Deep Adaptation Q+A with Jem Bendell

Q&A with Jilani Cordelia Prescott, Sufi Elder, discussing active compassion in the climate emergency.

Throughout human history life has been a fragile, precious gift, and death a constant companion. Modern medicine and affluent societies have helped us to imagine that we are or could be immune from sickness, suffering and death. This illusion of (and search for) immortality has influenced much of our behaviour, endowing us with a reckless and yet ultimately unsatisfying lack of regard for the natural limits of life on a physical planet, while insulating us from the vibrant experience of a life lived in real appreciation of its fragility and finite nature. The Sufis tell us to ‘Die before Death’ – to live our daily lives in the understanding that death is always near. How might this influence our choices and priorities? 

If we are to apply the 4 Rs of Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation to the Restoration of Ancient Wisdom, we can consider the Resilience with which spiritual traditions and their practices have supported humanity through the hard times over millennia, helping us to make sense of both suffering and joy. I would choose to Relinquish the rigid structures and abuses of power of organised religion, but to Restore and bring back the practices which actually can serve and support us. At the same time, Reconciliation is vital, and healing of the wounds of our history, in order that we can appreciate the precious gifts of these traditions, without rejecting everything in a reaction against the terrible abuses we have seen.