Something to Ponder

In the middle of July this year two of the Nuhra Community, myself and Jo, went to a conference in Sydney called Common Dreams.  A major reason for going, was to hear one of my favourite spiritual theologians and activists speak – Matthew Fox a courageous and deeply spiritual human being, creative in his thinking, prolific in his writing and still fired with a passion for Justice, for Creation and for Life at the age of seventy nine.   I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to hear him speak.


Letitia, Matthew Fox and Jo at ‘Common Dreams’

His opening comments were stunning.  In short,  according to scientists from all over the world we have only eleven and a half years left to slow down global warning sufficiently to avoid reaching tipping points from which there is no return.  For some reason it was not what I expected to hear from Matthew at this conference – although I‘ve been hearing about tipping points and global warming and extinction rates for the past twenty years.  This time however, I really HEARD what was said, and it shocked me.  Time IS really running out for life as we know it.  I have had the privilege of living in a time of peace and prosperity here in Australia, of clean air and beautiful oceans, of safe drinking water and abundant nature, of wide open spaces and magnificent bushland.  But what of the generations to come?  What kind of world am I leaving to them?  What will be the inheritance I pass on?

To want to defend something or to want to save it, you first have to love it – to feel passionately about it.  You have to fall in love with the beauty of creation says Matthew Fox if you are going to have enough fire to fight for its survival.  If you really love elephants, that will help you to fight for their survival (I know someone who works, saves all their money and goes to an elephant orphanage each year to help).  If you love the Great Barrier Reef, like David Attenborough does, you might find a way to inspire other people to discover its beauty and to want save it.  If you worry deeply about the future of your grandchildren you might find a voice on their behalf or you might join them in protest about climate change.

Greta Thunberg the young Swedish girl who started the school strikes in Europe said   “What we do and don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future.”  It’s a plea to act now, to act justly and generously and to act bravely.  If you get the chance, watch her give a TED X talk and decide for yourself.*  Prophets have always come from unexpected places and she is an extraordinary young person.

Many people today want to do something about our global warming crises but feel unsure what difference their voice or their actions will make.  I believe young people need the support of the older generations if their natural energy and enthusiasm for life is to be encouraged and developed in creative and positive ways.  Its getting late……we haven’t got much time left to act and many governments seems to be asleep at the wheel.  Climate change is not a matter of partisan politics – it’s a matter of our survival and we need to act cooperatively, irrespective of our political positions, for the survival of future generations and the life of our planet.  If you feel the same you might like to consider joining the school students on September 20th here in Perth for the Global Strike 4 Climate.  Just google for details or if you want to meet as a group phone me, on Letitia 0422 969 704.  Excellent references below

1 *Greta Thunberg urges MEPs to ‘panic like the house is on fire’ See on UTube

2.Excellent article by Ian Dunlop formerly an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, chair of the Australian Coal Association and CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. https://johnmenadue.com/ian-dunlop-parliament-must-treat-climate-change-as-an-emergency/

Reflections

 The Mystery of Breath

 

The physical reality of breathing is so familiar to us that we may not pay much attention to it until we are made aware of its absence.

The experience of being dumped by a wave at Scarborough when I first arrived at that beach, made me very conscious of waiting for the turbulence to stop so that I could emerge for that precious breath.

Being present at the bedside of someone about to take their last breath can be an extraordinary moment. How mysterious that last breath – or the first breath taken by a newborn child.

How vulnerable we are and how dependent on the breath.

There is the ordinary everyday reality of breathing but there is also a mysterious breathing which can take over in moments of deep calm and concentration; a breath which takes us into a more profound silence and stillness.

Valentin Tomberg, a contemporary spiritual teacher, reminds us that the religious traditions have known this and have shaped practices which help us to become aware of this breath that lies beneath the familiar physical action of breathing.

He says that in a more primal time or among people closely in touch with the earth, the breath that nourishes the body and the breath that nourishes the soul are one. For us, in our modern technological societies, that is usually not the case. There is a separation. But by consciously paying attention to the breath in ways suggested by the religious traditions and by teachers of meditation, we will become aware of this deeper breath praying within us.

Valentin Tomberg puts it this way: The breathing of the breath of life in our deep spirit, in the kernel of our being is eternally coming into being from God. God is continually breathing us into life. When we become conscious of this breath we become conscious of our True Self. …We experience our true self as a star in the heaven of God’s eternal being.

He suggests a simple practice that will help us discover the presence of this breath that allows us to know the presence of our soul; that mirrors the presence of its peace and quiet and depth beneath the often turbulent events in our everyday living. A larger breath that will not cease when we die.

Go out at sunset and breathe into that moment with gratitude for the warmth and life we receive each day. ( You may notice groups of people who drive to the beach at sunset to do something similar.)

Go out at night, breathe and become inwardly still. Look up to the stars and the night sky and breathe with the cosmos.

Finally, go out at dawn and watch the birth of a new day. Breathe into that hope and that new beginning.

This is the inner breathing of the soul which breathes in God or a Higher Self. It expands our awareness of who we really are.

1.Valentin Tomberg. Lazarus Come Forth. P.275.

News

James Wani will be returning to his village of Sindiru in S. Sudan in late December when the long school holidays begin.

It is his intention to go there to organise and to oversee the start of the school buildings.  At his suggestion we will postpone any Quiz Nights and other fundraising raising efforts until early 2020 when he has returned and can give us a progress report on what is needed.

Currently three teachers are paid up till the end of the year and all the women of the village have a goat of their own to care for and to provide a source of income for the future.

Thanks to everyone for their generosity.

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