The Four Fields
The fields are four different aspects of existence that are happening all the time:
1. An ecological field (Mossrock)
2. A psychological field (Wildfire)
3. An awareness field (Lit Ocean)
4. An ontological field (Space)
All four cohere together like an ecosystem.
They form the context for a contemplative life rooted in the living and dying earth. This includes our emotional states, our sensitive bodies, the cultures, economies, and politics that participate in and ravage the earth—like the mine that you see slowly being reclaimed by moss in the background.
We want our spiritual practices to be responsive to the wonder and suffering on earth and in our psyches, without becoming trapped in that suffering.
The coherence of these four fields brings together responsive action and the simple freedom of effortless non-action into a single gesture. Or at least that's the aspiration.
Learn more below...
A place to ask ecological questions. Embodied and emplaced practices rooted in elemental materiality, earth's living and dying skin, the climate and seasons, networks of relationships, world-ecology, and biopolitical landscapes.
A place to ask psychological and visionary questions. Healing inquiry into the felt-sense and patterns of emotion, psychology, trauma, ideology, and racialized, gendered, capitalized subjectivity. Transmuting eco-grief and apocalyptic despair into courage. Opening to dream, the imaginal, ritual, and vision.
LIT OCEAN FIELD
A place to ask meditative questions. Effortless, open, boundless awareness. Inoperative non-action. Rest.
The silent expanse—A place to listen for questions of being and non-being. Emptiness. Absence. Darkness. Apophasis. Nihilism. Mystical philosophy. Anarchic groundlessness. The sabbath of impotentiality. Civilizational collapse and extinction. The wound of total openness, the exhaustion of all.
Each field is:
- Nearly infinite
- Equiprimordial—free from any hierarchy
- Free from splitting inner from outer
- Ecstatic—beyond any centralized self
- Inapprobriable—cannot be owned
- A hyperobject—distributed so broadly that it cannot be conceptualized
The Four Fields: An Introduction
The Four Fields are an ecological and socio-political context for contemplative practices. Instead of separating "internal" mindful and psychological methods from "external" ecosystems, social movements, and political practices, the Four Fields invite them to cohere together in a contemplative ecosystem. They go beyond the duality of inner and outer. By including the openness and freedom of spacious awareness alongside reverence for this earth, the Four Fields approach invites steadfastness in facing climate chaos and social injustices. Cultivating the Four Fields in our everyday lives supports us in loving this world—to love the world so much that we invite all things to be fully what they are, to love what we are losing as climate mutations and extractive economics ravage the planet, and to let things be so completely that we love new worlds into being.
Together, these fields include the elemental reality of this earth and our biological bodies (Mossrock) as well as our emotional and meaningful experience (Wildfire). This includes the subtle vast mind of profound contemplative traditions (Lit Ocean), as well as the formless emptiness of things beyond concepts (Space). All four of these fields cohere together as a contemplative ecosystem that supports personal and collective transformative love.
A Contemplative Ecosystem of Politically Transformative Love
The term ‘love’ here is closest to the Greek agape, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. evoked it: “purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative.”  Or love is close to the meaning of "spontaneous, unblocked compassionate resonance" in the Dzogchen teachings. Or love is connected with the unrestrained, politically transformative power of social movements and insurgencies according to political philosophers Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri . As bell hooks wrote, "Love is profoundly political. Our deepest revolution will come when we understand this truth. Only love can give us the strength to go forward in the midst of heartbreak and misery."  And of course, love is, in all of its challenge and vulnerability, love—for oneself, for others, for this blooming sacred planet, and for no reason at all—without expectation or goal.
Within a mutating planet, as dominant civilization reaches its limit points ecologically and politically, such love is increasingly difficult to trust and even more difficult to enact. Amidst the daily challenges of work and relationships, the burnout from our efforts to make a difference, the disappointments and loneliness, the overwhelm, stress, and trauma, the violence and injustice, most of us collapse inwardly and just try to get by. There’s little room to worry about desecrated ecosystems and civilizational-scale impasses. Feeling complicit in broken systems and disempowered by failing representative democracies, it’s easy to lose heart.
Yet if we allow it, the spontaneous surging forth of love already saturates everything we encounter. Our pain, overwhelm, and even our numbness, are themselves signs of how much we do care about this world, and about each other. Even if we sometimes forget.
The Four Fields provides a supportive context, a body of practices, and living assemblage of questions that can help to uncover an indwelling courageous love, to allow a groundless spontaneous responsivity to the grief, loss, trauma, and wonder of it all. To remember how much we love, and even to love what we are losing. To share ourselves with the myriad things, to love without guarantees or expectations, yet to live love as a form-of-life.
