As our Earth Bodhisattva turns toward fall in the northern hemisphere we share tremendous gratitude for this time of harvest and abundance. The yellowing of the leaves, the slower cricket songs, and the shorter days and longer shadows remind us that everything changes. Our Mother Earth and all her children respond to the coming and going of the seasons and follow the natural rhythms that have been established for hundreds of thousands of years. And, we are aware that the rapid and unexpected changes in the Earth’s climate require our compassionate attention and mindful action.
Each day we are bombarded with images and stories of changes in various kinds of climates: ecological, political, social, and more. As practitioners of mindfulness, we don’t turn away, or hide from the suffering. We know how to take good care of ourselves and diligently work to transform the suffering in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our fellow earthlings. Thankfully, we don’t have to do this alone; we have our sangha.
A powerful step toward this collective healing recently manifested at the 21-Day Retreat in Plum Village with an Earth Holding Sangha Affinity Group. Several dozen participants from around the world gathered at the Upper Hamlet to learn about our healing community and how to get involved, and to find ways to respond to Sr. Chan Khong’s call to action to help Central Vietnam in the aftermath of the environmental disaster caused by a steel manufacturer’s massive chemical release. An early response raised $5,000 for the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation’s Humanitarian Relief fund towards providing assistance to those directly impacted by the disaster.
Another beautiful manifestation was the second all member Online Earth Holder Sangha practice; twenty-six participants tuned in from North American and Europe to share which of the Plum Village practices help us transform our suffering, engage our compassion, and walk the middle path as we do our best to nurture and preserve our precious planet. Save November 11 for the next call (8-8:30 am Pacific), and watch for more information in October.
In this issue Look Hulshoff Pol, from Portugal, shares insights about the 11th Mindfulness Training: Right Livelihood in relationship to the environmental crisis.
Denisse Aguilar, from Mexico, gives us deep healing that comes during walking meditation. And Laura Hunter, from Southern California, offers practices to help the sangha navigate this tumultuous election season.
We hope that this issue of Touching the Earth Newsletter reflects the flowering of the community’s collective consciousness.
With love and gratitude,
Your Touching the Earth Editorial Team