against telling her that he could hear the owl’s voice in his head because he was quite sure she couldn’t, even when the owl was awake, and he worried that hearing this voice might have something to do with how he was different. Maybe that was why the owl had a message for him. He felt less alone, and afraid, with that hope. But now, one day later, he knew he was going to have to say good-bye to his owl. This owl was not meant to be a pet. He was a messenger, and soon he would be alone again, with his message. This already made the boy very sad.
Even worse, it was unthinkable that he had failed to give this noble creature life. The planet should be weeping with him, but the sun continued to shine, and the spring blossoms continued to beam their pinks and yellows. The grass continued to be lusciously green.
As the boy was finishing his horrible digging, the owl opened his eyes and caught him sobbing. Now he was embarrassed, and sad, and confused.
“Don’t be sad, you did your best. That’s all I was hoping for. Yes, I am about to leave you with your message, but for me that is ‘mission accomplished.’ In all the important, however invisible, ways, many more like you will always be with you. You will feel alone, but you will not be alone. You will think you know how and why you are different, and you will be right, eventually, but not until you are quite old, like me. It will take the accumulation of considerable wisdom to understand your message, and your purpose. Unfortunately, your species has become ensnared in accumulating knowledge, while slighting the overwhelming significance of wisdom. But, that brings me to your message, a prophecy, actually.”
There will come a time when all life on Earth is in danger. At that time great powers have arisen, civilized powers. And although they waste their wealth in annihilating one another, these powerful nations have much in common. Among these common things are weapons of unfathomable destructive power, and scars caused by separating a productive life from a worthy life, separating the value of a human life from the value of a worthy life, separating the value of caring for human life from the esteem of a noble and wise life. It is just at this point in our history when the future of all beings seems to hang by the frailest of threads, that you will find the Shaman Warriors.
You are a Shaman but you cannot go to where we live because we do not have a place. Your Shaman Tribe exists in the hearts and minds of all Shaman warriors. You can’t tell whether someone is a Shaman warrior just by looking at her or him, because these warriors wear no uniforms or insignia. They have no banners to identify whose side they’re on, no barricades on which to climb to threaten enemies or behind which to rest and regroup. They have no home turf. The Shaman have only the Wo-Man Dream of the civilized powers to move across and act on:
Step out with me,
if you would be so kind,
on my melting island of ice.
Full-heated summer sun
feels good on our backs and shoulders
and faces turned down and in to hunt,
We start this day with gratitude
for warmth of light and life.
Empathize with polar bears,
or try to.
Not merely sympathize;
step onto their/our natural icy place and time,
noticing ways bears bare our own lack of global justice
and for ourselves.
we fear human rights and justice
are not ecojustice enough
to sustain optimized and inclusive life
and Continuous Quality Improvement investments
with minimized risk of loss.
We feel like we live on a shrinking island
of hopelessly competitive despair.
We feel climatic heat melting our angry and fearful interior
and exterior landscapes of nutritional potential.
We fear drowning in an understory
of melted cooperative permacultural boundary waters
of natural systemic immersion,
swimming in an icy northern sea
of metamorphic submersion.
We hunger for a lost hunting paradise
of cooperatively synergetic love.
We feel homeless unto a catastrophic miraculous death.
Death dreams in constellations of encultured space,
dynamic time invested in frequencies of place,
Life is what we absorb each day,
divest of each night.
Time is what regenerates future
and decomposes past.
Economic balance is found in nutrients we produce,
not toxins we consume.
Eco-logic ratios and rations
portions and proportions
entifies and gives and dispossesses
rectifies and takes and coredeems
plants and harvests
winnows and composts
thins and nurtures
blames and praises
stimulates and responds
causes and effects and affects and infects and defects and reflects
dislikes and values
lives and decays
orders and confuses
confluates and dissonates
frowns down upon and within and smiles up and without
curses and blesses.
