Julie and I have been looking at the trees and vegetation of Saltwater National Park for green signs of rebirth. They’ve been hard to find: tufts of grasses, epiphyte-like growths, occasional new leaves. The enormous heat generated by this fire seems to have nuclear-blasted the paperbarks and grass trees. Some are burnt-out trunks with branches intact, still standing. Others resemble resinated black statues.
As the pace of our lives continues to accelerate, driven by a host of forces seemingly beyond our control, more and more of us are finding ourselves drawn to engage in meditation, in this radical act of being. We are moving in the direction of meditative awareness for many reasons, not the least of which may be to maintain our individual and collective sanity, or recover our perspective and sense of meaning, or simply to deal with the outrageous stress and insecurity of this age.
Even now as write, I don’t know what words to describe my uneasy feelings about the climate. Maybe it’s because there’s just too much to say.
Earlier this year, the on-line Sydney Morning Herald would run one or two stories on climate change. Now, and especially since Australia’s monstrously extensive bushfires, there are a half dozen or more each day.
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To a large extent, the local fires have abated…for the time being. Yet the BoM site still informs us of ‘smoke haze’. The air we breathe is badly polluted. But there’s something worse in the atmosphere.
We are restless, somewhat distracted and very much looking for the comfort of each other. Haven’t you felt it? Some of us have lost sheds, fences, homes, friends, pets. Wildlife populations and vegetation have been decimated. The worst is the loss of security, of safety. What will life be like from now on if the air we breathe is uncertainty?
It’s not often that I am at a loss for words. But over the last week, I’ve felt unable to ‘put pen to paper’.
In retrospect, this is as it should be. The Australian bushfire losses we’ve experienced are too big and one’s feelings still so raw.
The climate crisis is no longer a future problem. We need to grapple with it now. In an increasingly accelerating way, life on our planet as we’ve experienced it is changing. That means we are being called on to change, too.
Time is running out. The patient is critically ailing. Every day matters.
We need to adapt to this warming climate. We can keep our practice to the cooler morning and evening part of the day. As the heat builds, we can do passive poses which have the effect of cooling the brain and pacify the body’s systems. Forward bends, supported inversions and yoga flop-asanas are the ‘go’.
It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon that holds all of our society’s negative ideas about the ageing process. It’s true that there’s loss of muscle strength, loss of balance and all those sense losses, too: hearing, vision, even taste and smell. But it’s not helpful to start looking for evidence of deterioration. And worse, to start lumping the losses together to create a depressed state of mind or resignation.