Many of you know that I am focused on a Buddhist response to climate crisis. I believe Dharma practice has a lot to offer because it brings us into alignment with a different kind of power than—well, basically money, and the privilege of being able to manipulate the natural world to secure our comfortable lives. This ‘other power’ emerges from directly knowing the indestructible, diamond-like mind-heart as awareness knowing consciousness, which is the same deep subjectivity within all sentient life.
One of the last things my father said to me before he died was, "Don't waste your energy rehashing what has been or imagining a brighter future. Be content with what you have and who you are." He was seventy-four at the time and, although he didn't know it, he was not long for this world. He had always been a practical man, apparently more interested in teaching my sisters and I how to get along in the world—how to lay tile or mow the lawn or conduct ourselves in the board room—than in encouraging us to contemplate the meaning of life.
Tanhā is the movement of the mind that keeps taking exception to what is—wanting things to be another way (bhava tanhā), not wanting them to be the way they are (vibhava tanhā), or just being preoccupied with sensory experience (kāma tanhā). Tanhā is a restless agitation—"relishing now here and now there," as the Buddha put it—that makes it impossible to be content with things as they are.
Wise Intention is the fundamental basis of a beautiful mind/heart and consequently a beautiful life. Every mind moment involves an intention. Each decision and every action is born of intention. Each movement, word and thought is preceded by a volitional impulse, frequently unnoticed. Just as drops of water eventually fill a bucket, so the accumulation of our intentional choices shapes our life.
Wise Understanding is the first aspect of the Wisdom limb of the Noble Eightfold Path. Albert Einstein wisely said "A human being is a part of the whole, called by us 'universe,' yet we experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is really a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires, and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of understanding and compassion, to embrace all living creatures in the whole of nature and its beauty."