Would it not be good to balance justice
so everything adds up without remainder
double-bound smooth-structured perfection,
mutually justified margins
balancing all sides of any story and issue,
correctly aligned judgment,
a logically normative standard,
a natural law
inclusive of all Earth’s living, breathing values and nutrients,
and elusive of all EarthTribal pathologies
and wilting economies,
summer seared deserts
as polar bares?
Our ecotherapy calls for more cooperative gardens
and revolving rhyming analogical norms
for economic behavior,
Golden practice and intent
emerging from ancient threads of transmillennialism.
Post-Taoist multisystemic analysis
of Nature Balancing Time’s Right
to struggle and suffer
regenerating our metamorphic root co-operative system
of, for, and by Time’s Equi-Valent Justice,
in four primally dipolar/bipolar fractal dimensions,
to site our most regenerative example,
a universal story
found in each permacultural cell:
We want to cooperate an eight acre rotting estate and convert it into an ecovillage. As we pass by the half dozen log cabin structures, built around a rheumatic, yet lushly charming, apple orchard, we head toward our future nearest neighbor.
Actually, our only future neighbor residing within a mile of our wildly abandoned estate. We want to represent the Solidarity Ecovillage intention to this neighbor, and invite her to participate in a permaculture design interview. Basically, we want to find out if she is with us, against us, couldn’t care less about us one way or the other, and, if her reaction suggests an ally, to include her, and her aspirations for her incarnation, in this Global Ecovillage development plan.
The neighbor’s name is Gaia. Gaia What, no one seems to know. There are rumors, mostly benign and gentle, that she roots back to the Iroquois, and is eccentric in a shaman-ish way. This should be interesting.
Gaia: Who are you?
Eco: Our names are O-liver, and we are here as your future neighbors to learn how we can be good neighbors for you.
Gaia: I have been expecting your question for rather too long. It is a good question, an important one, so I wrote you some suggestions about what I think would be helpful.
Here, take it with you. If you have any further questions after reading it, you are welcome to return any time. My home is your home.
And with that, Gaia handed us a scroll and gently, but firmly, almost abruptly, closed her heavy door.
Eventually we turned around, headed back toward the orchard where we knew of the perfect log, and the perfect vista, for reading–most anything–but especially this Gaia scroll.
The late-morning sun radiated gentle October warmth as we read:
Thank you for your compassionate intent to practice remembering that we are all in this mess, and this potential paradise, together.
There are 4 interdependent principles in learning how to live regeneratively on this planet.
The first of these you have heard from land use planners, real-estate agents, community and economic developers: Notice the potential highest and best use of all resources and nutrients, all property, all people, all species.
The second is similar,but moves from noticing, toward understanding, from using to sustaining. How can we achieve the most abundant effect, and affect, with the least effort, cost, dissonance, chaos?
Combining these first two principles results in the Golden Rule of Regenerative Development: Optimize integrity by deeply learning inclusively holistic potential. In other words, intend and practice today what we all want to wake up to tomorrow.
Our greatest, most holistic, most resilient, most regenerative potential is discovered through Deep Listening together, the intentional practice of compassion. Deep Learning begins with deeply listening, noticing, and slowly, integrally, inclusively discerning a shared vision of optimized potential intent. This is true whether your shared vocation is to build a regenerative interior landscape, or exterior landscape. It is optimally and inclusively and resiliently true if your intent is to build a regenerative interior/exterior landscape together. Our species’ “Commons,” like the Commons of your Solidarity EcoVillage, expands inward and outward, fertilized by rich, abundant, diversity when we notice, listen, and fully value our current situation.
Fully valuing our current potential brings us to the 3rd principle of Regenerative Development: the Principle of Complementarity. Our Species’ Interior Landscape AND Exterior Landscape are complementary perspectives on one thermodynamically balanced NATURAL Landscape. Humans, at our best, bicamerally learn about our profoundly balanced and harmonious potential within a richly nutritious ecology of nutrients, energy. The “essential orientation of human nature,” to borrow a phrase from the 14th Dalai Lama is scientifically and religiously emerging as the essential orientation of all nature: thermodynamic balance is an Exterior Landscape way of cognizing the theo-dynamic balance of our Interior Landscape.
