“The need of the time pushes us to take responsibility for the Earth,
to uncover the secrets that are hidden within life,
and to help the world awaken to a new way of being."

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee 
Earlier in March, GPIW held a gathering in Varanasi as part of the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change series with a country focus on India. GPIW reached out to friends and networks to identify young ecologists from different parts of the Indian continent. We invited Earth activists, regenerative farmers, educators, marine biologists, writers and filmmakers, policy experts and systems thinkers to look at the deeper causes of the ecological crisis and the spiritual impact of what the human community has inflicted upon the Earth.

A session was devoted to addressing what it means to decolonize the mind; exploring how we have been conditioned these many past centuries, how we have been programed to forget that Earth is sacred and to believe that our goal is to consume and acquire more and more. How do we de-condition our thinking? How has our education system separated us from a way of living respectfully with nature? We heard from a young Tibetan climate leader that it was unthinkable in Tibet to mine gems and minerals from the sacred mountains; one must even ask permission of the Earth before building a house. With colonization came a change in how we regard sacred sites. We become afraid to say, ‘there is a spirit in the mountain’. A part of us closed down – the part that knows intuitively rather than rationally. How are we being conditioned now by media and the current world story of economic progress? What is success? What is progress? We need to question more deeply says, Manish Jain , who shared that his grandmother was instrumental in his ‘un-learning journey’ as she was one of the wisest, most creative and compassionate human beings he ever met, yet she was ‘uneducated’. 
The 3 day gathering included a mix of small group discussions and large group sharing. We spent a day at a beautiful monastery, the Sarnath International Nyingma Institute , and invited monks who are studying ecology to join our discussion. Mihir Mathur led us through an introduction to systems thinking and how it is used in addressing the underlying causes of a problem we are seeking to resolve. It was very beneficial to have the monks join us as they brought to our discussion their deep spiritual practice and their study of environmental issues. 

Gratitude to all our participants and supporting organizations, including ITRI-USA, Jñana-Pravaha and Sarnath International Nyingma Institute and photo credits to Parvati Markus.

One afternoon was devoted to being on the Ganga, with the Ganga, in reflection, in silence as we traveled along the sacred river by boat and then shared our experiences. It was perhaps the highlight for many people as it forced us to turn our attention within and to seek to connect with the inner spirit of the Ganga, not just her outer manifestation. Some received messages, others simply enjoyed the quiet time to be in communication with the river. It was a time to leave beyond the rational thinking mind and to tune in to a deeper part of one’s spirit, in communion and with a sense of reverence for the life nurturing forces of nature.
Film from Inner Dimensions of Climate Change - Middle East
and Mediterranean Region

We are happy to share with you the recently completed film from our gathering last October on the Akemas Peninsula in Cyprus. We hope the voices, bright faces and messages contained in the film will lift your spirits.