Time to Stand Up: Mindfulness in the Apocalypse

A ten-part series with Thanissara and Sumedha hosted by:

Sacred Mountain Sangha & PAEAN: Peoples Alliance for Earth Action Now

Join Thanissara and Sumedha (scroll down for Sumedha’s bio) for a ten-part Dharma-based series to journey from overwhelm, confusion and anxiety to restoring deeper meaning as humans and as eco-allies and activists in these times. By applying the heart’s mindful, intuitive knowing and remembering our belonging within Nature’s sacred web of life, we will explore our values and clarify our focus and motivation within a collaborative spiritually-based community. This course will help prepare and support participants to be part of eco-climate-justice engagement and action locally and further afield.

For those interested, this course will be preceded by PAEAN’s Book Club reading Thanissara’s feminist-based book Time to Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth. It will run once a week each Wednesday from 5-6 pm PT, April 5th through May 3rd. More details and sign up here.

Dates and Times
The course is ONLINE
Recordings will be sent out after each session

MODULE ONE

9.30 am – 12.00 pm PT, US

May 5, 6, 7

MODULE TWO

9.30 am – 12.00 pm PT, US

May 12, 13, 14

MODULE THREE

9.30 am – 12.00 pm PT, US

May 19, 20, 21

Follow-up Session June 1, 9.30 am – 12.00 pm

YOUR GUIDE

Thanissara, originally from London, practices a contemplative approach to activism. Thanissara’s Dharma training was in Buddhist meditation centers in the UK, EU, Myanmar and India, including 12 years as a monastic in the Ajahn Chah Thai Forest Tradition. She has taught in-depth meditation retreats in many countries over the last 35 years.

Thanissara went on to co-found, with her husband, Kittisaro, Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat and Public Benefit Organization in South Africa in 2000 where they also co-initiated and supported several rural Community Development projects. During this time they also forged a synthesis of core Theravada and Mahayana teachings and practices, with a particular focus on the Kuan Yin Dharmas, which they developed and taught through leading annual month-long retreats at Dharmagiri over 20 years.

Thanissara & Kittisaro later co-founded Sacred Mountain Sangha Non-Proft Church in 2017 based in California, which facilitates retreats, classes, and trainings. In 2022 Thanissara co-launched PAEAN: Peoples Alliance for Earth Action Now. She also co-founded Mind Our Democracy with Konda Mason and Tara Brach.

Thanissara has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Core-Process Psychotherapy from the Karuna Institute UK and is the author of several books, including Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth — The Buddha’s Life and Message through Feminine Eyes. Thanissara has been a climate activist for many years through her writings, teachings, workshops and involvement in direct actions on the streets, at Standing Rock, at climate marches, and through enabling various climate initiatives. Thanissara currently lives in Sebastopol, CA, and is on the Teacher Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

OVERVIEW

The collapse of climate and nature, threatening human and all planetary life, is the most complex and overwhelming challenge the world has ever faced. While doable solutions are within reach, we are up against corrupted political, corporate, financial, and media agendas that use their inordinate power to continually block the urgent need to implement them.

Even though people everywhere feel overshadowed by the enormity of our planetary emergency, it’s as if we are in a collective trance, unable to break an insidious spell. All of this takes a weighty toll on our nervous systems as we try to navigate the emotional and psychological impact of considerable angst and heartbreak, often with little support.

And yet, even within the most difficult challenges, there is always opportunity. “Apocalypse” means both the end of the world as we know but also “unveiling” or “revelation.” Mindfulness helps us see beyond the prism of reactivity and confusion while enabling direct access to the intuition of the heart and what is truly meaningful to us in these times.

The Buddha called mindfulness the “flood stopper,” meaning it has the potential to stop the flood of greed, hatred, and delusion at the core of our dystopic descent and, instead, enable a fuller emergence of a new story born from our loftiest dreams and forged by love and dedication to humane values and to each other.

We have the ability to break the spell, reverse the flood, and apply the revelations of this time to embolden our unique voices and offerings, making them count. As inner transformation informs our commitment to radical change, together, we increase the odds of securing a world that is more loving and caring.

