Emotions & Manifestation | Yoga & Climate Change, Part 3

manasa and atman

SACRED MOMENTS

There is a sense of magic in some prayers. They move us beyond the superficial words to the depths of our inner worlds.

Speak aloud this traditional Ute prayer, an invocation to the world of the spirits. Feel the soothing sounds and visual images settle into you. Let your nervous system feel their subtle effects, savoring the prayer’s meaning.

“Earth teach me stillness, as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me caring, as the mother who nurses her young.
Earth teach me courage, as the tree which stands alone and upright.
Earth teach me freedom, as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me to forget myself, as melted snow forgets a past life.
Earth teach me kindness, as dry fields weep rain without any strife.”

For a moment, hold the magic of the prayer in your heart, and consider how this is who we want to be as human beings – caring, courageous, and kind. As intention and guideline, magical prayers pierce the veil and connect us to our sacred essence shared with the plants, the wind, the oceans, animals, and stars.
Implicit in these prayers is the principle that the part contains the whole.

In a beloved Vedic story, there is a beautiful description of this holographic view of reality. The heaven of Indra is said to be a Net of Jewels. If you look at each pearl and sapphire at the cross points of the web, you see all the others reflected in it.

In the same way, scientists now recognize that each object in the physical world is not merely itself but involves every other object. All events, people, animals, and even weather systems are in some way interdependent, and everything we feel and do affects the whole.

In the laboratory, scientists have shown that when DNA is extracted from a person and taken far away, it still has a physical reaction when the person is surprised, frightened, energized, or emotionally charged, even at a distance of 50 miles away! There was no lag time, no transmission time. The DNA peaks and valleys exactly matched the peaks and valleys of the emotions of the donor at exactly the same time.

They came to a stunning realization that if our emotions affect our DNA and our DNA shapes the world around us, then our emotions affect the vibratory field of all DNA and physically change the world around us.

Feelings matter, in the matter of what we focus on, in our life choices, in our reactions to others, and in matter itself.

Feeling the stillness of the light and the flight of the eagle in the magical Ute prayer, we are uplifted. Our DNA delights, emits photons, and expresses our inner music in a calm, connected way.

Our emotions matter, deeply, not only to us and those closest to us, but they matter in the course of our world and in the fate of the entire planet.

SEPARATION, FEAR, AND ANXIETY

Now listen to another kind of poem, a prose poem from the world of science rather than spirit, a warning of danger more than invocation. SETI scientists have sounded alarm sirens, with 11,000 biologists, physicists, cosmologists, geologists, and futurists from 153 countries, stating for the first time that the Earth “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency.”

We know this about our home planet, and yet we want to look away, to not believe it. The challenge of saving our species boggles the mind. The words are not soothing or magical, but they are true, and so we cannot look away.

The climate crisis needs you.

We are not separate from the problem of climate change, although the feeling of separation is at the core of the problem. Humans have traumatized each other and abused our plentiful home, but the issue is not about saving planet Earth. Our planet has been doing just fine for more than 4½ billion years. Instead, it’s about changing our relationship with the planet and all beings in the natural world so that more species can survive the extinctions humans have sparked.

Feeling separate from our souls, our spirit, and the many generations of intelligence which we have inherited, we lose attunement to our hopes for life, for the planet, for future generations. Losing this connection to our sacred birthright, we feel lost and fearful. We may be doing the right things on the outside – recycling, eating no meat, changing laws in order to regulate fossil fuel industries — but based on our feelings of separation, the unconscious mind and emotions might still be catastrophizing.
Such fear-based inner turmoil blocks the natural flow of kindness, coherence, and maturity, the very remedies we need to stir the healing emotions, to fuel what Naomi Klein calls the Great Transition, a greening of the Earth in a whole planet movement to reframe bedrock perceptions based on falsehoods.

