Haiyan – Inner Transition


If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.”
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

Imagine that you form a circle with every person in your community. Imagine that you include every being (plant, animal) in it, now include every “thing” that comes from the Earth in it. Imagine all have hands and can connect as links in a giant circular chain. Look at the circle: every element in the circle is equidistant from the centre. Nobody is “better” or has “more authority” than the others.  Hand-by-hand and together, you can see the interdependences and you all need each other. If you pay attention, you can also see what links you together and how these relations are established. You can see the vulnerabilities and the strengths.

What beliefs and stories keep this circle together? What types of relationships of power and exchange have developed?

The circle is as strong as its weakest link

Now repeat this exercise with the people and beings closest to you: your neighbourhood, your friends, and your family. Repeat this with the different organs and parts of your body, including your brain and your heart (your thoughts and emotions).

How do you sleep? How are your body functions? How stressed are you? What are your more realistic ideas about the future? What are your feelings about your family members, your friends, your job, your community? How is your health? How much debt do you have? How truly involved in the community are you? Where your food, water and general well-being come from? What are the things, the systems, the people you take for granted?

The circle is as strong as its weakest link

What beliefs and stories sustain you? Which ones are shared by the members of your closest family? What beliefs and stories are behind your behaviours?

Our beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves create patterns. These patterns can be positive (creating “spirals of abundance” in our lives and those of others) or negative (creating “spirals of erosion”). Patterns reflect in behaviours and reinforce beliefs. We perpetuate stories and beliefs and create different types of structures around and inside us (not necessarily circles, sometimes these structures are pervasively hierarchical, linear or triangular, sometimes they are broken structures).

Take Climate Change as an example: what behaviours in ourselves, our families or communities create Climate Change and perpetuate the patterns or structures of power where we think we are strong but we are actually causing damage to those who are “weak” (therefore, weakening ourselves)?

Some of these behaviours may be:

  • Heating our houses, shopping malls, vehicles and workplaces with extravagantly unnatural high temperatures (instead of wearing sweaters or leveraging the heating coming from other systems)
  • Eating meat (knowing how meat production /transportation/consumption leads to more emissions)
  • Driving our cars everywhere…(instead of walking cycling, using public transportation, carpooling or trying to reduce trips altogether)
  • Flying (and taking “vacations” somewhere else to “relieve” the pressure caused by jobs without purpose or exhaustion caused by working too much)
  • Buying things and services without considering their whole life (and dead) cycle, from where the resources come from, how these objects will be disposed, how they are manufactured and how this affects other people far away, etc.
  • Buying things we really don’t need
  • In general, continuing our current unsustainable and terribly unfair lifestyles

What beliefs may be behind the above behaviours?

  • “Climate Change is being exaggerated”
  • “It is not affecting me directly”
  • “I’m not responsible” (“maybe corporations and governments are”)
  • “I’m too small to make any difference”
  • “I deserve it (buy, travel, more heating, etc), because I worked/studied too hard”
  • “We all have to die from something”
  • “I can donate $100, $1,000, $100,000 and that will be fine”

What are the stories and beliefs behind all the things you know deep in your heart that are wrong in your life?

Why do you continue spending money if you are in debt? Why do you continue driving if you are in bad shape? Why you continue eating processed foods if your health is impacted? Why you continue your empty, shallow, disconnected and selfish lifestyle if you know about its consequences on others and yourself?

Last week typhoon Haiyan (the strongest in recorded history to have hit land) hit the Philippines. Millions are affected; hundreds of thousands are now homeless, some without access to clean water and appropriate food. Thousands are dead and many more may die due to illnesses, lack of water, food and medical services.

This week I had “week seven” in Transition training and we touched on “Inner Transition”. As a (coincidence?), I’m reading about this in a book called “People & Permaculture”. As another “coincidence” I have dreamt with floods repetitively many times in my life since I was a teenager. The past two weeks I have dreamt about this almost every night, waking up at 3 am and thinking…

We continue shaping and supporting power structures that don’t work because we are used to it. We behave as we do; even knowing deep inside that these behaviors are wrong because we have deeply ingrained beliefs that have created patterns in our minds and hearts.

But no matter how square or hierarchical we want to build our structures, our systems are round: we all depend on each other, we all influence each other.

Patterns are not written in stone: minds and even hearts are malleable: we can change our behaviours by becoming aware of the beliefs and stories behind them. We can challenge the beliefs and create new patterns by testing a new behaviour, a new thought, a new “belief”. We can write new stories.

Look at the circle of your body/soul, look at the circle of your life, look at the circle of your family, your friends, your community, the whole planet and its inhabitants.

Your ivory tower is crumbling…

The circle is as strong as its weakest link…

Sometimes it happens that you become one, in some rare moment. Watch the ocean, the tremendous wildness of it–and suddenly you forget your split, your schizophrenia; you relax. Or, moving in the Himalayas, seeing the virgin snow on the Himalayan peaks, suddenly a coolness surrounds you and you need not be false because there is no other human being to be false to. You fall together.”
~ Osho, Dang Dang Doko Dang

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About Silvia TIC

Welcome to these exercises inside the dimensions of what we are: we are what we dream and think and feel, but we are also the different characters we perform, not just the roles (mother, wife, friend), but those things we call “occupations” or “earning a life”. More than anything, we are part of a giant ecosystem and all what we do connects and impacts others (people, animals, plants, air, water...)

Posted on November 14, 2013, in Balance Work and Life, Community, Community Building, Community Resilience, Death, Disaster Management, Emergency Preparedness, Energy Descent Action Plan, Food Security, Life Changes, Life Choices, Natural Disasters, No Waste Living, Permaculture, Reflections on an unsustainable world, Resilience, Resilient Living and Choices, Samsara, Simply Living, Social Justice, Spiritual Journeys, Sustainable Living, Transition. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on Complete Health Circle and commented:
    “Our beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves create patterns. These patterns can be positive (creating “spirals of abundance” in our lives and those of others) or negative (creating “spirals of erosion”). Patterns reflect in behaviours and reinforce beliefs. We perpetuate stories and beliefs and create different types of structures around and inside us (not necessarily circles, sometimes these structures are pervasively hierarchical, linear or triangular, sometimes they are broken structures).
    But no matter how square or hierarchical we want to build our structures, our systems are round: we all depend on each other, we all influence each other.

    Patterns are not written in stone: minds and even hearts are malleable: we can change our behaviours by becoming aware of the beliefs and stories behind them. We can challenge the beliefs and create new patterns by testing a new behaviour, a new thought, a new “belief”. We can write new stories.

    Look at the circle of your body/soul, look at the circle of your life, look at the circle of your family, your friends, your community, the whole planet and its inhabitants.

    Your ivory tower is crumbling…

    The circle is as strong as its weakest link…

    “Sometimes it happens that you become one, in some rare moment. Watch the ocean, the tremendous wildness of it–and suddenly you forget your split, your schizophrenia; you relax. Or, moving in the Himalayas, seeing the virgin snow on the Himalayan peaks, suddenly a coolness surrounds you and you need not be false because there is no other human being to be false to. You fall together.”
    ~ Osho, Dang Dang Doko Dang

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