To embody this love, we’ll explore and cultivate four fields:
- An ecological, embodied, and material field called Mossrock.
- A psychological, emotional, and visionary field called Wildfire.
- A meditative, nonconceptual awareness field called Lit Ocean.
- And an empty field of openness and mystery called Space.
This field is a place to ask ecological questions. It offers embodied and emplaced practices rooted in elemental materiality, earth's living and dying skin, and the climate and seasons. Mossrock is also entangled in networks of relationships, world-ecology, and biopolitical landscapes.
This field is a place to ask psychological and visionary questions. Wildfire has to do with the warmth and dynamic heat of mental and emotional experience and how we make meaning. It offers inquiry practices that explore patterns of emotion, psychology, and trauma. Wildfire practices also include critical phenomenologies of ideology and racialized, gendered, capitalized subjectivities. That is, here we can explore our identities—how we have become who we think we are. Within this field we also learn to transmute eco-grief and apocalyptic despair into courage and learn to dream, to imagine, and to enact ritual and visionary practices.
This field is a place to ask questions about meditation and mind. It offers practices of effortless, open, boundless awareness. Such restful ease is connected with political practices of inoperative non-action. From this ocean of awareness, we can learn about a revolutionary rest that gently refuses the attention economy and the capitalization of our lives.
This field is a place to listen for questions of being and non-being. Here we might contemplate emptiness, absence, mystical darkness, apophasis, and nihilism. Practices and studies of mystical philosophy and anarchic groundlessness help to open this field. However, the space field is beyond experience and knowledge altogether. It is the sabbath of impotentiality. We gesture towards this field as we explore civilizational collapse and extinction, exposing what could be called a wound of total openness, the exhaustion of all.
Each of these fields include both personal or "inner" meditative work as well as "external" practices related to society, economies, and ecologies. It's not that one of the fields is inner and another is outer: each field goes beyond the dualism altogether.
If you are wondering where the idea of these fields come from, they are an ecological and socio-political radicalization of Buddhist categories, known as the “awakened bodies” (Trikaya) and the “wisdoms of the ground” (Ye she sum), as well as the "three courts" in the Shambhala teachings. The fields also link with the four elements of earth, fire, water, and space. Each field is a place to ask questions, and a space to gather practices of personal and collective cultivation. They are ways of knowing and being. Not simply “spiritual” “ecological” “psychological” or “political,” the fields spread spores beyond boundaries, generating new genres. We cultivate the fields and let worlds grow.
For now the most important question is: what do these fields do? How is dividing existence into these regions useful for us amidst ecological and cultural catastrophes? That is, from the beginning I want to be clear that there is no need to claim that these four fields are “really” how reality works in an objective sense. Rather, they are strategic creations and playful interventions that are meant to be useful for contemplative life on planet earth today. Maybe there are five or seven fields, or one, or none. Let me flesh out the Four fields a bit more and gestures towards how they may be useful and challenging for us, and for the metamorphosizing more-than-human world today.
To use a language drawn from Buddhist philosophy and art, the Space field is formless darkness-emptiness, the Lit Ocean field is formless light-appearance, the Wildfire field is made of the liminal forms that consciousness, emotions, and culture can take—not entirely empty but not physical.
The Mossrock field is made of material objects and lifeforms—the animate and the inanimate—that comprise what is often called “nature.” Yet the Mossrock field also includes the socio-economic and political arrangement of bodies, populations, materials, and resources such as carbon. In other words, the Mossrock field includes economies that unequally distribute food, energy, and wealth across the planet, situated in colonial histories. It views human societies and capitalism as forms of metabolism. In this way, the Mossrock field is free from the duality between nature and culture, or natural and human—instead it is a single elemental tissue in which cities, crops, bodies, forests, economic flows, mines, and waste all metabolize the same biosphere.
Beyond Inner and Outer Dualities
When taken together in harmony and strife, the four fields conjoin spiritual, psychological, ecological, and political practices into a single path. What was normally considered spiritual “inner work” coalesces with the “outer work” of mitigating and adapting to climate change and responding ethically to socio-political injustices and violent histories. In short, the four fields are an attempt to discover an inclusive context for a profound, eco-political contemplative life within the Anthropocene, oriented towards beloved, symbiotic communities.
Vast and lively, each field is virtually infinite: the limitlessness of empty space that pervades all phenomena (Space field); the molecular, organic, and material limitlessness (Mossrock field); the infinite range and play of emotional and psychological phenomena (Wildfire field); and the limitlessness of basic sensitive awareness in its naked freshness (Lit Ocean field). As if one were not enough, we have four infinities!
When do the Fields Happen?
