A Concert with Yuval Ron and the Guibord CenterSaturday, October 19th, 2013, 7pm
St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles, California
Dialogue, Reception & Book SigningMonday, October 21st, 2013, 7pm
USC, Los Angeles, California
On Monday, April 22nd, 2013 in honor of Earth Day, Seven Pilliars and The Abode of the Message co-hosted Sister Miriam MacGillis of Genesis Farm in Bliarstown, New Jersey. This sohbet, or heartful and sacred dialogue, took place in the Seven Pillars offices and included approximately 30 members of the local community.
Several months ago, on an exquisite early autumn morning, I dropped my children at the school bus before beginning my first commute to the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom’s office in New Lebanon, NY, where I had recently accepted a staff position. As they crossed the parking lot, I watched closely to make sure they were being wary of the other cars, and that those drivers were wary of them. Trailing his twin siblings, my youngest turned back, waved and smiled before he disappeared up the bus’s first step.
Lynn Margulis, my mother, had a stroke on November 17, 2011 and died five days later in her own bed. The following text is slightly modified from a reading, written for my nieces and nephews, given before scattering her ashes in a private family ceremony at Puffers Pond in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Do we live actually in a dualistic world, a world of matter and spirit, mind and body? To treat matter as separate already makes it so. Matter, as we know it, is the matter of materialism (egotism, dualism). Yet it really didn’t come into being until Descartes divided the world into res cogitans and res extensa, thinking things—minds—thought of as spiritual, and extended things—bodies—thought of as mechanical.
What ignorance are we addressing here? I am considering ignorance here from the point of view of a westerner. We live in the global village, we share the same roof, we are interdependent and co-responsible for care of the Earth. And yet, we still think of ourselves, and our religion, as separate, distinct, and unique.
Sacred geography is where land and mind meet. Ancient and traditional peoples have found many different ways to invest their home territories with mythological or spiritual meaning. Such geographies could be small and intimate or cover large tracts of ground; they could be natural or constructed, or a combination of both.
Cross-cultural trade is as old as the hills. In Neolithic Chatalhoyuk in ancient Anatolia, we find cowrie shells from Jericho, and in Jericho we find obsidian from Anatolia. A by-product of such trade in objects is an exchange of words, ideas, animals, even humans, both male and female. Human intelligence grows as the gene pool grows larger, as the complex system of human culture moves from band to tribe to clan to town to city.
Are we facing a global catastrophe or a golden age, or both? As 2012 comes closer with its Mayan prophecies of the end of time, we are being forced to face the realities of an ecological disaster on a global level. What does this mean to us now, in this present moment?
Today we are going to continue our Remarkable Minds series with a spiritual ecologist, an earth pilgrim, a vegetarian who led a civil disobedience movement in efforts to restore humanity’s sense of community. He is Satish Kumar and he is one of the few individuals who fully embraces the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote a spirituality opposed to war and ecological destruction.
Part 3: Institutions, Planetary Rights, Mystical Economics
Part 2: Wonder, Interconnectivity, A New Universe Story
This discussion with the cultural historian Thomas Berry about his cosmological and geologian worldview with philosophy professor Ashok Gangadean was originally published in a slightly longer form in Elixir: A Journal of Consciousness and Conscience no. 2 (Spring 2007). For background on Thomas Berry and his contribution to a New Story about the cosmos, see Mary Evelyn Tucker’s "Thomas Berry, A Profile" Ashok Gangadean is a professor of philosophy at Haverford College.
Photographs of the Earth from space, the first from 1966, and now of planets circling other suns, new in November 2008, enlarge our vision of the planet where we live and enrich our view of the universe.
Thomas Berry, in his landmark essay “The New Story: Comments on the Origin, Identification and Transmission of Values” (Teilhard Studies no. 1, 1978), was among the first to express what many already knew but didn’t dare say—that the Western creation story no longer serves as a reliable rudder. Based on information people had thousands of years ago, it's no longer adequate for today and a new story based on up-to-date information and knowledge inside a larger context, according to Berry, hasn’t yet come into a form that's compelling enough to guide people as to how to live....