Monthly Archives: July 2012

Dragon Dreaming pt four: Walking through the Quadrates

See earlier posts on topic here

As the circle is a fractal, every quadrate holds all 4 stages within itself. There are 12 steps through the circle and four guardians of the edge that make sure you’re ready to pass on to the next stage.

  • 1. New awareness is the dreaming of the dream phase where the dream comes into being in the self.
  • 2. The motivation or the sharing of information is where the dream is put out to others to become others’ dream. It is the planning phase of the dreaming.
  • 3. Gathering information is the doing phase of the dreaming and is a phase where feasibility will be checked and considered and planning material will be gathered.

Here, before the project moves into the second stage, the planning, there is a time for reflection. It’s the centre of the circle, a time for reflection, quiet, like the centre of a candle or a storm. It’s the first guardian of the edge, if the project doesn’t work or hasn’t been successful to hear it goes back to the first step.

  • 4. Considering alternatives is the time to find different or other helpful options; the dreaming in the planning.
  • 5. Designing strategies is the point where the group will look at what needs to be doe and design ways of doing it, an action/implementation plan will be worked out.
  • 6. Test and trial is the stage to try out the design and readjust, develop it.

The second guardian comes in to reflect the planning stage.

  • 7. The implementation will be started here, first foot in the water, the doing is dreamed into being.
  • 8. The management and administration is organised, the location of resources identified, checking incomes and outcomes, tracking time and keeping the deadline in mind.
  • 9. Installing monitoring helps to change the doing, readjust, learn from previous experiences.

The third guardian comes in to reflect the doing stage.

  • 10. Evaluating outcomes allows us to learn from our processes, and acquire new skills, see where we need to develop to be more effective.
  • 11. Personal growth will be the benefits acquired by the individual in the project.
  • 12. Inner reflection time is there to find deeper wisdom within the individual and new meaning, further direction to start the cycle again.

The fourth guardian comes in to reflect the celebration stage to move on to the cycle.

This wheel is a model: the menu, not the meal. A model is trying to be close to reality, but is never perfect in that imitation.

You can imagine one project that you’ve done in their lifetime and walk over the 12 steps, evaluating how much effort/time you have put into each one of them on a scale from one to 10; one being little time and 10 being a lot of time. It is easy to draw up a circular diagram from here that shows which stages you seem to prefer. The diagram has circles around the core, the closest being one, the furthest 10.

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What a blessing …

By Neno Vučković

… to be alive. Born to learn and take the lessons. Every day we learn, we see ourselves, who we are, in different lights. What we think is what we become. The mirror is in front of us. Giving us, serving us every moment with what we need, exactly what we were looking for. We reflect ourselves, and again, become what we see. Can I be and stand the strain? Be myself, fully pure?

Life is a flow, like a river, guiding me, while I was ignorant. I am here as I’m meant to be, in the flow of things. It is love, the Earth is compassionate, direct, wise. If I look deep, I will see, it’s no surprise, it’s meant to be. The breathing in, the breathing out, the moment here, the moment now.

Dragon Dreaming pt. three: Narrowing down the Dream

For earlier posts see Dragon Dreaming pt. one: an introduction and Dragon Dreaming pt. two: the Dreaming Circle.

The meeting facilitator will write down the results from the Dreaming Circle without getting rid of the original document (which is good to keep). Things that turned up a few times in the Circle as well as relating ideas can be put together or grouped so that the outcomes are more easily visible. He/she reads out the dream to the group and ask whether everyone feel like their contribution has been considered (which should be the case as he/she doesn’t want to take anything away from the initial document).

The Dreaming Circle gave the project a broad layout. At this stage, as the group moves towards the planning phase, the dream needs to be narrowed down and find more focus and strength. Like a stream of water that flows through a narrower bed becomes stronger so do our thought, ideas and visions as they become focused. Thats why the outcomes from the Dreaming Circle need to be formulated in 3 to 5 specific goals, the vision of the project. From here the group can concentrate on giving the newly designed project a subtitle which describes the core of it and finally a title or name. This should make the meaning deeper while still enabling people to identify with it.

This process will be done in the groups, or in one big group all together, facilitated by the main facilitator of the session. If there is no time for that an example can be given.

Following is a draft (which explains having text in brackets) example from the EDE that will clarify what is described on top. Because of the high number of African participants on the EDE we designed a project to support the African Network of change makers and Ecovillages.