What we are trying to become, our teleological, and thermodynamic, mission as Earth’s bicamerally-reflective Species, with least effort and cost, suffering and resistance, violence and dissonance, is our highest and best regenerative potential. The most abundantly valued vocation for every intentional community, every faith community, every school, every farm, every government, every recreation center, every health care facility, every human service agency, every family, every individual, is to become the very best balanced Regenerative Research and Design Center possible, given current situations, developing compassionate understanding of complementarity between our natural Interior and Exterior Landscapes.
In our inclusive Research and Design ecology, we recognize communication and thought as information nutrients, with the potential to build up or dissemble, to increase confluence, or contribute to dissonance. The Principle of Complementarity is both spatially and temporally dimensioned. Its spatial dimension spreads across the Interior and Exterior natural landscapes. Its temporal flow dimension is either toward confluence, or toward dissonance, with complementary balance defined in physics and systems theory as intrinsic thermodynamically-valued polarity. What goes up must come down. What goes in must come back out.
The intrinsic value-balance within all religions, all faith paradigms, follows these same complementary patterns: As before, so after. As above, so below. As within, so without. If Self, then Other. If Yang, then Yin. If Becoming (regenerating), then Being. If sociotherapy, then sociopathology. If sociopathology, then sociotherapy. If confluence, then the potential for dissonance. If dissonance, then the potential for confluence. As theo-dynamism within, so thermo-dynamism without.
The 4th principle of Regenerative Development is the Principle of Holistic Subsidiarity. In systems theory, optimized abundant values matriculate up from integrated/confluent individuals and families, through neighborhoods, to communities, sub-regions, regions, and globally inclusive ecological integrity. There is no such thing as a “natural” division between sustainable economic wealth and ecological integrity. Economies are value-transfer systems within the ecological health of our relationships.
The Principle of Subsidiarity is commonly understood, and sometimes practiced, as retaining choice authority at the lowest effective level of function. The form of our self-governance wisely follows functional practice and intent. It is most holistically efficient to leave our current effectiveness at the lowest level of functional autonomy. If I find my life and environment to be richly nutritious, satisfying, meaningful, fulfilling, then it would be a violation of this Principle of Subsidiarity for the Solidarity EcoVillage to even intend to fix what I believe is not broken.
Our current suffering has to do with those times, places, situations, when there is disagreement about which is most important, the Principle of Holistic Subsidiarity or the Principle of Complementarity. For example, if I am a cancerously expanding tumor within your brain, then you and I would probably disagree about which is the currently effective lowest level of functional autonomy. If I am a parasitic species, overpopulating and devouring a planetary ecosystem, causing great trauma to the planet, such as climatic dissonance and the extinction of species diversity, then the Principle of Complementarity reminds us to listen to our pathology because it is our complementary and wise instruction.
We recognize communication and thoughts as nutrient-value events. The lack of healthy, balanced nutrients is implicated, or potentiated, information of great value because of our faith in holisitic subsidiarity, and balanced thermodynamic complementarity. If we have a Whole System, then we have subsidiary parts. If the subsidiary parts forget the Principle of Holistic Subsidiarity, forget that efficacy is discerned within our intention for sustained whole-system regeneration, then our resulting sociopathology reminds us that our Internal/External health and wealth find therapeutic value by improving their complementarity. This provides us with both a positive and negative feedback loop. Both loops are needed for regenerative self-care, people-care, and Earth-care. Dissonance teaches us about the possibility of confluence. Confluence teaches us about the synchronization of balanced holistic subsidiarity.
The Principle of Complementarity is to Yang-imbalance as the Principle of Subsidiarity is to Yin-imbalance. The natural law of thermodynamic polarity balance, whole-system harmony, holds together all four Deep Ecology principles of regenerative systems development.
