A7: 我們永遠不會知道我們會對世界有什麼樣的影響力。1960年代時，怎麼都不會想到我會參與一個全球性的運動。在美國規劃「環境的未來研討會(Future of The Environment Congress)」時，我參與了研討會的命名過程。當時我們選擇「環境」，的確希望能夠讓這想法更蔓延拓展，但是卻沒想到環保的議題會成為全球性的運動。這也讓所有推動善念的人有了希望。我們無法預知未來，但是卻可以推動我們認為會有幫助的事項。這是我對於文化變革上的努力。有時候，當別人問我在做什麼的時候，我的回答是「我是推動文化變革的媒介者」，而不是推動領導人變革的人。這是一種文化的變革。
A9: 我希望台灣能成為一個培養出與大自然共有深度諧和感情的模範。我覺得台灣的文化中已經有許多這方面的元素，只需要更深度探索。 感應力的力量是極度可觀的。存在感的確很好，但是若無法將放鬆的技巧加以熟練，就無法感受到真正的存在。因此，我從事的志業的核心，就是在存在的當下，注入真正的感應力。
Interview with the "Way of Nature's" John Milton
The CP Yen Foundation had the privilege of hosting naturalist John Milton for two weeks this September. In addition to our public workshops for facilitators, coaches and leaders we also did trainings for volunteers and staff of Yang Ming Shan National Park and the Hualien Forestry Bureau. During his stay, Jorie Wu and George Yen had the pleasure of doing an interview of John over a relaxing breakfast at home.
John Milton’s been traveling the world planting cultural seeds to reconnect society’s relationship with nature. His method is called the Way of Nature and introduces a path, methods and principles supporting people’s gradual reintroduction to our fundamental source of being. This month’s dialogue newsletter is an interview with John Milton about the way of nature’s key message:
Q1: How does outer nature connect to one’s inner nature?
A1: The English word nature refers to the world both external and internal to ourselves - the environment and our deeper truth. Enlightenment also refers to awareness about the truth of our outer and inner environment, the nature of our mind, things as they are, and the truth of being.
Q2: What lineage does your knowledge come from?
A2: Daoism and the Native American way are my top knowledge lineages. Tibetan shamanic Bon, the ancient tradition of Dzogchen as well as the forest dwellers tradition that goes back many thousands of years in India are integrated into the Way of Nature as well. From the West I draw from Celtic traditions who are deeply connected to nature. The Way of Nature’s 12 Principles is a distillation of these different cultures and offers a practice for learning how to go deep in nature.
Q3: How are the 12 Principles helpful to leaders?
A3: If you want to be a good leader you need to be connected with the source of pure creativity and integrity within yourself. The closer you come to an authentically deep place of your being, the better you are able to deal with both inner and outer disturbances. “Theory U” author Otto Scharmer calls this the ‘base of the U’ which is a recapitulation of an ancient view that to resolve issues and problems as they arise you’ve got to tap into the deep part of yourself and honor it as the source of creativity.
Q4: What is source? And how to know if one’s really in touch with source?
A5: I can’t do any better than the Dao De Jing （道德經）: “the source that can be named is not the true source.” So anyone who talks about this must begin with humility about the subject. Talking about source is like a finger pointing at the moon; at some point you must take the finger away, and directly experience the moon. So with that preface, the first thing to say about source is that it must be experienced. Paradoxically, it’s within us all. Including the family dog. Source provides the primary level for all connectedness. All forms arise from source, are continuously changing and connected in a vast ecology of form. This is the basic foundation of the “green” environmental aspect of us all. This isn’t theoretical, it’s a fundamentally practical. Both we and the mosquito that bit you arise from the same authentic reality, modern physics support this as well. My experience of being hit by lightening and shot into the light and pulled back again, is my experience of source, and I speak from that experience when I teach. The words that can be applied to the experience of source are: clarity like a mirror with tremendous space to reflect all things including sound and the rays of light that permeates space.
Q6: In Taiwan you’ve met with different groups of participants from business to the forest service; what has been your impression so far?
A6: I am impressed by the group’s high levels of intellect, refined awareness, their very good questions, their connection to nature and the insights gained from that, and their wonderful ability to share; I’ve been amazed by the depth of sharing of people’s experiences. I’ve been very favorably impressed by Taiwanese culture, which has ancient roots, and I think their indigenous connections lend strength to the Taiwanese culture.
Indigenous roots are important is because they have learned how to live in harmony with nature from an ecological perspective. Indigenous peoples had to learn how to relate to the local environment in a sustainable way and this wisdom continues to have value for teaching modern humans how to live sustainably. Today our risk of losing that cultural wisdom is just as great as biodiversity loss. Biomimicry is one way we can learn from biology to create technologies and new ways of behavior; for example, Velcro is a product inspired by natural Gecko feet. Ecomimicry is an equivalent term relating to an organization’s ability to learn from an entire ecosystem in how we design our own living systems.
Q7: What difference do you aspire to make in the world?
A7: We never really know what impact we’re going to have on the world. In the 1960s I had no idea that I was part of a movement that would become global. At the “Future of The Environments Congress” in the US I was involved in the selection of the word “environment”; we hoped it would catch on but didn’t know it would become a global movement. So that gives some hope to us who are working towards greater good; there’s no way we can really predict, yet we can set in motion what we think would be helpful. That’s my attempt at cultural transformation. Sometimes when people ask what I do I respond “I’m a culture change agent” more than leadership change, its cultural change.
I want to leave behind a well grounded movement to go out in to nature alone and use these simple tools, principles, and sensing processes to profoundly transform human’s relationship with the earth; so that the earth becomes their family, and their lives are engaged differently thanks to this earth-based perspective. That would have a reverberating effect on ethics, public policy, and the choices we make in our lives.
Q8: What is your suggestion to our participants on what next steps to take?
A8: www.wayofnature.com and http://www.sacredpassage.com offers resources for going into one’s nature. Use them. Take a bit of time out each day or week to go out with your family into the park and practice. Or, have a gathering at someone’s home, watch a movie that emphasizes on a principle, discuss it, then perhaps go out in nature together on a regular basis.
Q9: What blessing would you like to send to Taiwan?
A9: I hope that Taiwan becomes an exemplar of cultivating a deep sense of harmony with nature. I think there are already elements in Taiwanese culture that are like that, it’s just a matter of going deeper. The power of the receptive is immense. Presence is really great, but you can’t have true presence without having mastered relaxation. So the heart of what I do is to bring true receptivity into the essence of Presence.
(This interview is recorded and reported by Keli Yen-Project Manager of CPYF)