Join us on Monday to discuss deep ecology and Susan Murphy’s new book, A Fire Runs Through All Things: Zen Koans for Facing the Climate Crisis, in preparation for her visit in our Luminaries Series on January 22nd.

Excerpts from Susan Murphy’s book:

Koans offer no solace to the mind that would divide the world in order to manage the pain of experience. Nor do they direct a course of action. They merely lay before us the true breadth and open nature of every moment—the “formless field of benefaction.” After that it’s up to you and me. The privilege and weight of this responsibility is great.

I once heard Aunty Beryl Carmichael, a Ngiyampaa elder in Darling River country in New South Wales, Australia, put it simply: “Reality is connectedness. If you’re not in connectedness, you’re not in reality.”

Caller on a podcast: “What do you mean by interconnected?” Pause, then the podcast guest, an ecologist, responds: “There is a species of moth in Madagascar that drinks the tears of sleeping birds.”

There is no way to “save the Earth,” which is already complete in every moment. To save the Earth, just risk at last belonging to it, being complete with it.

The indigenous term “Country” is a richly unfolding koan that unfolds us. It is a matter resolved only in its embodiment. I take it as a koan posed to our fragile time.

Country says to just bring reality—the obdurate, irreplaceable rhinoceros itself—back whole and alive. In Country, as in Zen practice, there is a willingness to be unmade, fit to meet the task of congruence with a planet in perilous crisis.

As Tyson Yunkaporta, the cheeky Aboriginal philosopher, notes, “If you’re not laughing, you’re not learning.”

The extraordinary David Banggal Mowaljarlai, painter, teacher, storyteller, and linguist, was a senior Law-holder of the Ngarinyin people in West Kimberley.

He called the joy of the awake, skin-to-skin recognition of “Country” yorro yorro, translating this as “everything standing up alive, brand-new.”

—Susan Murphy