Gaia’s Heart and Your Mind–Closing the Gap.

Via Bud Wilson
on Feb 21, 2012
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“If we don’t change our direction, we’re likely to end up where we’re headed.”

This juicy Chinese proverb has haunted me ever since I first heard it during a State of Our Planet presentation in the mid-1980’s, it reminded me of a TIME magazine cover I had seen a few years earlier. I decided to dig it out in the spirit that a picture is worth a thousand words. I share it, not to drive you into despair and resignation. I share the image to help shift our collective conversation from the current obsession with economic growth to a larger concern:

What will it take to awaken from this mesmerizing dream of mindless consumption, endless wars, and ecological degradation? 

An early warning from September 1980 – drowning in toxicity

From the time you may have passed this magazine on a newsstand, It’s been 32 years and more than 66 TIME covers on the environmental challenges we are facing and still we slumber, or worse, we’re sleep walking ever nearer the precipice. We’re doing far more damage than just poisoning the well.

How many thousands of articles, books, movies and TV specials have courageous authors and producers introduced into the marketplace of ideas?  How many public presentations offered by thought leaders have you heard ringing the alarm bell that our social, spiritual and ecological injustices must be solved? You probably couldn’t count them all.

Is it the media that causes us to avoid seeking root causes to the 1%/99% divide between the “haves” and “have nots”? Are we simply overwhelmed and intimidated by the magnitude of our challenges? I believe we are suffering from psychic numbing. As Mother Theresa said: “If I look at the mass I will never act, If I look at the one, I will.”  At a deeper level, people do want serious societal and environmental problems to stop.

The question is how do we transcend indifference?

ENTER RIGOROUS SELF INQUIRY: Could it be that indifference is a conscious choice? By not caring, we avoid the vulnerability of being informed and guided by our emotions.

If we dive into our own hearts and the heart of Gaia, our emotional courage is strengthened and our analytical minds are relegated to play second fiddle.

In other words, embrace and honor our emotions, intuition and instincts and we are more likely to act. (“The More Who Die, The Less We Care: Confronting Psychic Numbing,” Science Committee Newsletter,, 2009). According to the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, Paul Slovic, PhD., making decisions and taking action in the face of risk requires two different kinds of thinking.  Evaluating risk analytically with reason, quantification and deliberation has the effect of passivity – standing by as a witness. An emotional response to risk is a faster method to access instinctive and intuitive responses to danger in a complex and uncertain world. Of course, both qualities are essential, however our current emphasis upon analysis of problems separates us from a   compassionate way of being in the world. Will we survive progress is not a rhetorical question.

Art of the Imagination – Josephine Wall, The Sadness of Gaia

Merging the Heart of Gaia with the human heart and mind…

There is a dynamic experiential program that helps us merge our hearts and minds. It’s called the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium offered by volunteer facilitators. The Pachamama Alliance is the organization that provides the training and resources for this project world wide. You can find out how to engage with this movement by clicking on the links above.

The purpose of the Alliance is clear and powerful: “To bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just, human presence on this planet.” Isn’t it about time we implement the dream we’ve always known?


If you are in Colorado, there will be a Symposium this coming Saturday – February 25th from 1pm – 5pm at the Wild Bear Ecology Center in Nederland, CO.

The Host of our Awakening the Dreamer Symposium

I’m delighted to be joining a wonderful team of presenters, so, if nothing else, come say hello, I’d like to meet you!  Click on these links to register and learn where we are, how we got here and what we can do now.

Wait there’s more (isn’t that the truth!) – once you’ve been inspired to change our world for the better, before you do, consider joining me and my co-guide Jennifer Menke in the Canyonlands for a Sacred Passage this March 30 – April 9th. You’ll appreciate gaining a direct connection with Nature and the Earth in the wild.  We will help you Quiet your mind, Open your heart and Revitalize your Life. This nature centered experiential program will provide you with the Earth Empowerment you’ve been yearning for. The most common report we hear from our Sacred Passagers is renewed energy, tremendous creativity and greater clarity to navigate through these turbulent times. People emerge absolutely radiant and ready to re-purpose their lives.

Experience an authentic connection with GAIA in the Canyonlands
My faithful readers know that I like to balance the earnestness of my articles with music, sometimes serious, sometimes light hearted.
Here is a flash back to 1970. The wisdom and foreshadowing of the Kinks is revealed. Enjoy Apeman…let’s trust we are making gradual “progress” in the domain of conscious evolution.

Onward with Courage


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


About Bud Wilson

As a student-athlete-activist during the tumultuous era at Harvard University Bud emerged with an interdisciplinary degree combining, child development, innovative education and urban social policy. To recover from academia, he moved to the mountains of Colorado and devoted his energy to hosting professional conferences and seminars in Snowmass Village, followed by a few years working with John Denver's Windstar Foundation. He has lots of stories to share about those formative years living in the Roaring Fork Valley. Bud continues to consult with many organizations including Newfield Network, Environmental Communications, Inc. and The Living Green Foundation, Next Culture Network, Climate Colorado, The Unified Field Corporation, Regenerative Community Development of Colorado and The Agora Projects. Bud has 25 years of experience as an awareness & Qi Gong instructor and wilderness guide for Sacred Passage and the Way of Nature. He served as Global Director of Eco-Regional Leadership for The Way of Nature, in May 2011, he co-created and coordinated the first World Nature Quest. More than 35 groups in 17 countries on 5 continents simultaneously communed with the Earth for healing and renewal. He is the Founder and Director of Deep Nature Journeys where he shares his insights and vast experience in service to others. His articles have been read by more than 70,000 Elephant Journal Readers His adult son, daughter and son-in-law are the source of great joy in his life.


