On October 6, Garrison Institute Co-Founder Jonathan F.P. Rose joined Jamie Bristow, a leading expert on contemplative practice and public life, for a discussion on the “inner dimension” of addressing climate change. Jamie is also the Co-Director of the Mindfulness Initiative, a policy institute based in the United Kingdom that is focused on mindfulness and compassion training that grew out of a program of mindfulness teaching for members of the British Parliament.
While the climate crisis, according to Jamie, should be addressed through an array of solutions that are practical, physical, and political — there is also the importance of inner solutions to the problem. “We have never needed to be more aware of our world, but we have never been more distracted,” noted Jamie, who also co-authored “Reconnection: Meeting the Climate Crisis Inside Out,” which draws on the evidence between internal transformation to sustainability. Mindfulness is attention training, he says, which can help us to put into place a kind of “psychic self-defense,” particularly in this age of social media.
Mindfulness, sensitivity, and compassion have important roles to play, especially in reconnecting ourselves to what we have separated ourselves from — ourselves, each other, and the natural world. Through mindfulness, compassion, and a sense of our interconnectedness and interdependence, we can see the planet as an extension of ourselves and gain the resilience, mindset, and responses that will be needed to face the immense climate challenges that lie ahead.
In essence, everything we need to do for our survival may also be the very things we need to do to make ourselves happier and to create a more flourishing society, concluded Jamie – which is most certainly “a beautiful coincidence.”
This event was part of a continuing series in the Garrison Institute’s Pathways to Planetary Health (PPH) online forums.