In this portion of the interview I (Chris) ask Darrin about a piece he wrote on his blog entitled We Are The 100 Percent: A Metta-tation for the Masses. I found it a beautifully searing piece. Darrin describes his reactions to the news of violence against Occupiers in Oakland, first disbelief, then rage, then cynicism, then more of an opening, leading eventually to deep compassion.
What slowly came into focus was a moving picture of human beings in pain. Some were in physical agony, half paralyzed by tear gas or projectiles. Some were filled with rage, at both the imbalance of power in the situation and the system that maintains it. Many were fearful of what harm might come to them, their friends, or their allies, and some were simply doing a job they had hoped would garner admiration or at least provide some security during a time of financial uncertainty, perhaps even thinking of their families back home, their own physical and emotional ailments, or the dim prospect of a decent night’s sleep.
I wholeheartedly appreciate Darrin’s emphasis on the 100 Percent while maintaining a strong stance against the injustices that are so clearly prevalent, even dominant.
Darrin also references the Buddhist teaching of the three afflictions (aka the three poisons): desire, aversion (or hatred), and ignorance. He developed this theme in particular in a piece called Americosmos: A Mandala of the Unenlightened United States of Affliction (originally published at Reality Sandwich).
Just like overall framing of The Four Global Truths, Darrin brilliantly applies a Buddhist spiritual teaching to a social-political-economic context. In this case, the United States. Darrin sees each of the three afflictions having a social manifestation in the US: materialism/consumerism (desire), militarism (hatred/aversion), and the media empire (delusion/ignorance). I really recommend reading the whole Americosmos piece.
Around minute 44, Ian MacKenzie (noted documentarian, mutual friend of Beams and Darrin who actually facilitated the interview) asks about a framework Darrin learned from one of his teachers Joanna Macy on the three sources of transformation: holding actions, structural transformations, shifts in consciousness. Trevor wrote a new piece on this one growing out of our interview. We might think of these three as in some sense the antidotes to the three poisons (particularly when infused with the loving-kindness for the 100% previously mentioned).
The model helps point a way towards actual integration of activists, permaculture/design types, and spiritual practitioners. I think this is an important topic particularly with what I see to be a tendency towards apoliticism in some of the consciousness raising groups (e.g. integral and evolutionary spiritualities).
As with the Metta-tation for the 100%, there is a wholeness and health that comes through in this view--while always maintaining a desire for increased justice and compassion.
To listen to Part III, click here (right-click to download).