Adyashanti’s Climate Wisdom

Here are teachings from Adyashanti‘s inspiring talk on “Climate Change as Spiritual Teacher on 1/21/23, with Jonathan Gustin of the Purpose Guides Institute (from my notes, lightly edited & resequenced.)

Adyashanti: We are simultaneously holding the facts of climate change, the arising of heartbreak, and the fullness of courage in finding a full-hearted response. It is not about rejecting the facts, nor about rejecting the heartbreak. It’s about accepting, about being with what is.

I experience human heartbreak / sadness / grief at what is happening, alongside an experience of transcendence. The only thing I trust, in my own experience, is when both perspectives are present.

The closer we get to paradox, the closer we get to truth. We can be not okay and okay at the same time. Everything is eternally, absolutely okay, even though it is very not okay.

Is there a little corner of you that is okay, even with the situation of our planet not being okay? Once you find that corner, you may find it is more expansive than you could have imagined.

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Envisioning and Creating a Safe Energy Future

Twenty-five years ago, I co-wrote a booklet about the risks of nuclear power and the prospects of clean energy. Published by Plutonium Free Future, The Safe Energy Handbook (1997) was translated into nine languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Slovenian, and Turkish) and distributed to global citizen activists resisting nuclear power. Now, in these times of growing climate chaos—with alarming signals that we will face ecological tipping points in our near-term future—this excerpt still resonates.

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FROM THE SAFE ENERGY HANDBOOK, by Jan Thomas, Claire Greensfelder & Wendy Oser (1997)

PHASE OUT FOSSIL FUELS

Burning fossil fuels releases huge quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. It is now widely recognized that our atmosphere simply will not be able to continue absorbing six billion tons of carbon every year (70% of it from burning fossil fuels) without disastrous consequences that will last for generations.

Scientists have been warning for decades about global warming, the process in which CO2 and other pollutants trap the sun’s heat and cause the temperature at the earth’s surface to rise. Over time, climate and seasonal cycles may be significantly disrupted. According to climate studies, average world temperatures have steadily risen since records began to be kept in 1880. As of 1997, five of the warmest years on record have occurred since 1987.

Global climate change could be a decisive factor affecting survival prospects for those who will follow us. 

POWER FOR THE FUTURE

Coal gave us the Industrial Revolution with its soot-covered cities, lung diseases, factories and coal mines. Oil brought us the Age of Combustion with automobiles, big highways, jet planes and the glorification of consumerism. Nuclear power has given us the Atomic Age and an enduring legacy of radioactive contamination and health problems. But renewable energies — the sun, wind and water — will bring us into the Solar Age and change our society in more favorable ways than we can yet imagine. 

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We Are in a Climate Emergency

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Recently I attended a Climate Compassion Salon in Berkeley. Over 40 people crammed into the living room of a private home to hear Ezra Silk, The Climate Mobilization‘s Director of Strategy & Policy, speak at length about the climate emergency that we face. Below is my synthesis of inputs—Ezra’s as well as other Salon participants—from this memorable evening.


Friends, we are in an environmental, economic, social and spiritual crisis. For ten years people have been talking about climate change as an 11th hour problem. Now the climate clock has struck midnight, and we have a very small window of time to prevent ecological and social collapse.

Speaking Our Truths About the Climate Crisis

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Recently I joined in a “Wisdom Circle for a World on Fire” convened by Shams Kairys and Cindy Spring—a space to join others in exploring our deepest thoughts and feelings about climate change. Here is a summary of our purpose, from Shams’ email that brought the group together:

“Those who are willing to peel back the forces of denial and look at our actual condition, who are often left feeling isolated and distraught, need to be talking with each other. In a dedicated space with a small group, we will peer into our hearts and minds and engage in honest conversation. This milieu is conducive not only for informing each other, but also for hearing our own trials and emerging recognitions in a fresh light. The focus is not so much on the facts of the matter or actions to address it as on expanding our capacity to face and integrate what we are learning, and its impact upon us.”

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The Legacy of Grace Lee Boggs: “Re-imagine Everything”

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Onstage banners at the West Coast memorial for Grace Lee Boggs

On March 20, 2016 a celebration of Grace Lee Boggs’ 100-year life was held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. The memorial speakers offered stories and lessons learned from Grace, who was active in social change work for three quarters of a century. Here is a sampling of what was shared, followed by my full journal notes.


1.    We remake ourselves to remake the world.

2.    What do I need to change in myself to be more effective in changing the world?

3.    What does it mean to “grow our souls”?

4.    Praxis is about changing our minds and our perspectives in response to changing conditions.

5.    Questions are more important than answers.

6.    Go beyond simply complaining and waiting for others to change it or fix it.

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Toward Our Emergent Future

JT_at_Golden_Gate_Bridge_smThese days my adventures in learning center around how we as humans can shift our course and our consciousness to create more harmonious relationships with the biosphere and one another.

A Collective Learning Journey

We have entered a new era of humanity, a time when the continued viability of the biosphere to sustain life is no longer assumed or assured, but must be worked for. It is unknown whether our species can succeed in creating a long-term future that is biologically and socially favorable.

Time to get busy with the sacred work of transforming our world. As we go about reweaving humanity’s ways of being on the earth, this will bring much learning, connection and meaning to our lives.

In this blog I will share occasional quotes, resources, inspiration, and questions, exploring themes of personal and planetary transformation – interfaith spirituality and ministry – nature as beloved, nature as self – changing the Story – social justice – psychodynamics of social change – Hinduism – bedside singing – and more.

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