I’m sure that more than a few of us, when we ponder the actions of different world leaders, may wonder, “Why don’t they just _________?” Fill in the blank. And some of us may even, half-jokingly, have thought that we could do a better job than so-and-so in running the world.
But what would it actually take to be the CEO of The Planet, Inc.? That’s a half-serious question that two leading integral thinkers, Annie McQuade and Erika Ilves of Source Integral, are answering through a Facebook campaign, book, and series of YouTube videos. As they say on their Facebook page, “Project Planet Inc. is about structuring the global public discourse on the future of our species and building a planetary problem solving network & platform to take on the Super Wicked Challenges of the 21st century.”
An ambitious project, to say the least. But what they are managing to do in the process is teach the perspective of Ken Wilber’s integral theory. Through a series of YouTube videos, they offer instruction on the different knowledge areas that our planetary CEO needs to master in order to lead “Team Human.” First, McQuade and Ilves argue, our Planet Inc. CEO needs to be able to identify with “all of us”–or hold a worldcentric perspective. In a series of seven short videos, they explore the boundaries that one needs to cross in order to embrace all of us who are part of The Planet Inc. Continue reading…
A few news events have caught my eye this past week—particularly, the Orthodox Jewish newspaper that photoshopped Hillary Clinton out of the iconic Situation Room photo and The Atlantic Monthly’s report “Danger: Falling Tyrants” by Jeffrey Goldberg on the move toward democracy in the Middle East. But it was an email exchange with one of our former editors/writers, Maura O’Connor, who is reporting from Afghanistan where she’s embedded among US troops, that made me think about these events in the context of our responsibility, as sophisticated postmodern individuals who are living in a pluralistic global society. We often literally brush up against those who have very different worldviews—radically different ways of understanding reality and human relationship.
Maura told me that she and a friend, another young American female journalist, were talking about whether to wear headscarves in Afghanistan. Maura covers her hair out of respect for their religion—much as, she noted, we cover our shoulders when we go into Catholic churches. Yet her young colleague, often doesn’t. She wants to show the Afghan women that they don’t have to cover themselves and believes that showing her hair, contrary to custom in this Muslim country, was a way of taking a stand against their oppression and supporting them. I would imagine that she saw her actions as a way of inspiring change. While her actions were obviously well intentioned, and may even in some way inspire the kind of culture change that she hopes, they may also have very unintended consequences, and be met less than enthusiastically by both men and women in Afghanistan.
That’s where my rumination over these events begins. Continue reading…
Taizan Maezumi Roshi was a Japanese pioneer of Zen Buddhism in America. Like others of his time, he travelled across the Pacific in the mid-twentieth century to teach Zen and establish local schools in the US. As a result of his training in multiple lineages, Roshi was able to combine Rinzai koan study and Soto shikantaza (a specific type or Zazen) which made for a powerful hybrid teaching. His legacy includes institutions and centres across the country as well the gift of dharma transmission to twelve successors. One of those successors was his senior disciple, Bernie Glassman.
Bernie Glassman is a pioneer in his own right. As a spiritual activist Glassman is well known as a leading figure in the “socially engaged Buddhism” movement. His many projects and social initiatives include the successful Greyston Bakery in New York (run primarily by the less fortunate), which gives all profits to other projects such as low-income housing programs, community daycare, and a health centre for those suffering with HIV/AIDS. His famous ‘street retreats’ challenge preconceptions about spirirual practice by inserting participants into daily life lived on the streets. Practitioners eat in soup kitchens, sleep in homeless shelters or in public spaces, practice Zazen in parks and receive dokusan (interview between student and master) in alleys. On March 26 Glassman will speak to EnlightenNext founder Andrew Cohen about his time with Maezumi Roshi as part of the online celebration “Awakening to Your Highest Self: Tales of Transformation from 25 Spiritual Luminaries”.