Be here, now, Canary

Doug Janson, CC BY-SA 3.0

How absurd would it be if the coal miner, who brings a canary with him to warn of poisonous methane gas in the mine, then died because he ignored the canary’s warning?!

This little musical story is a modern version of that (see below, but there’s a visual version of the same point that isn’t mine but that went viral, also below). It’s a metaphor for what sometimes happens when people talk about issues of transition and collapse and are ignored for a variety of reasons.

Though I have spent years as a mindfulness practitioner and have designed and run studies on the positive health effects of mindfulness, any philosophy or ideology can become an obstacle to being present to unpleasant (and pleasant) reality. Sometimes people use the catch-phrases, “Just let it go” or “Don’t be so attached” or “Be here, now” as excuses to do precisely the opposite of what those phrases are pointing to — they are used to be mindless and unaware, rather than mindful and present (see this post on the 3 Poisons, and this one on enlightenment and suffering).

For some explanation of the issues that motivated this post and for some discussion about optimism, pessimism and reality distortion, see this post.








12 thoughts on “Be here, now, Canary

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