Shaun Chamberlin: Surviving The Aftermath Of The Market Economy

Sounds like a good book title. laugh

cmartenson wrote:
Quite paradoxically and surprisingly to me was discovering, only rather recently in life, was discovering that grief is the twin partner of love. By limiting grief because it was uncomfortable or 'bad' and to be avoided, I was limiting my capacity to experience love. Hunh. Such a strange finding. For me.
I feel as if love and grief exist in much the same duality as night/day, or hot/cold. They are twins who must exist together for either of them to have meaning. If no one ever died, or if all happy things never ended, would we even define them as existing? Or would they simply be assumed-states-of-being, much like a fish simply exists in water without consciously thinking about it. Either way, I feel as if the inevitable grief of the loss of my loved ones is the very thing that prompts me to be sure to show that love now rather than later. To feel it now, and show it now, and be in it now. It is the end of my time being alive (death) that pokes me in the shoulder and reminds me to live while I am alive.

Such a simple concept, yet apparently so difficult to acknowledge and act on for so many people. Including, mind you, myself on most days.

cmartenson wrote:
After a bit of experience in expanding my emotional range and ability to feel more and more without shutting down or drinking, I discovered a new appreciation for the magic of being alive that I no longer need an amazing sunset to feel amazing...I can be utterly astounded by the cup of hot liquid I am holding.
So maybe it's not a coin with grief etched on one face and love on the other side, but a triangle with grief, love and awe all in some sort of complicated relationship? I don't know, I'm still working on this theory. What I'm saying is that the gift that has come to me as a consequence of having confronted the circumstances of our time is an ability to live more fully, with more meaning, and feeling more connected and alive. A good portion of my energy for the work of carrying the PP message out to the world comes from the desire to assist more people in their own process of waking up into their current lives, finding their own gifts by whatever path gets them there, and engaging more fully with the profound mystery and beauty of being alive. Quite tactically, this also serves the mission of creating a world worth inheriting. Awake, happy, connected people are far more likely to need fewer material things, and to tread more lightly on this planet and learn to appreciate that all life has a purpose, not just their own or human life. My awakening has come with an ever increasing humility. I used to know a lot, now I know almost nothing because I realize that everything has another layer of depth to it and each layer comes with a myriad of relationships and associations to other things. Instead of condensing the world because I named and categorized things, the world become ever more complex to the point that I have simply marvel a the intricate beauty of it all and trust that it all has some meaning and purpose simply because it's there in the first place. And with that, my morning sermon is over. :)

I’ve experienced a similar development and trajectory, so this read very much like a diary entry in my own head. I won’t claim to be “whole” or “enlightened” or “at peace,” but I have noticed that I increasingly have the ability to stop in any given moment, turn off the ‘noise’ around me, and focus on the brilliant miracles of the world in that exact moment. To hold on to life, see it in all its myriad complexity and simplicity, appreciate it, and then let it go. I can’t do it all the time - the noise is loud these days, and living in scary times after years of Mother Culture lulling me into a false sense of security makes conscious living difficult still - but when I can do it, I feel as if I am touching the face of God. I’ve even had moments where I can open my senses to some kind of cosmic connection I can’t describe, in which I literally can feel my connection to everything around me. It only lasts a few milliseconds before it overloads my senses, but it is those moments that comfort me in a sometimes uncomfortable world.

Or I’m just going crazy, which is a distinct possibility. Then again, if this is crazy I’d rather not be sane, so it’s all good.

Please understand that I still have my moments of insanity and frenetic adherence to the banal world of work, prepping, etc, so I’m no buddhist master or anything. Ah, but those moments of clarity are like fresh cold water to a thirsty man in the desert.

Thanks for sharing, Chris. That was a refreshing post to read.

by the cup of hot liquid I’m holding." Whatever’s in that cup it produced an astounding morning sermon (homily in my verbage). Thank God that java is not a new invention. Granted it may have started out in Africa, but with global warming I think we can figure out how to grow coffee anywhere. Thanks Chris!for sharing with us.

Transcript coming?

my copy of Surviving got to me before the transcripts.

smiley If you’re going crazy I’m right there with you Snydeman!
I love your conception of love and grief, and those fleeting moments of transcendental integration! In fact you reminded me very much of David Fleming’s entry on “Death” in Lean Logic:

“A natural system lies in tension between life and death: death is as important to it as life.
A lot of death is a sign of a healthy large population.
Too much death is a sign that it is in danger; it is not coping; its terms of coexistence with its habitat are breaking down.
Too little death is a sign of the population exploding to levels which will destroy it and the ecology that supports it.
No death means that the system is already dead.
…Expressing faith in the sanctity of human life is a licence—in a series of little, well-intentioned, self-evident steps—to kill the ecology that supports it.
The large-scale system, relying on its size and technology, and making an enemy of death which should be its friend, joins a battle which it cannot win.”

