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Sun, 17 Mar

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Clifton Hill

Equinox Talk - Susan Murphy: (In a rapidly heating world) Compassion is a cool fire

“We are the only protectors; and we are what needs to be protected; and we are what it needs to be protected from.” Robert Hass

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Equinox Talk - Susan Murphy: (In a rapidly heating world) Compassion is a cool fire
Equinox Talk - Susan Murphy: (In a rapidly heating world) Compassion is a cool fire

time & place

17 Mar 2024, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm AEDT

Clifton Hill, 100 Hodgkinson St, Clifton Hill VIC 3068, Australia

About

An old Daly River elder once called out our entirely strange way of living in a state of alienation to the earth – and thus even to ourselves - as “living by damage”.

Join us on March 17 for our Equinox Talk, to be delivered by Zen teacher, author and filmmaker, Susan Murphy.

The case for the reality of a global climate emergency and eco-crisis no longer needs to be made; it is now being forcefully prosecuted by the earth herself.  We find ourselves caught in the glare, implicated in every direction:  clearly responsible for causing the damage we so badly need protection from, while finally having to face the state of alienation from the earth that makes us such a dire threat to the entire earth community.

Compassion – literally, feeling with and actively opening towards the evidence of suffering – is the end of alienation.  I want to explore it as a kind of ‘cool fire’ – that mind-opening phrase often used for indigenous cultural burning practice -- which regenerates life even as it protects against and tempers the impact of unbridled wildfire.

Seemingly paradoxically, the warmth at the heart of compassionate response turns out to have its source in equanimity, that mentally ‘cool’-looking state of mind.  Actually, equanimity is the mind poised, tending neither hot nor cold -- which is not quite the same thing as ‘cool’. Equanimity keeps the heart steady, free and willingly open, even in the face of sharp challenge… it tempers strong compassion with clarity and efficacy.

And setting this cool fire of compassion, that is at once soft and strong, free of rancour and despair, can be accepted as the charge laid to our hearts by the exquisitely challenging and chaotic time we’re all now sharing.

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