When we do this, we join millions of dedicated people from all walks of life, movements, and organizations around the world focused on the same values. By being and rising together, building alliances, and stepping out with courageous hearts, positive change becomes unstoppable.

Who is this course for?

All are welcome.

The course is for anyone who feels anxiety, fear, dread, and overwhelmed due to our eco-climate-societal breakdown and doesn’t want to be a bystander but instead feels the call to engage in meaningful and effective ways, while realigning our energy, priorities and values for these times.

In particular, this course will support, encourage, and embolden Dharma and mindfulness practitioners, leaders and teachers looking to speak out more truthfully about our situation, while rekindling our collective commitment to a humane world.

None of us is an expert in this territory, even if we bring skills, experience and knowledge. Instead, in so many ways, we are all in this mapless territory together. Rather than navigate this alone, we will take time to be with our inner process within a Dharma-supported community that shares, explores, inquires and commits to act.

The intention of the course is to:

  • Highlight shared humane values, deepen resilience, share and offer and receive support furthering collaboration.

  • To experience and know ourselves as inter-beings within the cosmos and nature’s sacred web of life.
  • Take some more steps toward greening up home life.
  • Be realistic regarding the eco/climate/societal challenges we face.
  • Connect the dots of climate disruption to patriarchy, colonialism and internalized oppressive and erroneous systemic conditioning.
  • Touch into core dharma themes and practices relating them to eco-climate strategies.
  • To seed and encourage participants’ inquiry and exploration of engaged Dharma and climate activism.
  • To offer resources and insights from leading guides and activists.
  • To connect with and draw from our courage, passion and vision.

  • To commit to moving beyond business as usual as an eco-climate ally and activist.
  • To engage, find our focus, get out into the larger community and onto the streets.
  • To seed and develop an ongoing SMS-PAEAN-affiliated Dharma-based climate action community.

What the course includes:

A Dharma-Based Approach

• Yin-orientated Mindfulness practice for these times.

• Dharma teachings and practices for going beyond business as usual.

• Guided meditations to support strengthening well-being and inner resiliency.

• Contemplative psycho-spiritual practices to access our deeper feelings.

• The use of ceremony and ritual, protector chants and mantras.

Information, Resources & Input of Eco-Climate Trends

• Current focal points and trends of eco-climate-societal challenges and core strategies and responses from climate activists, groups and movements.

• A deeper look into the roots of our dystopia, linking climate solutions to the ethics of justice, empathetic alliance with non-human beings, and global equity.

• Resources, highlighting leading authors, speakers, groups, and movements.

Joining Together within Community

• A spiritually-orientated community for dialogue, sharing and mutual support.

• On-going, follow-up weekly PAEAN Dharma-based eco-climate meetings.

• Belonging within a deeper commitment to a community of all beings.

In-between Sessions & Small Home Groups

• Manageable and enjoyable weekly homework, with no pressure.

• Input and resources from supportive eco-dharma and eco-climate voices and perspectives.

• Small home groups between sessions to explore together the homework and themes from the course.

Taking it Home, Taking it Out

• Finding your deepest passion for life and for engagement.

• Envisioning and implementing a plan of action for your home.

• Taking eco-climate engagement, allyship and activism to the larger community, into nature and onto the streets.

Week by Week Focus and Outcomes

This journey through this course draws from Thanissara’s book “Time to Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Earth.

The course will prepare and invite participants to organize or join an outdoor climate action over the last weekend of the course. This will be in your local area with a few friends or a larger group at a place you are drawn to. For example, where harm to Earth and/or animals is being done, a shopping mall, steps of a government building, etc. or simply in nature and community.

The action could take the shape of “Sit for Survival,” or “Mindfulness Walk for Earth” with flyers, posters, and a banner highlighting an issue, etc. You could also undertake a ritual for the Earth in nature or some other action that you create. There will also be a session to debrief post our climate action.

COURSE CONTENT