Quite literally, the term “philosophy” means, “love of wisdom.”
We seek to understand fundamental truths about ourselves, others, the world, existence, and the relationship between these.
What is the nature of reality?
If everything is interconnected (cause-effect, or chance), where does that leave free will?
What can we do in the situation — in the mesh — we’re in?
We’re not in the mesh, though. We are the mesh. We’ll come back to this.
What might it mean to live a good life, if we’re entirely enmeshed, if we are the mesh?
The mesh, or the systems that sustain us, emerge more and more into consciousness as the ecological emergency increasingly demands our urgent and critical attention.
Yet we can move beyond the “doomsters” (there is nothing that we can do) and the “deniers” (there is nothing that we need to do) of the prevailing global ecological emergency. We can understand that there is the view that we can do something. This something is not tied to an atomistic conception of the self, but rather flows in and through the systems within which we have co-evolved, the mesh. Just as the ecological emergency is in us and we are in it, so we are not just catalysts of the emergency, but interactive features in it.
Therefore today, I invite you to notice, really notice, what is happening right now. That might mean that you notice what is happening physically, in your own experience, or in the room around you, or both. And, if you are used to noticing what is happening right now, you will also be accustomed to paying close attention to your emotional state, and even to longer term habitual patterns of thought, what you tend to come back to again and again. This noticing in action is what I understand by the phrase ‘practice realisation’ which comes from the philosopher and Kamakura Zen priest, Dogen Zenji.
There are three ideas I want to get across: enmeshment (and therefore a reimagining of traditional free will), practice realisation, and attitude as spirit, after the philosopher…