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Meeting Our History

As we launch the new Turning Wheel Media, we are reflecting on where we have been, where we are going, and what the necessary transformations might look like. This cultural moment is ripe with change—from the Arab spring to the Occupy movement, from spiritual teachers re-visioning what healing can look like to examining whether liberation is even possible. It may be true that “every situation is an expression of enlightenment,” to quote Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, but often that can be hard to see in the context of our lives, and the world where we live.

As Staci Haines asks in our featured interview, if every situation is an expression of enlightenment, how do we reconcile the collective traumas of war and imperialism, the personal traumas of violence and sexual assault—with the acceptance of things as they are? In this inaugural edition of Turning Wheel Media, we bring the lens of Buddhist practice and philosophy to investigate how we heal from individual and collective traumas to move towards a more hopeful future.

Sometimes trauma and insight arise from bearing witness to personal moments of profound grief—watching a lover die, for example, as Monica Woelfel so movingly reveals in her essay, “Unfinished Work.”

Sometimes the trauma of collective oppression can lead to the insight required to find creative new ways to live in the world. In his article “Occupy Wall Street: One No, Many Yeses,” Joshua Stephens applies a Dharma lens to trace the history of the still dawning American Fall back through the Arab Spring to the Argentinean uprisings of 2001. The emerging patterns he uncovers in these movements suggest a new way to build communities based on mutual respect, and to achieve social justice by example.

Sometimes we need to re-examine the practices of Western Buddhism that have translated ancient spiritual traditions into forms that look very different from what more collectively minded Eastern cultures may have intended. In our featured interview, our co-editor Jacks McNamara begins a conversation with Staci Haines and David Treleaven to explore not only the limitations of sitting meditation, but also the profound potential for mindful attention, somatic skills, and a nuanced trauma analysis to promote deeply embodied transformation and collective liberation.

What is the responsibility of the bodhisattva in the world we are creating? How do we reconcile the truth of impermanence with a budding hope that the growing momentum of social movements across the world will lead us to a profoundly transformed future?

These questions are rich with the complexity and contradiction of what cannot be answered, but perhaps if we come together with the shared intention to look towards transformation, we will build the community needed to make change happen. As we wrestle with questions about what it means to seek enlightenment—as individuals, and as participants in mass movements trying to build a more enlightened society—we hope to find ways to practice deeply together and allow a more peaceful world to emerge for all of us.

Come join us in the conversation!

[author] [author_info]Jacks McNamara co-edits Turning Wheel Media with Everett Wilson. For more information about them click here:[/author_info] [/author]

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.turningwheelmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/ev.jpg[/author_image] [author_info] Everett Wilson co-edits Turning Wheel Media with Jacks McNamara. For more information about them click here:[/author_info] [/author]

Comments (3)

  • Kathleen Rose

    Oh my goodness…tears in my eyes and a full heart of gladness as I scroll through this website…amazing amazing…thank you Everett and Jacks and all of the beings who were part of this creation. It’s ongoing perfection. Smiles and blessings.

  • Jacks

    So glad to hear it, Kathleen. We have put many hours of love into making this thing happen. And I think we may have chosen the right cultural moment to launch it! Tell people and send them here!

  • Maia Duerr

    Great job, Everett and Jacks!

    Any chance that archives of back issues can be included on this site? Good stuff from 2008 and before…

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