For healthy people, animals, plants, and all living things to be restored, we need a return to the truth and reclaim our sacredness. That means having the intellectual and emotional integrity to gaze deeply into the eyes of the world and discern what the climate emergency is, what part we’ve played in it, and what we can do.

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

Every mindful person who has watched the power- and money-hungry bankers, fossil fuel lawyers, and warmongering politicians erode the best of human values could see this was coming. The warnings have been loud and clear, not only from humans, but in the voices of the worsening weather, the rising waters, the fiery forests, the displaced animals, and most searing of all, in the voices of our souls.

Nature is under attack. This is the shadow side of our basic goodness as humans. We have depleted and traumatized our planetary systems for the sake of being good at propping up a nonsensical economic system. Global capitalism and the fossil fuels-dependent industries it depends upon are the culprits in our current climate catastrophe, writes Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein in her life-altering 2015 book, {This Changes Everything}.

Klein’s 2007 book {Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism} was a tremendous blow to my innocence, but her new one pulls the bandages off while tearing away the blinders. As any shred of belief in the old programming fell in tatters to the floor, I learned that oil-addicted profiteers, bankers, and warmongers have fed us lies that are so outrageous and evil they are murdering our planet, our home.

The very Earth that gives them the fossil fuels to enrich themselves is being wiped out so they can wield their tyranny. Without our consent, they have exploited and harmed our habitat so that we are now a planet virtually on fire and drowning in floods.

We let it happen, not that we as children had much of a choice. And this is important, for if we are to see what actions we personally need to take to nurture the Great Transition, we have to be aware of what thoughts, emotions, and habits we harbor which may be unconsciously adding to the mix of toxic pollution, species extinctions, and loss of soil, water, and air quality.

WE ARE MORE CREATORS THAN CONSUMERS

Global capitalism, which depends upon you and I identifying ourselves as consumers more than creators, has used an array of tools and billions of dollars to do mass advertising, data manipulation, and behavioral programming to gain control over what children want, how they think, and who they think they are.

For more than 30 years, the programming filtering through our homes, schools, and places of work celebrates a false ego, one filled with vanity, self-indulgence, and the desire to get rich quick. The inner world of someone programmed by global capitalism is showered with thoughts of not being enough, not having enough, and not knowing enough.

A lucky few break through the programming at an early age and reclaim their sense of enoughness. They have enough power to stand up for higher values, enough self-esteem to share and learn with others, and enough patience to learn to let things grow organically, without forcing or artifice.

But for many, the transition from false ego to reconnection with the soul can take years of self-discipline, focus, forgiveness, and discernment to rediscover the innate centers of intelligence. Our natural-born values like kindness, truth, thrift, contentment, leadership, joy, and a sense of personal excellence are already inside us.

They simply were covered over by the capitalist idea that we are mouths to be fed and workers to be exploited. Just as the coal, oil, gas, and minerals in our Earth were resources to be exploited, and the animals, fish and birds were all targets to be manipulated, human beings were objects to be used and abused in this economic model.

It is a terrible way to live. And perhaps it’s because of the way we’ve evolved to be fearful. “The nervous system has been evolving for 600 million years, from ancient jellyfish to modern humans,” writes psychologist Dr. Rick Hanson. “Our ancestors had to make a critical decision many times a day: approach a reward or avoid a hazard – pursue a carrot or duck a stick.”

Their vigilance over time and through many generations of trauma, trial, error, and learning, turned into a species-wide superquick hyper-vigilance on alert 24/7 with anxiety pulsing through the body every moment of the day. When they didn’t see a threat, but their bodies were still in a hyper-alert emotional charge, they looked for threats. Rapid reactions engaged to keep us alive, in their overuse, became a psychosomatic burden on the body and brain.

“We are vulnerable (now) to being alarmed, manipulated, and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and ‘paper tigers,’” writes Dr. Hanson. Our vulnerabilities led to stratifying relationships with the natural world and with each other, basically playing the parts of dominator and victim, two roles necessary in an intimidating world. The climate emergency — which is not a paper tiger, but a very real and existential threat – is needing us to marshal ALL our resources to help avert disaster. We don’t have any free bandwidth to waste on outdated anxieties, the ones keyed into our biocomputers as children.

