Daniel Christian Wahl
Becoming Healing Expressions of Place
From the ‘jewelled net of Indra’ of the Vedanta, the ‘all my relations’ prayer of the custodian cultures of North America, to the Buddhist teachings on ‘co-dependent arising’, we have always tried to express the intimate reciprocity and ‘interbeing’ between the seer and the seen. At the very heart of imagination is the universe becoming conscious of itself in and through the conscious participation of all life in the continuously transforming nested complexity of which we are emergent prosperities. In the ‘cognitive coupling’ whereby the organism and the environment distinguish themselves into seemingly separate appearances within their underlying unity “we bring forth a world together.”
The power of imagination is closely linked with the human ability for anticipation and foresight. Ever since human beings evolved the extraordinary capacities of self-reflective consciousness and communication through the spoken, sung, and written word, along with visual arts, dance and music, we started to live within narrative, story and songline. All ancient stories — the ones revealing our shared indigeneity to life herself — remind us we belong, and we are obliged to be good custodians. Story can guide our imagination towards questions of re-inhabitation, being of service, healing, nurturing, and caretaking of and for future generations.
It is time to re-imagine our role and redesign the human impact on Earth from destruction and exploitation to regeneration and healing. To do so, we have to anchor our capacity to regenerate in our shared indigenous ancestry, and beyond that in life’s regenerative impulse, and learn again that not every technological capability imaginable is also worth applying or commercialising. A more nuanced and wiser use of technology will have to be part of our long-term survival as a species. Can we imagine ourselves as healing expressions of place again?
(With gratitude for indigenous teachings, the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, Humberto Maturana & Francisco Varela, Thomas Berry, Joanna Macy, Gary Snyder, and Regenesis Group.)
Daniel Christian Wahl is a consultant and educator in regenerative development, whole systems design and transformative innovation, and author of Designing Regenerative Cultures, a ‘Whole Earth Catalog’ for the 21st century featuring an impressive and wide-ranging analysis of what’s wrong with our societies, organizations, ideologies, worldviews and cultures – and how to put them right.