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From the Editors
Vol. 46, No. 2
On the tail of the summer solstice I flew 3,000 miles to visit my aunt, a field biologist, in Alaska. Since my previous trip, she had come all too close to a polar bear on the tundra of the North Slope—far from the melting sea ice of the Arctic—desperate for food, for survival. Massive wildfires had flanked her cabin, their swathes of flame ultimately wolfing millions of acres in one season. And the Last Frontier had wrestled drought—a record 79 weeks of water scarcity. Yet my aunt still holds a minority position among Alaskans: that there is urgent need for humans to end their exploitive relations with Earth.
When faced with seething climate on all sides, it is only natural to become crestfallen by the starving animals and raging fires, to feel both complicit in and powerless over the corporations spewing greenhouse gases that keep rising, rising, rising. Except this Yoga is not about resolving these externalized conditions, separate from ourselves, but “gracefully” peeling back our internalized conditioning to the point that our divine nature manifests without, across our planet. In the following pages, Collaboration contributors share their records of this effort, naming in their own way the psychic conditions necessary to hold both the earth’s agony and bliss together during our 11th hour of ecological meltdown.
In “The Soul’s Calling,” David Marshak spotlights the climate change activism spearheaded by Greta Thunberg and championed by youth around the world, illuminating how we too can embolden this internal will for external change. Ananda’s powerful “Three Meditations” invites us into his spiritual impressions, thanks to the Mother’s guiding light. Through Alan Baiss’ reflections on global crises in “Where I Find Myself Today,” he collectively asks the question: What can be done? And in “The Natural and Unnatural World” by Karen Mitchell, the author shares three experiences of earth consciousness that shook her reality, upending her understanding of the whole of nature through lightning strikes, desert stars, and crashing whitewater.
This issue also shines a light on Wayne Bloomquist. In “A Barfight for the Earth,” authors Rick Lipschutz and Amanda Emerson vividly retell his vision of life as a Wild West gunslinger, caught in the throes of cosmic transformation. Collaboration editor Bahman Shirazi got a chance to speak with Wayne about his early spiritual days, and we have captured excerpts from their conversation in “Decade of Illuminations.” We are also pleased to share prescient ecological (and sacred!) wisdom from avowed “geologian” Thomas Berry in “Seeds of the Future”—excerpted from a recent book by Carolyn Toben.
Now, poetry. With planetary life seemingly on the brink, John Robert Cornell’s “Blessing” brings us pause, and comfort, in Earth’s inborn divinity. Mateo Needham’s “Becoming a Poem” does a service of walking us through Sri Aurobindo’s poetry, meant, he affirms, to be wholly realized. Which brings us to “The Cosmic Spirit” and “Because Thou Art”—two sonnets of Sri Aurobindo that lyrically illumine how, and why, we are each “a single Self all Nature fills”—and in possession of our future’s passionate hope for a new way of life.—Alicia K. Gonzales