That actually helped me a lot as I came to terms with his own sudden death, closest friend as he was. As I wrote in a recent piece, reflecting on this…
Death, then, is not our adversary. Death has its rightful place, as the partner of life, and it always will.
No, our true enemy is far more pernicious, lurking in the shadows, shrinking from the light.
It is not death but undeath that we must face down—the true realm of zombies, of vampires. That living death that hollows all joy, pleasure and meaning from our souls even as our bodies continue to feast on all around us. The cold, relentless, insatiable hunger working to consume all that we hold dear, and taking no pleasure in that work.
This is the enemy of nature and of life. The enemy of art and of love.
And this is the very undeath that our native culture seems to specialise in, as it urges us perpetually towards joyless, guilt-riddled consumption. As it values the number of breaths in our life far more than the amount of life in our breaths. As it places inside its children values that can turn the desire to heal our world into a burden of guilt and self-denial so heavy that the decision to buy an ice cream becomes exhausting (see the rest of the article for what I’m on about here!). We carry the wetiko culture within us.
Yes, this contagion is the enemy. And the antidote is not weary admonitions nor endless reams of data on the destruction it is wreaking.
Perhaps it is too late to head off the worst of the consequences. Perhaps not. But this I am sure of: the antidote is joy. A life wholehearted.
The gifts of the tingling intensity of full life—the simple joys of a path untainted by despair, corruption or surrender. Delighting unapologetically in the exquisite tastes of food, the truth and beauty ringing in music or a beautiful day and, for me, always the dancing—my wild, beloved dancing. …This is utopia today, and perhaps the only utopia there has ever been.
All best,

Oh, thank you Chris and Snydeman,
I couldn’t agree more that working with and through grief, both individually and collectively, is such a core element of staying fully alive and able to respond with our full selves. Due to the personal experiences I mentioned in the interview, I’ve been forced to learn a lot about that over the past six years, and interestingly I’ve found that the writing I’ve produced as I’ve gone through it has probably resonated more widely than anything else.
Chris’ comments in particular reminded me of a still-popular interview I did on this subject at Findhorn, Scotland a couple of years back. The transcript was put out by the Kosmos journal back then (…), but I only realise now that I look for it that the video footage wasn’t online, so have just posted it up:

That said, while agreeing wholeheartedly with your sentiment I might quibble slightly with the statement that the point of life is necessarily to enjoy it. I can think of plenty of times I have foregone enjoyment with no regrets (laboriously editing and indexing Lean Logic definitely being one of those times!). I might rather say that the point of life is to tell a story with that life that you feel to the core of your being you'd be proud to tell. But it really is only a quibble, because it's generally those things that bring the deepest tingle of joy and aliveness. What that story is will look different for everyone, of course, but it's a pretty good yardstick. And as Leonard Cohen put it, "steer your heart carefully past the truth you believed in yesterday". The best distillation I've come across of all our ramblings came from the theologian Howard Thurman. In fact it's my all-time favourite quote (because I have to remind myself of it so often): "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Best to all, and thanks to the many who've been in touch directly re: the interview. Shaun ps And Chris, glad that you're going to take the deep dive into Lean Logic. Comments like "each layer comes with a myriad of relationships and associations to other things" make me suspect you'll enjoy it! Here in England I just counted 25 books on my bedside stack (yes, it's fallen more than once!), for which I can hold the time spent on Lean Logic wholeheartedly responsible..! Zero regrets smiley

So, I guess the transcript is superfluous now. :smiling_face:

Shaun, thank you for revisiting David Fleming’s analysis of the relationship between life and death. I came to a similar conclusion through my ongoing study and work/experiments within permaculture. One of the things that I find most fascinating in working with living systems is that their very foundation is built upon dead and decaying organisms – in short, death. But out of that death springs forth life in all its vitality. Then those organisms die off and enable the lives of yet more to come into being.
It’s not so much a “line” between life and death as it is a very fuzzy barrier. We can certainly tell when something is “alive” as opposed to when it is “dead”. But when we step back and look at the dance between those two states of being in a larger system, the divisions melt away between them. It’s all just one big wheel of life that just keeps turning round and round and round again.
I actually find great comfort in looking at life and death this way, because it helps to reduce attachment to my own mortality and instead embrace it, knowing that it will give my body the opportunity to bring forth more life as it decays and breaks down. The alternative is to live in fear of death, constantly trying to keep it at bay – but in so doing we just diminish life, and turn it into the undeath that you have spoken and written about.

Hi Chris,
Thank you for being so transparent in your awakening. I agree wholeheartedly that this area of preparedness is essential. I think about the interaction of grief and praise/love in terms of some kind of three dimensional connection rather than discrete opposites or experiences. When we expand our emotional capacity, seemingly opposing experiences coexist as an essential part of the spectrum of life. It seems to me we choose to think of grief and love/praise as polar experiences when we are uncomfortable experiencing one and/or the other. These times will continue to test our ability to be responsive rather than reactive and keeping our emotional life current by feeling how we feel about what is happening and has happened is essential in my opinion.
I also really appreciate you naming that in this awakening you realize you know nothing. In my experience believing I know something creates a whole lot of ineffective efforting.
What an interesting time this is. I hope for a peaceful transition this week.