“Waste” is inefficiency, loss, dissonance and is heuristically held as a potential resource; a suffering that may teach us something we would like to learn. Waste, loss, harm management are all about planning sustained self-organization and self-maintenance through balanced sub-system subsidiarity and whole-system complementarity. This balance optimizes learning (highest and best use of our information ecology) while minimizing loss of thermodynamic balance, or dissonance, and ineffective sustenance, internally and externally.
Community builders, faith community organizers, intentional community developers, public dialogue facilitators, economists, ecologists, even lobbyists, recognize that where you end up is hugely and persistently boundaried by where you start out. Our self-regenerating landscapes value diversely entwined root systems, mutually defining and enriching, mutually protecting and promoting, nutritiously and lavishly seeded investments that will flower to reincarnate our Original Intent, our hope-filled active gratitude for Re-Creating most fully and bountifully together forever. Regenerative intention is the faith infrastructure that underlies the universe of religion, ecology, and Systems Design. Permaculture Design is our ecosystemic metaphor currently on pilgrimage toward a holistic, thermodynamic, Regenerative Systems Development Theory of permanent evolution.
Permanent evolution of regenerational life-systems is revolutionary; it sings “Why Life?”
Why does dawn dress morning,
while dusk undresses sight?
Each dawn incarnates another Earth Day
as Easter morning’s redeeming revolution,
another day of gift-it-forward light,
some shorter before naked covered night.
To uncover love’s enlighting invitation,
integrity’s eco-creative comprehensive meaning.
To discover love life sustained
as Earthdependent ego-death’s belonging.
To recover co-passion’s perpetual peaceful pilot light,
decomposing fire’s burning fuel rate
and flow toward warm home health
and eternal sight.
repurposing of people,
Recreation unfolds redemptive revolutions,
dawning/darkening new each moment
expanding each day to contract each night
and co-operating species,
paradigm and meme,
language and information,
form as dynamically integrating function,
inclusive conscience as evolving consciousness,
each loving act of mutual gravity’s emergence,
ego-eco zero-solidarity practice.
Therapeutic intent to rehabit and repurpose
grows internally nutritious inspirational DNA roots,
externally natural trans-generational branches,
ecological economics healing cooperative Paradise Lost
within our Tree of Life and Death,
and without our Tree of Languaged “Good” and “Evil,”
comprehensive polymorphic rooted organic landscapes
of Ego absorbing SuperEcoing Earth’s co-arising systems.
Language both fertilizes and farms,
produces and consumes
echoes and enthymemes
nouns and verbs
subjects and objectives
grows and harvests
induces and deduces,
inhales and exhales
yangs and yins
optimizes and purges
lives and decompositionally dyes
universalizes and unites polyculturing vision
polymorphs and polypaths.
Speech and thought can both rehabit and repurpose understanding,
co-passion feeds con-science
as anthrocentric peace fills out ecojustice.
DNA’s temporal analysis decomposes to recreate cultural memory,
image evolving imagination,
hope co-arising faith,
despairing dreams predicting sintaxing cultural decay,
raping eco-screams restricting life’s potential,
universal dark negentropy swallowing and regurgitating
inhaling and exhaling
Earth’s teleosynthetic life of time-squared light,
both dissonance and confluence,
chaotic energy swelling complex matter,
double-negatives justifying ecological positive,
contentiousness challenging co-operating contentedness,
fearing ego-death inviting beloved full eco-climax life,
longing creating belonging.
Noticing dipolar relationships,
Ego-yangs within not-not Eco-yin’s Earth flight,
enriches polypathic fields of analogical Win-Win reiterate perception,
growing consciousness of interdependent iconic-ionic paradigms,
Double Dark dynamic love between weeds and seedy flowers,
brother and sister transparent organic farm
of deeply resonant ecologic.
Bi-id-entified RNA rests simply silent void
growing confidence in SuperEco’s compelling righteous revolution
spilling discontented longing roots
investing regenerate co-passion’s peacefilled leafing NOW.
