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Terrible fires in Arizona. Sweatshop fires that kill thousands. Fires of hatred and intolerance around the world. Time and again since the turn of the millennium we have seen how elevating efficiency and growth over service and sustainability, declaring a few aspects of force to be the whole of power. Our old idea of power no longer works. It unbalances and destroys. Treating the world like a bottom-line business–seeking to gain the most while giving the least—can no longer be celebrated as empowering. But what is the future?
Seeing is the beginning of healing. In the upcoming Summer 2012 issue of Parabola, new poetry by Mary Oliver—moments of being conveyed through glimpses of being in nature—and as essays about being with animals and in our own bodies reveal that seeing can bring a new kind of power. “I’m not the river/that powerful presence,” writes Oliver. Yet seeing what we are not reveals what we may yet become.
“There was a time when every grove and stream was sacred, meaning and wisdom found in the cycles of the moon and the germination of the plants,” writes Sufi master Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. The heart-stopping photo essay of ice bergs by Camille Seaman remind us that although we have forgotten this way of receiving the world, we still can remember. In the same issue, shaman Michael Harner describes a cave power quest undertaken in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in recent times. Daring to descend into the depths of the earth and himself, he returns with new healing power and new appreciation for the beauty of creation.
New powers may be revealed in beings and situations we judge to be powerless. Describing what it is like to tame a wild stallion, Linda Kohanov observes the two-way relationship between the seer and what is seen, referring to the Buddha’s way with horses: “What if the stallion that Siddhartha so skillfully trained had also been training him, psychologically as well as physically carrying his master away from the heavily defended, insulated palace of a hierarchical father?”
Please consider picking up (or better yet, subscribing) to the new issue
May the new issue carry you.