Goals:

  • develop capacity building (strategies) to empower communities
  • identify and strengthen (relevant) networks (of sustainability) in Africa
  • establish sustainable agriculture for food sovereignty
  • promote holistically sustainable communities and design
  • enhance and celebrate African traditions and best practices (for sustainability) 

Subtitle: Growing Resilient Communities

Name: African Abundance

More posts on Dragon Dreaming are following.

The neighbours’ hand

Peoplecare is one of the ethical principles of Permaculture. The way we interact with each other and work with our neighbours and surrounding communities is of major importance. In todays world community goes lost very often, and is not a priority anymore as we’ve got everything, from substantial to superficial, from supermarkets, television and the rest of our consumer culture. Only when we see that if we want to live sustainably again or maybe need to live from the land again we realise that our television and the supermarket won’t be of as much help as our neighbours.

Talking to the mind

We are today what we were thinking in the past and we will become what we are thinking today (see also).

Our plastic mind makes this possible. It always takes on the form of what we are thinking. When we think of an apple, our mind is an apple; when we think of a dog, our mind is a dog; when we think of light, our mind is light.

This experience can teach us how to change our character. Whenever I think “I don’t want to be an angry man”, my mind creates this image of an angry self. Only when I think of myself as being peaceful, my mind becomes peaceful.

I observe, that every thought is preceded by a concept or a term, which I create, through previous experiences; this ends up creating pattern, pattern of the mind that repeat themselves.

Can I use  prayer, acceptance, training in positive thinking to create new pattern, a positive mind frame for myself?

People want to engage …

People want to engage with their whole being, head, heart and hands.

If we try to create social and environmental conflict awareness through posters, flyers, web articles, newspapers and movies we engage people in thinking, in using their heads; there is still that element of ‘Me and Them‘, ‘that’s what THEY tell ME‘ or ‘look what THEY do‘. We fail to integrate or engage people’s whole being and make them be a part of what is happening.

This will be important to think of when we want to achieve social change: how can we engage whole people and how can we make them take ownership in the solution, be a part of the solution in progress.

That’s what makes visitors feel at home at the Panya Project so quickly. They are integrated in daily activities from day one; working at the farm, cooking, cleaning, things we all do communally and some things they do at home as well, caring for the most basic needs. At the same time they have the opportunity and the freedom to start something on their own, to bring change and own ideas. They are a part of the community, and they are the community when their whole being is engaged.

Check out kaiconfusion.wordpress.com for other great posts about the Panya Project, Permaculture and alternative ways of being …

Life With Nature

Table of contentsIMG_3581

  • VOLUNTEERS
  • DAY TO DAY LIFE
  • MEETINGS AND DECISION-MAKING
  • MANAGEMENT AND TASKS
  • COURSES AND PROFIT SHARE
  • THE CHALLENGE
  • ACTIVITIES
  • LINKS/ RESOURCES

Written by the author of
www.beetroot. wordpress.com
currently (2012)  working at the Panya Project. Photos and editing by kaiconfusion.

In the last four posts I have tried to introduce into important practical aspects of alternative and sustainably living. In this 5th post Mich
and I, are trying to introduce in how we can live together and how such life can be organized which is just as well a very important aspect of sustainably living, again at the example of the Panya Project and this time the community.

In Permaculture there are three core values:

  • Earthcare – recognising that the Earth is the source of all life (and is possibly itself a living entity- see Gaia theory) and respecting her accordingly.

View original post 1,486 more words

Raja Yoga and the 8-fold Path

Raja Yoga, one of the four main paths of Yoga, is considered the royal path, the Yoga of the mind or of self-discipline. It is a more integral and scientific approach to Yoga.

Raja Yogis believe that the mind needs first to be tamed in order to be purified. Patanjali, composer of the Raja Yoga Sutras writes the famous description of yoga which says ‘yogah chitta vritti nirodhah‘: chitta – thoughts; vritti – thought waves, modifications of the mind; nirodhah – to find tranquility, to control; a common english translation is ‘yoga is the slowing down of the modifications of the mind‘. If we slow down our thought waves we become able to observe them and acknowledge our mental patterns. This is the first step towards consciously changing them.