SuperEco is to Yang/Yin integrative power potential
as Id-entity is to Yang/Yin voiceless harmony,
listening discernment to and of and in and by DNA’s regenerative systems,
as non-violent intent is to recreative peace and ecojustice practice,
as inclusive intuitive conscience grows co-passion’s Beloved Community.
Decompositional function of polynomial binary/binomial language
grows information’s reverse hierarchy QByte octaved bicameral systems,
where Right-brain not-not polynomial
rediscovers binomial space as fractal time’s construction,
revolving double-boundaried resolution of eternal time,
co-relational meeting of infinitely omnipresent past with omni-potent future:
Time begat space,
energy begat matter,
function begat form,
as Yin begat Yang.
Concave begat convex,
negative-squared begat positive,
ionic waves begat radiant sprays,
as NotBinomial Function begat Binomial Information.
Consumption begat production,
parasites begat Hosts,
electrons begat protons,
as monoculture begat polycultures.
Non-aversion begat co-arising prehension,
possession begat co-enslavement,
ignorance begat noise,
as listening begat mentoring.
Past begat future,
negentropy begat synergy,
diastatic effectiveness begat nondual cause,
as investment begat redemption.
Air begat fire,
water begat Earth,
health begat wealth,
ecological value begat economic power,
as decomposition begat regenerative metamorphosis.
Justice begat peace,
peace begat love,
listening begat speaking,
as permaculture design begat polycultural liturgy.
Redemption begat regeneration,
purgation begat enlightenment,
eco begat ego,
as economic cooperative justice begat ecological balance.
So, just maybe two wrongs could make a right,
space is to time
as matter forms energy,
convex forms concave’s exterior,
as YinYin nondually reflexes Yang.
Form is to function
as positive is to negative
as grasping prehension is to non-dual non-violence,
as sin and ignorance appear to those possessed by dysfunction.
Production is to consumption
as Host is to parasitic relationship
as Earth is to water,
as Permacultural Design is to Polycultural Flow and Development.
Radiant light is to ionic gravitational dual-dark relationship waves
as protons are to duelling electrons
as future is to history’s past,
as regenerative creativity predicts bicameral decomposition.
Synergy is to negentropy
as fire is to air,
as synaptic is to aptic,
as information is to noise.
Investment is for redemption
as cause is for effectiveness,
as wealthy power is for optimizing healthy ecovalue,
as teaching is for mentoring.
Polycultures are to monoculture
as speaking is to listening,
as love is to active internal peace,
as peace is to ecojustice.
Big Bang dense and noisy negentropic polycultural information
begat permacultural positive evolution toward comprehensive Beloved light,
as NotNotPolynomial Function is to Polynomial Information,
as ecojustice is to ecotherapy,
as history is to culture,
as Yang is to Yin-squared,
as +1 is to (-,-)0 binary ergodic potentiated balance.
Regenerate function of language creates,
subjects objectives to empirical scrutiny,
nouns verb toward analogical futurity,
bright dawns both ecologically wise and economically (0)-summed co-operative,
fueling Earth’s Win-Win co-passioning power toward globally peaceful justice.
Eco-systemic comprehension both fuels and farms permacultural love,
organic ecotherapy for all four economic seasons,
including advent’s winterish purgation,
winnowing Identity’s weedy monocultural/monomial root assumptions,
composting Earth Tree’s rehabiting spring branches
stretching out gravity’s mutual gratitude
toward Omniscientific Eco’s radiant bi-temporal light.
Why regenerate living?
Why not decompose co-arising light?
Speaking of evolution, some of the Solidarity EcoVillage wanna-be’s are familiar with Thomas Kuhn’s Theory of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn became somewhat obsessed with an issue about knowledge; the Problem of Incommensurability. How can we be sure that we are using language to signify the same thing, or different things, or things that stand in the same relationship to other things, or not? How can we predict if a new idea will lead to the evolution of an entirely new paradigm, a new scientific theory, or whether it will not really become part of our culture, our way of seeing the world? How can I be sure that my values are, or are not, commensurable with your values, your thoughts, your communications, what feeds you, or causes you despair or anguish and suffering? How can I reliably predict that what I propose, what I notice and try to understand, will inform your interior landscape in the same way that it informs mine?