20 Responses to “Gaia’s Heart and Your Mind–Closing the Gap.”

  1. Jill Barth says:

    Great article. Thanks so much!

    I posted this to the Elephant Green Facebook page. Thanks for sharing!

    Jill Barth, Green Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Green on Facebook

  2. gigsandagirl says:

    The question is how do we transcend indifference?

    That is on my mind a lot, especially as I struggle through the deep emotional strain that we've been under as we try to make a difference here in Madison. I find recently, I've been unable to engage much because I feel so overwhelmed and numbed.

    Really enjoyed the article. Thank you!

  3. Bud Wilson says:

    You're welcome! Yes, it is challenging to persevere in these tumultuous times – The forces that are exploiting our human and physical "resources" are powerful indeed – however, it is up to those of us with a compassionate heart to raise our voices and stand in solidarity for awakening our society and our global family to what's at stake. Courage is contagious.

    All best wishes, Bud

  4. […] Gaia’s Heart and Your Mind – Closing the Gap. ( […]

  5. Karl Duncan says:

    Hello Bud. Thank you for sharing with us – you and the programs described are truly inspiring. Karl

  6. Bud Wilson says:

    Thanks Karl, It's really about all of us stepping up to heal humanity's imbalances. We're all in this together. Hope you and Heather and all are happy and well. Lots of Love, Bud

  7. Ben_Ralston says:

    Great article Bud, and you're doing wonderful work, I congratulate and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    I don't know if you're familiar with my work / writing, but I have a perspective on this that I'd like to share with you. The essence of my therapy practice is healing trauma, and I've seen time and time again the same themes coming up in people (including, originally, myself). Bear in mind that all of the following are *direct responses* to many various kinds of trauma:
    Feeling frozen (similar to numbness)
    Feeling paralyzed (ditto above)
    Running away (flight response)
    Wanting to disappear…
    And the list goes on, but I think you get the picture. These are all survival instincts that human beings are very much 'locked into', and until we truly heal them, I fear that progress will be slow.
    My intention as a healer is much more than just helping individuals with their problems (physical / emotional). I feel very strongly that as we – as a species – release ancestral patterns of trauma we also empower ourselves to be much more proactive in making the dream you beautifully describe a reality.

    With love, Ben

    (Oh, and by the way, I'm no expert here, but I believe that if you 'reply' to people's comments they will be notified, and so you will create more of a 'conversation'. If you make a new comment in reply to them then they usually will not know. Just a suggestion.)

    ps – posted on the main EJ Facebook page.

  8. Ben_Ralston says:

    Please see my comment below, I think it may be helpful to you.

  9. Ozz says:

    "If we dive into our own hearts and the heart of Gaia, our emotional courage is strengthened and our analytical minds are relegated to play second fiddle. …In other words, embrace and honor our emotions, intuition and instincts and we are more likely to act."

    My concern with this is: if we relegate our analytical minds to second fiddle, it raises the probability considerably that we'll act in non-efficacious ways. And in fact, I'd say the sad and ineffectual history of the environmental movement in America offers strong evidence of this. I think the 'middle way' – engaging both intuitive and analytical faculties equally – offers us the best way forward.

  10. Bud Wilson says:

    Yes, Ozz, I wasn't suggesting we banish the second violin – it's still part of the orchestra… just playing a less dominant role. As research from the Institute of Heart Math suggests, there are more electromagnetic pathways from the Heart to the Brain than the reverse. The context of my comments was to emphasize our need to listen to our hearts more, as we quiet the busy mind that reacts rather than responds. I share your observation of the environmental movement… time to create far more effective strategies while we also cultivate a compassionate middle way. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

  11. Bud Wilson says:

    Thanks Jill – it appears my article is gaining traction. Let's hope it contributes to someone's inspiration!

  12. Bud Wilson says:

    Thanks Ben – I appreciate the heads up – I'm still learning how much of this social media works. 🙂

  13. Well said, Bud. And looks like a great symposium. Just posted to the main elej facbook page and the myEARTH360 facebook page as well. Cheers!

  14. Bud Wilson says:

    Thanks Lynn – your help is the greatest… I can't go back in and edit any longer – Elej has changed the system – I don't see a button that says "event" anywhere? Oh well.

  15. Aw shucks 😉 Darn about the editing! Send a message to Lindsey Block via facebook and she can possibly help with that.

  16. […] have developed our mental, analytical mind so much that we mostly are not aware of these energetic intelligences at work within us, except […]

  17. […] will skip that burger, not for the poor cow, but for the poor human in the mirror. “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of […]

  18. […] and am certainly experiencing it in my own life. There are very high vibrations being sent to Gaia, Mother Earth, and all of her inhabitants that are penetrating our energy fields with the very […]

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    From 25 weeks ago, "WHOOSH" how time flies by – anyway, I just noticed your very kind and generous comment. Nope, I'm not famous, but I certainly appreciate it when people notice my ideas, views and "nudges" to wake up and engage in the important issues of our times.