Anxieties like the one programmed right next to the ancestral hypervigilance by the global free market capitalists and marketers, the anxiety of not-enoughness. Not-enoughness feeds unnatural cravings that drive the heart to race, the breath to stop, and crazy thoughts to try to trick us into doing things that work against us.

I started sacrificing the belief of not-enoughness 40 years ago when all my peers were having children. We knew then, in 1979, that overpopulation was the main driver of planetary depletion, right up there with greed. In that year, I decided not to have children of my own. There were already so many children needing love, why would I have more, to overpopulate a planet in peril? I couldn’t do that.

I could love the children who needed love and not add to the planetary burden of multiplying humans, which had already mutilated mountains and depleted the ozone layer. It was the ultimate sacrifice in some ways, one that sparked more than a few uncomfortable moments when people would ask why I didn’t have children, and then they would be stunned when I said, “I love the Earth,” adding, “Besides, I have lots of goddess children,and nieces and nephews and students and friends. They all need mothering too. Just because you don’t have children in this lifetime doesn’t mean that you don’t do a lot of mothering.”

At least until the last decade, that discomfort was true. Now, as more women and couples are making the same child-free choice, our sacrifices — or more like offerings — of not breeding more children, I receive pats on the back, like withholding one’s ovum from the human race is heroic, or at least admirable. Times have changed. The Madonna and Child is a symbolic image of mythic proportions.

Sacrifice means being willing to sit with the anxiety and cravings. It means spending time and attention in accepting real feelings instead of numbing them with sugar, distractions, habits of ignorance, short-sightedness, and greed. It means looking for where the anxiety begins in our very own body, in our actual belly, heart, toes, and head. It means cultivating the patience to shape our lives around a long-term purpose instead of short-sighted gratification.

I am more conscious now than I used to be, as we all hopefully are, but I wonder what unconscious emotions I’ve personally harbored that contributed to this dangerous climate situation, one that threatens our seasons, our insects, our coastlines, and the thriving of our families and planet. How did this happen on our generation’s watch. We were the original environmentalists! And what can I do to free up all my energies and powers to be part of the solution, an aspect of the great rivers of light and awareness that are arising, no longer unconscious in any way, building on the latticework of love laid out by elder pioneers.

How can we collaborate to produce emotions that fill the world with basic goodness, life-affirming principles, and remarkable rituals and events to foster the Spirit of the Great Transition? The collaborative ventures coming out of sharing this planet-wide common cause can generate such powerful energy of creation and possibility, that it may be the greatest inspiration the universe has ever devised. Desperation and the nearness of defeat has a way of sparking the imagination. We’re not waiting for higher consciousness to save us. We are the higher consciousness, embodying our seamless wholeness, the power for good, and the interconnectedness of all life.

MISTAKES WERE MADE

We could not have let the corporate powers on this planet so blatantly steal our commonwealth, if not for the great success of consumer programming that ascended in the early 1970s, climaxed in the 1990s, and then re-ignited in 2001, when George Bush told everyone after 9/11, while we were gut-punched and grieving, to be patriotic, support the U. S., and help the families who had lost loved ones.

How? By going shopping.

If we are to reverse course, and I think we can, we need to see where we have been mistaken, where we have been misled. Through its free-market neo-liberal economic policies, global capitalism has convinced most judicial courts to give corporations, especially the dirtiest fossil fuel giants, more rights than people or the planet.

The villains of the climate crisis bought the judges and politicians and then extended their greedy arms into poor communities and countries. They displaced traditional, organic food production, staunched innovations, and celebrated shopping frenzies to feed the monster – their addiction to huge profits, often with a deliberate strategy of “shock therapy”.

