Introduction Editorial

New Spirit, Wise Action

Dear Reader,

The times we live in ask much of us. How can we know the best ways to respond to the converging crises we face? How can we live lives of deep meaning and joy in the midst of confusion and pain, and be catalysts for positive change?

If you practice on a spiritual or ethical path, you already see that chasing wealth, power, or egoic pleasure has lost the appeal it may have held earlier in life. You have been called in a new direction, your heart-strings vibrating to a more complex chord. And as activists, you have felt the recent shifts away from ‘sustainability’ and ‘reform’ to ever more sober purpose: resilience, restoration, ‘deep adaptation’, alliance-building, and taking personal inventory of what you are willing to ‘lose’, as you make space for the new. How will you integrate and transcend all you have learned? How will your metamorphosis unfold, and what will you become?

The Fall edition of Kosmos Quarterly explores the dynamic between our inner work and outer actions. Creating this edition, we kept our focus on emergent ways of being and doing in these challenging times. For veteran activists like Lisa Fithian, this takes the form ‘conscious organizing’; for Professor Jem Bendell, it is a personal set of skills for surviving climate despair. In the Nevada desert, ‘burners’ annually create and dismantle a post-apocalyptic city for artists and lovers. Gary Gach follows Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Five Mindfulness Trainings – a global ethic for humanity. Extinction Rebellion uses Holacracy, a framework for decentralized decision-making developed by Brian Robertson. And enigmatic musical artist Kendra Smith, chooses life off-grid, ‘chopping wood and carrying water’.

Each of these actions, among others, is a valid response as we navigate the liminal space between the disintegrating ‘flat’ worldview of objective rationalism that allowed us to marginalize anyone and anything that did not conform to its model of progress, and the incoming convulsive energy of a new integral era. How we ‘show up’ now is nothing less than the greatest test ever faced by a known species. Unlike the dinosaurs, we alone have the capacity to awaken, to cherish our living Earth, and to recognize our interdependence with all Life.

Never have the stakes been so high, the choices so profound.

For elders like me, there is restitution to be made, an inner and outer reckoning for decades of naïve belief in man-made systems of modernity. The least I can offer now is my full being, in service to Life for all the days I am given. For young people, the test is far more severe. They know that a dark night of the world soul lurks on the horizon, to be endured and ultimately transcended, only by the wildest love and most creative, painful birth-effort imaginable.

Many young people tell me they are reluctant to bring new lives into the world. That is understandable, yet consider this – our care and teaching of children, in loving families and communities, is very likely the most important practice we can offer the world at this time. Laughter, joy, family, warmth, stability, ceremony. Each new generation is the prayer of Creation. Let us focus our loving attention on all children and work to protect all beings.

Our wise actions matter, and only our sincere inner work can reveal the way forward. It is the mission of Kosmos to walk together on the path of transformation. Join us!

Please join me also in wishing Nancy Roof, our beloved founder and Editor Emeritus, a very happy 90th birthday. This wise world-server is a beacon of light to anyone touched by her vision and her love.

In Gratitude,

Rhonda Fabian

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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