Introduction Editorial

Century of Awakening

Dear Reader,

It may seem counterintuitive to call our present era the Century of Awakening. The outward signs seem to suggest otherwise. I won’t enumerate the challenges we face. You know in your heart that the situation is difficult and the path ahead unclear. And whether you have been in lockdown or on the front lines this past year, the worry you feel for our children, and their children, is the same.

But awakening begins precisely where we are. Not in some time or place free from discomfort or fear. Awakening begins when we stop and sense deeply our own tender heart and the pain we feel for the world’s beauty and brokenness. In these moments, it is helpful to step outside, away from screens and technology. It helps to look at the sky, feel the wind, touch a spring flower.

Here in the northeast US, the tree outside my door that looked bleak and brittle just a week ago is suddenly sprouting thousands of tiny buds. The smiling crocuses miraculously arrive. By connecting even for a moment with this profound mystery of Return, I feel lighter and more hopeful.

With Spring and the Covid vaccine there is a tentative sense we too can begin anew. It is never too late to start over, to commit to new ways of being and let go of old habits and past traumas. The moment we make the conscious choice to start fresh, we feel better. What we were doing before was not working. We don’t have to do that anymore. The Earth is alive. We are alive!

In this edition, we are not offering solutions to our knottiest global concerns. We are sharing signs of freshness and hope. We embrace a renewed opportunity and a choice: to honor and protect the sacred, or ignore and betray it. What must we honor? All of it. People, animals, plants, minerals, air, waters, soils, forests, oceans, pollinators, our Commons, communities and rituals. Stories, art, music…

Even technology – or especially technology – must be put to sacred use. Cyberspace, artificial intelligence, robots and drones, bio-engineering…if we do not hold these technologies sacred, as our ancestors once held fire sacred, these things will consume us.

We resacralize something by treating it with respect and reverence. Even the simple act of drinking tea can be a profound act, as a Buddhist monk very dear to me explains in this short video.

Drinking Tea as a Sacred Practice

What we love we make sacred. That is why our time can and will be the Century of Awakening. Life is too precious, the human experience too extraordinary to allow it to fail.

Recent photos from Mars show us our planetary home in a new way. There we are – a glittering star on the horizon. Every joy and every sorrow ever felt by any sentient being that we know of, embodied in a single point of light.

It is an invitation to wake up to the reality that binds us – to each other and all beings. Ours will be the Century of Awakening when we fully acknowledge the gift of Life, and our awesome responsibility to receive it.

About Rhonda Fabian

Rhonda Fabian is Editor of Kosmos Quarterly. She is an ordained member in the Order of Interbeing, an international Buddhist community founded by her teacher, Thích Nhất Hạnh. Rhonda is also a founding partner of Immediacy Learning, an educational media company that has impacted millions of learners worldwide.

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