A theory of regenerative evolution responds to Kuhn’s Problem of Incommensurability with recognizing dissonance and complexity as more than hopeless suffering and confusion. We intend and practice active Complementarity, a compassionate faith that within dissonance lies the fertilizer of potential information. The issue of imbalance between intentions, the disparities of diverse practices and pilgrimages and paradigms, contains the seeds of a universally commensurable meaning. In this way, our pathological fears and concerns point us toward hope and faith in the potential for a more deeply integrated relationship. Compassion, empathy, Deep Learning, plus significant dissonant complexity, inspires revolutionary development toward understanding, integrity, resilience, inclusively rich information and nutrition; solidarity.
Our thermodynamically-balanced exterior informs our theo-dynamic interior, as Permaculture Design potentiates Regenerative Creation. The difference between Deep Learning and Deep Ecology is that one actively hopes for interior regeneration while the other also hopes for exterior regeneration.
Your grateful neighbor,
As we roll up Earth’s fragile scroll, we couldn’t think of any more questions, so we headed back home, not quite the same way we arrived.
to our melting ice home,
did we find this ecojustice,
or did RNA find and intelligently develop us,
or both somehow?
Only eternal remembered time’s unfolding
will tell upon refolding.
Your time will come when great courage is required of the Shaman warriors—moral and physical courage. You will go right into the heart of the civilized powers to dismantle their weapons, and confront their scars. You will go into the pits and citadels where their weapons and scars are made. Together, you are going into the corridors of power where the decisions are made. In this way you will work to dismantle weapons and heal the scars of civilization.
Know that their damage can be dismantled because they are mind-made. As they have been made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind. These dangers you face are not brought on by some unchangeable preordained fate. Rather, these dangers arise out of separations, disvalue for caregiving, lack of relationship and habits, out of outgrown priorities.
The Great Horned Owl closed his eyes. The boy, ever so much gently as possible, eased the owl onto the now not-so-fresh bed of grass and straw, weeping openly now at his loss. The confirmation that he was some kind of unlikely orphan in a hostile land was far more upsetting than any consolation from the news that he was only visibly—and perhaps audibly?—alone. Without any opening of the vast owl eyes, the boy sensed, more than heard, You must train in the use of two implements. One is compassion—yang energy. The other is insight into the radically nondual interdependence of all phenomena—yin-squared energy.
You need both. You need the compassion of yang because it provides the fuel to move you out to where you need to be and to do what you need to do. It means not being afraid of the suffering of your world, and when you are not afraid of the world’s pain, then nothing can stop you.
But, by itself, yang is so hot it will burn you out. So you need yin energy, unitarian insight into the radical interconnectivity of all that is. When you can see this synergy, then you know that this is not a battle between the good guys and the bad guys. You know that the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every heart. And you know that we are so interwoven in the web of life that even our smallest acts have repercussions that ripple through the whole web, beyond our capacity to see. Yin, separated from yang, can be too cold, too abstract, too presumptuous, too intuitive, too scary, actually. So you also need the heat of yang’s compassion.
[Adapted from Active Hope, The Shambhala Warrior Prophecy, pp. 101-103, as told to Joanna Macy (text authored with Chris Johnstone) by Dugu Choegyal Rinpoche, Tashi Jong, India. 2012, New World Library, Novato, CA]
With the word “compassion” the Great Horned Spirit exhaled his last into the boy’s new breath, an exchange he would never forget and often recall as warm and compelling, where he otherwise would have expected stale, dry decay. As he covered his short-lived ally with dark soil, enriched by decades of frequent cow manure, his sobs slowed. Gradually his frantic prayers to a god that he had been told does not let animals into heaven were overcome by an almost silently transparent wisdom, that humans co-redeem with all organisms, regenerating our heavens and our hells together.