Start

Reflections from COP26 2021, by Laurence Freeman – 1st November

COP26 First Day in Glasgow

I was given the opportunity to come to COP26 in Glasgow where I arrived yesterday. I Although I don’t much like crowded gatherings I felt that I should come and be a presence for our community at an event that involves us all as citizens of the world and as contemplatives in the making.

Accommodation was a problem as prices have rocketed. I was told of one person, with a house near the exhibition centre, who rented it out for 2 weeks for £250,000. I try not to be judgmental, but it does suggest the opportunistic, short-term greed which would temptingly raise the temperature of any mortal and which has certainly contributed to climate warming. The Mill Hill Missionaries, however, offered me warm hospitality near the centre. I learned on my arrival that a 20-strong meditation group meets at their house every week.

As I was meditating this morning, I heard shrill screaming and commotion outside, somewhat disturbing until I realised it was only children playing before school started. Let them make noise and be joyful, I thought, as after all it is for them that COP is really happening. I have heard stories of young children suffering from climate emergency anxiety. We need to be careful how we tell children bad news. But I was inspired to hear these children still full of the fun of life.

One of these is humanity’s collective consciousness, which means something deeper than what we call ‘public opinion’ which is notoriously fickle and shallow. It is the common mind that Christians find in Christ, the Buddha mind that Buddhists recognise, Brahman or the Universal Spirit. It unifies us by whatever name. It is an energy source of pure consciousness that enters our lives and immediately begins to separate reality from illusion. It quickly exposes the virus of misinformation and restores honest conversation.

The other essential element that allows a common mind to develop allows people of hugely different beliefs to understand how they share the same ground and goal. This is not the more unreliable friendship of alliances and factions but a friendship drawn direct from the ground-source of our common humanity. It is kinship and it is kind.

Normally I cannot endure being in a shopping mall for more than the time it takes to buy a pair of shoes. Here, the rather uncontemplative space of the Glasgow Exhibition Centre might first seem like a teeming mall selling every kind of ecological product. But I was soonb surprised by a feeling of something different. Yes, busy people, rushing, distracted by too many choices and not enough time, inseparable from their phones, yet with a palpable driving force very different from a mall : a shared concern and tender love for our common home.

This love is the seed of the contemplative mind nurtured in meditation. Consciousness is the fifth leg of the environmental stool. In many meetings I have had in this noisy space I have seen how people are surprised but happy to discover a fellow meditator who is here to represent this leg, to try to bridge the inner and outer ecologies. When that common awareness awakens it is beautiful how everyone – well, today is the Feast of All Saints – begins to look holy.

Keep it in your heart and pray for me as I speak tomorrow. It will be to a small group about how contemplative consciousness is a necessary part of our effort to save our beautiful Earth before it’s too late.

One of these is humanity’s collective consciousness, far deeper than what we call ‘public opinion’ which is notoriously fickle and shallow. The common mind that contemplative Christians have found in Christ – the Buddha mind that Buddhists recognise, Brahman, the Universal Spirit – is an energy source of consciousness separating reality from illusion. It quickly identifies the virus of misinformation and restores honest conversation.

The other essential element that allows the common mind to develop allows people of hugely different beliefs to recognise how they share a common ground and goal. This is not the friendship of alliances and factions but friendship drawn from our common humanity – our kinship –.

Normally I cannot endure being in a shopping mall for more than the time it takes to buy a pair of shoes and get out. Here, in the rather uncontemplative space of the Glasgow Exhibition Centre, in what seems like a teeming mall selling all aspects of ecological healing, I was surprised by a feeling of something different. Busy people inseparable from their phones, but with a very different motivation: their concern and tender love for our common home.

This love is the seed of a contemplative mind born from meditation, which is the fifth leg of the environmental stool. In meetings I have had with many people in this busy space they have often looked surprised and happy as they discovered a fellow meditator who is here just for that. When that common bond is awakened it is beautiful how everyone – well, today is the Feast of All Saints – looks holy.

Keep it in your heart and pray for me as I speak tomorrow to what will be a small group about how meditation can help save our beautiful Earth before it’s too late.

Laurence Freeman OSB
  • Related Posts
Scroll to Top