A breathtakingly new view of reality arises from deep ecology, systems thinking, and the resurgence of non-dualistic spirituality. These three streams attest to our mutual belonging in the web of life, and to powers within us for the healing of our world. They are basic to the core assumptions of the Work That Reconnects.
Core Assumptions of the Work That Reconnects
- Our Earth is alive. It is not our supply house and sewer; it is our larger body.
- Our true nature is far more ancient and encompassing than the separate self-defined by habit and society. We are as intrinsic to our living world as the rivers and trees, woven of the same flows of matter/energy and mind. Having evolved us into self-reflexive consciousness, the world can now know and see itself through us, behold its own majesty, tell its own stories—and also respond to its own suffering.
- Our experience of moral pain for our world springs from our interconnectedness with all beings, from which also arise our powers to act on their behalf. When we deny or repress our pain for the world, or view it as a private pathology, our power to take part in the healing of our world is diminished. Our capacity to respond to our own and others’ suffering can be unblocked.
- Unblocking occurs when our pain for the world is not only intellectually validated, but also experienced. Cognitive information about the crises we face is generally insufficient to mobilize us. But direct experience of our own deep emotional response can reveal our mutual belonging in the web of life, and free us to act.
- When we reconnect with life, by willingly enduring our pain for it, the mind retrieves its natural clarity. We experience not only our interconnectedness in the Earth community, but also mental eagerness to match this experience with new paradigm thinking. Significant learnings occur as the individual re-orients to wider reaches of identity and self-interest.
- The experience of reconnection with the Earth community arouses desire to act on its behalf. As Earth’s self-healing powers take hold within us, we feel called to take part in the Great Turning. The steps we take can be modest ones, but they should involve some risk to our mental comfort, lest we remain caught in old, “ safe” limits. Courage is a great teacher and bringer of joy.
Aims of the Work That Reconnects
The Work That Reconnects helps us discover our innate connections with each other and with the self-healing powers in the web of life. This aim is essential for the emergence of a life-sustaining culture.
In order to do this, we aim to:
- to provide people the opportunity to experience and share with others their innermost responses to the present condition of our world.
- to reframe their pain for the world as evidence of their interconnectedness in the web of life, and hence of their power to take part in its healing.
- to provide people with concepts– from systems science, deep ecology, or spiritual traditions– which illumine this power, along with exercises which reveal its play in their own lives.
- to provide methods by which people can experience their interdependence with, their responsibility to, and the inspiration they can draw from past and future generations, and other life-forms.
- to enable people to embrace the Great Turning as a challenge which they are fully capable of meeting in a broad variety of ways, and as a privilege in which they can take joy.
- to enable people to support each other in clarifying their intention, and affirming their commitment to the healing of the world.
Joanna Macy, see her website www.joannamacy.net