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I may be missunderstanding what you mean.

A couple of examples of, "investing in a loss" would be helpfull.



Addressing the Ecological Crisis by Opening the Heart!

By Trent Thursby Alvey

To practice transcending opposites for the purpose of understanding commonality with our perceived opponents and the rest of the natural world, we must look to the contemplative sciences.

By understanding that that which we resist is also part of the natural world and therefore part of ourselves, we can begin to extend ourselves beyond our own skin and to have compassion for everyone including those who still believe that they are separate from their surroundings.

We will see a heightened awareness of ourselves and our responsibility for the planet.

We create this world with our consciousness.

By becoming more aware of this creative involvement we can become compassionate activists, enabling a healthy, life supporting, nurturing planet.


This spring I attended a board meeting for Round River Conservation Studies, an environmental research and teaching organization based out of Salt Lake City.

Michael Soule, the originator of the concept of conservation biology and a Round River Board member, proposed that “science, tempered with compassion” opens up a new way of living in the world.

A new relationship between science and other ways of knowing can make the scientific data dynamic by combining it with the spiritual motivation of compassion.

This new utilization of data will move us towards sustainable practices.

In the words of Gary Snyder, quoting Dogen in Practice of the Wild, we need to start “thinking like a mountain.”

We are the mountain, so we need to start being the mountain.

If these words make sense to us, then we understand the underlying truth of the world.

One can say that the cure for our present environmental malady is to think like a mountain, or think like a droplet of water, or think like a blade of grass.

The holistic nature of the universe allows us to understand the nature of the ‘whole’ by completely understanding (realizing) any of its parts.

Buddhists sometimes begin their meditation practice with object-meditation — meditating on any object — to gain one pointedness of mind, the ability to focus on the nature of one thing in order to understand the ten thousand things (the world of phenomenon).

To become the mountain and begin to change our destructive environmental habits, we may need to let go of some of our closely held concepts.

Winning may require us to invest in loss.

We often hear the phrase ‘win-win’, until now we may have never considered the concept of lose-win.

To understand win, we must understand its opposite, lose.

Contemplating dichotomies can help us understand that separateness is an illusion; to know one we must know the other.

Win and lose are the opposite ends of the same stick.

Lao-tzu says, “Success is as dangerous as failure."

"Hope is as hollow as fear.”

Elaine Harding, a conservation biologist at James Cook University, has described in her article “A Conservation Koan: If data is the answer then what is the question?” that science (objective thought) and spirituality (subjective thought) need to come together to define how we are to live appropriately as human beings on the planet?

By bringing win and lose concepts together when seeking to resolve ecological ills, we will see solutions that were not obvious before.

For, if we constantly approach a conservation situation with a plan in which we are previously invested, how can we see new creative solutions?

By losing the ego (need to win), we gain new insight.

Compassion is the vehicle to arrive at a new understanding of opposites.

By bringing opposites together, we can begin practicing compassion.

We can lose the many disturbing emotions and open our hearts.

It is in the process of opening the heart that we begin to understand our relationship to the ten thousand things.

By attempting to understand our own ignorance and practicing compassion for our opponent, who is also suffering from ignorance, we may transcend our divergent thinking and arrive at solutions that will not only preserve life on the planet, but also restore the joy that we have lost in a highly technological and consumer-based world.

The purpose of this article will be to practice thinking in terms of lessening or eliminating the intellectual gap between opposites for the end result of distilling truth about the ecological dilemma in which we find ourselves at the beginning of the twenty-first century and what we can do to effect change.

Industrialized countries in the decades since the 1950’s have been convinced by corporate marketers that “win-win” is not only possible, but also expected.

We have been taught that we can have our cake and eat it too.

The first thing we need to lose is our deeply engrained sense of entitlement.

Seeing how people in third world countries manage to survive on so little and seeing how much of the planets resources are used by Americans and other industrialized nations, we can simplify our own lives by starting to reap the benefits of invest in loss.

As Harding, addressing the “illness of materialism,” states, “science is failing to alter consumptive human behavior by just pointing out the resulting degradation of the planet.”

Something more needs to be done to awaken us to the damage we are posing to ourselves and all life, and to our diminishing quality of life as we continue in the direction of obliviousness.


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