Global capitalism, Klein says, is responsible for the climate crisis as well the increasing numbers of wars across the planet. The capitalist ethic based on a draconian interpretation of evolution as the “survival of the fittest” pushes people into opposite corners – dominators and victims. Rather than viewing ourselves as partners in the grand parade of our luminous existence, we are taught to push others down so we can rise up. A more coherent way of viewing evolution is to think of it as the “survival of the most collaborative.”

Cultural and commercial programming that directed us to be independent rather than work with others, but behave like a dependent when buying consumer goods, gave most societies severe cognitive dissonance. The unlimited, unregulated free market, we were told, would give us all we needed to not-feel our not-enoughness, a falsehood they were propagating with their advertising.

As our real selves, with creative essence, we must examine those falsehoods and their resulting behaviors to see what we were conditioned to want, and then compare that with what we truly choose from the point of view of our interconnected soul.

More damage is done to our environment by global capitalism through consumer conditioning than any other means, because it underpins all the other social and environmental horrors inherent in the economic system we live in.

This system has spread a colonialist network of violence and trauma around the world to feed the free-wheeling consumption they have programmed into our institutions. Every man, woman, and child within reach of a radio, cell phone, or TV has been shaped by this false sense of identity as consumers. The sellers’ idea is that everyone is lacking and needs to consume what the seller is going to sell you to fill that hole! But the hole is the heart won’t be healed until the wholeness in our souls is recovered.

We’ve been drenched in the Earth-damaging idea that we are consumers who need to get as much as we can. as fast as we can, for as cheaply as we can. Just look at the injuries associated with people battling for goods on Black Friday, an apt name.

Marketing tactics of free trade proponents and right-wing politicians are similar in the fact they will tell you anything to convince you that it’s okay to burn up, blow up, maim, and kill others as long as it protects profits and gets Republicans re-elected.

Told to step up to the cash register at Target, Costco, or Walmart and buy as much as we can, we don’t like to think about ship loads of containers streaming CO2 into the atmosphere to bring our plastic widgets and cheap clothes made in sweat shops overseas. Yet we are acting against our personal and planetary interest, and to keep the profits coming in, they will do anything, they will do whatever they can to keep us from waking up.

We, too, have to be willing to do everything possible to wake up and avert disaster, because at some level, we know that purchases from overseas spread greenhouse gas emissions and exacerbate the problem of global warming. The big problem I’m talking about here is not the big-box stores or the sweat shops, though they are hugely problematic.

But they are symptoms, not the cause.

The cause is that we have so much cognitive dissonance because we are acting against our own self-interest in not dealing directly with global warming. That creates irrational decision-making that leads to more trauma and climate catastrophes.

What will treat and convert the cause? A return to the unifying and harmonious energies of the sacred through our commitment to the Great Transition.

RETURN TO THE SACRED: THE GREAT TRANSITION

The challenge of the Great Transition will transform us as it calls us to do our best. However, emotionally, I’m sensing the additional stress of fear that whatever we do won’t be enough.
And I realize the non-enoughness, together with feeling separate from the wholeness, is the issue. The sense of separation from the wholeness can be immediately addressed and dismissed, because it’s clear the wholeness wouldn’t be whole without you, without all of you. So you are not separate. As you become a loving witness of the painful emotions and situations, you feel your sense of presence and wholeness returning.

The fear of being separated affects the disowned and disempowered parts of ourselves and that makes us feel inadequate. Once we heal the separation by reconnecting with our essence, we know we are enough.
If we’re here, reading or writing this, we have come so far. The universe gives us no more than we can handle to expand our sense of being enough. Trust that by simply looking at what you thought you would never survive, and yet you have. Your consciousness grew. The essence returned. Take a deep breath and know that’s true!