Every thought that comes up in our mind leaves a lasting impression, called sanskara in sanskrit. The more we repeat a thought, the deeper this sanskara becomes ingrained in our minds, so that it forms a thought pattern, a habit. You can imagine this like a river, the water flows down the same lines over again and leaves a valley. The deeper the valley, the harder it is for the water to find a different flow next time. When we here the name Michael Jackson, we think of music and when we hear the name James Bond we think of movies – these are our thought patterns, categories that are put together by the self-organising function of the mind. We use these categories in daily life to work more efficiently. In the same way however when we buy a piece of delicious cake at a bakery, we create a sanskara. Next time we walk past the bakery we think of that piece of cake. We buy it again and the sanskara becomes deeper. With repetition it becomes a habit, habits form our character and the character determines our destiny.

To free ourselves from these pattern, to look into the categories and consciously reorganise them, we need to slow down our waves of thought. For this purpose Patanjali put together the eight limbs of Raja Yoga which compromise elements from all of the main yogic scriptures.

The eight limbs consist of four points that deal with the external and then four that deal with the internal:

The Yamas represent the code of conduct and are practices of self-restraint, like Ahimsa, non-violence, Satya, truthfulness, Asteya, non-stealing, Brahmacharya, abstinence from sexual misconduct and Aparigraha, non-covetousness or non-possessivness. These Yamas are behavioural norms and are said to be essential to slow down the movements of the mind. If we are possessed by greed or violence our mind will not be able to concentrate.

The Niyamas are the five observances and are more of a spiritual practice to train the mind and control the emotions. They are Saucha, internal and external purity, Santosha, contentment, Tapas, austerity, Svadhyaya, study of scriptures and self-reflection, Ishvarapranidhana, self-surrender to God.

Asana is defined as a posture that one can hold effortless for some time observing calmness and breath. 84 asanas are considered to be the main ones while the most important one is padmasana, which is the lotus pose and helps us in meditation. The practice of asanas effects us physically (blood circulation, flexibility, inner organs, glands, muscles and nervous system), psychologically/emotionally (developing emotional balance and stability, inner harmony), mentally (improving our concentration, memory) and on a consciousness level (purifying and clarifying our awareness).

Pranayama is the control of prana, the life-force or energy which we achieve through regulation of the breath. The breath is what harmonises the mind, the prana and the physical body. Pranayama and asanas, often referred to as Hatha Yoga,  are the external practices that prepare the body for the internal following four practices.

Pratyahara is the control of the senses and teaches us to go inside ourselves and not be disturbed by what is going on outside of us. It is considered a prerequisite for the further practice of concentration and meditation.

Dharana means concentration. This is where every meditation starts, in focusing the mind, becoming-one pointed and not being distracted.

Dhyana is meditation, it goes beyond concentration. It is here where we are able to consciously alternate our mind and mental pattern, being awake, free from distractions and desire.

Samadhi is the final stage, blissful awareness, the superconscious state.

Creativity

Facing South, I call the element fire into the circle, asking for inspiration and creative strength. I turn towards the youth movement engaging in a way forward, into a better, more creative and resilient future based on values and collaborative social structures. I open myself for renewal, new promising visions and ideas.

Have you ever asked yourself what the inside of a seed might look like? Have you ever planted a seed in a bit of soil, given it water and sunlight? Have you seen what grows out of it? A sprout, a couple of leaves on a tiny little stem. Have you ever wondered how a seed of such small size can bring forth a tree, stingily rooted in the earth, reaching up to the sky, giving shade, fruit, life for hundreds of years to come? I’m amazed It seems like something that goes beyond; there is an inherit order of things that is larger than me, bigger than me.

Creativity is the nature of the universe. Everything works, everything constantly creates and deconstructs to create again. Can I even grasp it? How can I bring my creative power into being, into true existence, join the forces of nature and be an instrument for peace in this world?

When I sit in meditation, practicing mindfulness in the moment I am practicing peace within myself. When I practice walking on the earth I become aware that I am a part; a part of the whole, of the process of becoming. I make the whole complete. When I walk into empty spaces can I fill the void? Can I bring that creative presence, be that missing piece that makes the space complete? The landscape, the trees and me. The picture forms as I walk. Does it exist without me?

I am letting go of the idea that I need to be and I become. My intention is peace; peace is the seed that I sow; it will grow as I paint the landscape within; I paint the landscape without.