Joanna Macy: We Belong

[Editor: In this talk, Joanna Macy translates the Buddhist doctrine of ‘non-self’ as ‘belonging’, that because we are not a separate self, we belong to each other and we belong to the earth. “Mutual belonging is our birthright. We are inter-being with each other.”

Joanna Macy’s approach to the dharma is to move toward life, and by that she means the human and biological life of the planet, not towards Buddhism or any other religion. She says that the impetus of all living systems is to evolve, and by moving toward life, we assist in the regeneration and evolution of the biosphere. She says that Buddhism made a deep impression on her thinking, but so did her Christian background. But most of all, she says that deep ecology, cosmology and systems theory made the deepest impression on her thinking and practice, which she calls the foundation for the spirituality of the 21st century.]

Joanna Macy is an eco-philosopher, activist, and Buddhist scholar who has been at the forefront of movements for social justice and environmentalism for more than five decades. She founded the Work That Reconnects Network and has written many books, including World as Lover, World as Self. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Joanna about hope in times of chaos and dissolution, as well as how hope is something we do rather than just feel. They consider apathy as a refusal to face the inevitability of suffering and why the state of the environment can be especially heartbreaking. Finally, Tami and Joanna talk about our relationship with the earth as a natural birthright—one that is actually the source of all our energy and joy. (66 minutes)

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