The universe is the greatest poem written across the time space continuum. It can uplift us even more than magical prayers. By reminding us every single day how capable we are, despite the problems and troubles we face, the universe giving us problems to solve reminds us that we can confront issues, change ourselves, take action to solve problems, and prevent future disasters. We have the power of the universe inside us, and this is how we grow: by recognizing the universe is a loving teacher giving us lessons and tests to prepare us for embodying more of the Great Mystery, to galvanize us.

Are we patient? Are we kind? Are we giving more than taking? Are we gracefully receiving and participating with a healthy body, a loving heart and a kind mind? That doesn’t mean to stop working for pesticide bans or building seawalls to protect communities from rising seas. That mans that HOW we do what we do matters as much as WHAT we do.

Understanding how emotions affect every other living thing is an amazing, eye-opening realization. But if we are to nurture the greening of our world, we need to take the next step of holistic integration.

And rather than separating out and closing down our emotions, I believe getting emotional is what it’s all about. Who doesn’t become emotional when pondering the loss of butterflies and dolphins, the homelessness of people running from burning homes or barely surviving on ravaged coastlines, or the climate refugee children who have lost everything?

Our emotions, our horror, out empathy – these are the starting places of wise action.

THE CHOICES

Frightening though the climate challenge is, feeling and generating emotions that open up new energy, possibility, and power can foster courage. When we work with the emotions and creativity to move past our traumas, fears and desperation to manifest a better world, we will change the fate of our planet.

The emotions inside us tend to manifest events, people, and situations that are an energetic match reflecting what we’re already feeling. If we are fearful, we tend to attract situations that prove we’re correct in this feeling, but this is not always the case. While the ancient concept of karma operates in a classic cause and effect way, sometimes positive events happen when we’re in the clutches of fear, craving, or anger, and may change our beliefs. When we feel confident and caring, sometimes negative experiences happen that seem so far away from our emotions and intentions that they don’t seem karmic at all. How do good, emotionally balanced people create cancers, broken bones, and global warming, for instance?

It seems that someone else or something else is the cause, not us, not our emotions, thoughts, and actions, and so we tend to protect our self-concept and project negativity on to others rather than becoming curious.

In a classical Newtonian world of cause and effect, this is an outlier, but in the field of quantum physics, where everything affects everything, being curious is the antidote and the gateway that leads to creativity and discovering imaginative new ways to respond.

In the quantum world, we can’t think in terms of a false either-or paradigm. Life is both-and. Both perfect and problematic, both creative and destructive, and both loving and terrifying. In the union of the two opposites, there is the merging, the yoga, the yoking of the light and shadow. We don’t even have to think of antagonistic forces as opposites, because together they create the wholeness.

YOGA HEALS OUR SEPARATION

Emotions act with such speed on the nervous system, especially if they are trauma-related, that they can outpace the rational mind and the spiritual mindset before we can feel and see clearly.

Because we live in a world where separation has become the norm, even when we consciously choose to face the climate emergency with calm clarity and bold action, subconsciously we might feel a disturbing and habitual dysregulation. It throws the body into tremors, the heart into a tizzy and the mind into a madhouse, none of which are great starting points for saving our species.

Most of us are disciplined enough to do our part to lower greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding actions that contribute to them. We recycle, drive less, fly less, use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances, and avoid meat and dairy, which with gluten and sugar reduction has the added benefit of making our bodies healthier.

Yoga helps by bringing focus to direct our daily transmissions of energy carefully so we can do our best work without negative emotions about the climate crisis stalling effective efforts.

Yoga is a force for solving the climate crisis by fostering harmony among all the facts, our emotions, thoughts, sensations, relationships, and intuitions, without denying any part of it. By engaging the inner state of harmony, we attune, extend, and protect ourselves and each other. Training our perspective to include the broader wholeness, the entire circle of life, Yoga is one of the best ways to achieve global harmony and transform all our relationships.

Another poem from the world of spirit that is worth remembering is a traditional Native American saying:
“We have not inherited the Earth from our mothers and fathers. We are borrowing it from our children.”

May we encourage the inner light shining in all beings and all of life!

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