The fields are always happening, in each moment. They are nonhierarchical and are each equal—they are equiprimordial. In other words, none of the fields are more original or dominant over the others. It’s not that one comes first, and then gives rise to the next field. This makes the four fields somewhat different from many classical mystical philosophies in which the things of this world emerge from a more primordial dimension or ground, or flow out from a creative deity or original source. Here, the fields are the surging forth of what is happening in each instant. They appear but are empty. There’s nothing behind them. Radically immanent, they shimmer, play, pop, and settle without being caused by something beneath or above them. They each have their own niche in an ecosystem. They are regions of existence, and non-existence.
Coherence: A Contemplative Ecosystem
If you imagine a landscape in which an undulating meadow stretches out around a deep lake, with a toxic lithium mine in the distance, a vast horizon of sky above and around, and the warm sun burning high in the expanse of space, all the elements and fields are present. There is the earthiness, solidity, and organic life of Mossrock—blooming and decaying. With the lithium mine there is also the presence of extractive industry driven by economic and culture demands that are now part of the web of life—another aspect of Mossrock. There is the vital warmth of Wildfire in the sun and the warmth in the living organisms all around—the grasses photosynthesizing, the mammals generating body heat, the painted turtle soaking up the solar rays, and the heat generated from the mine. There is the boundless sparkling clarity and receptivity of clear water, and the tiny bulge of dew drops on grasses, as well as the concrete leaching ponds holding wastewater from the mine, representing the Lit Ocean. And there is the expanse of sky and space, clear as well as filled with particulates and smoke from the mine—open vast and indeterminate Space field.
Free of any hierarchy, this coherence of the four fields hangs together, without being simply “one” harmonious whole, but also without being totally distinct entities. This non-hierarchical coherence is important for five reasons: 1. The practicality of the coherence supports our personal and collective practices. 2. The Coherence of the Four Fields Prevents Spiritual or Political Bypassing. 3. The Coherence of the Four Fields Undermines Hegemony 4. Political Equiprimordiality.
1. The Practicality of the Coherence of the Four Fields
First, just as in ecosystems, a symbiotic balancing and entangled challenge between each of the elements is necessary for composting death and generating life. If an invasive species of flora or fauna spreads, settles, and dominates, the biodiversity is reduced and eventually dies. If there were an unchecked flood of water, the ecosystem drowns. If the heat of the sun blazed uncontrollably, without being absorbed and diffracted, the terrain burns. If the wastewater from the mine spills into the lake, the biome dies and mutates. If there is just cold space with no light or solidity, the ecosystem dissipates into nothing. If there is only unchanging rock, without nourishing moisture or generative warmth, and without any room to breathe, the ecosystem stagnates. If the lithium contaminates the region, life will radically transform. Yet when all the elements mutually support each other, and challenge each other in a productive strife between wind, mountain, mushroom, lithium, turtle, and aquifer, for a period of time an ecosystem regenerates and plays forth, until unfolding as something different. Ecosystems are not perpetual, regenerative feedback systems, they eventually fade, collapse, and change, too. Harmony is both real and fleeting.
Practicing the four fields is similar: we recognize and attune to the materiality of the Mossrock through somatic practices and cultivating a relationship with landscape, biome, industrial contamination, and the living-dying skin of earth. At the same time, we inquire into and feel the warmth and sometimes searing pain of the Wildfire by igniting an open-ended, living relationship with our emotional experience—say as we are enraged by extractive mining practices and the social injustice that almost always comes with environmental injustice. The felt-sense of our psychological life and personal patterns are within the body; and the images and traces of the past can even go beyond the body. If we only attend to the materiality of the Mossrock, and interpret every experience through a physical-material lens, we may ignore or bypass some aspects of emotional and mental life. Yet if we exclusively focus on the “inner” emotional experience of Wildfire we could ignore that our climate is reaching record heat levels each year and that dozens of Indigenous environmental activists are murdered in cold blood by fossil fuel and energy corporations each year.
So much of contemporary, neoliberal spirituality is cut off from such earthy realities. Even if we explore the body mindfully and attend to trauma in the body, we miss the earth body of which we are each a small part. Like the sun-drenched meadow stretching around the lake, we need a balancing and restorative relationship between materiality and emotion, between biology and psychology, between political engagement and vast, timeless vision, between action and deep rest. Without the nourishing flow of water, the heat overwhelms. Just so, research and experience show that open awareness as disclosed through meditation can soothe and nourish the nervous system, allowing us to process the raging fire of anxiety, grief, and overwhelm. It also loosens the stuck numbness of paralysis when the heart closes-down and hardens like rock. The Lit Ocean field is a boundless field of open awareness and feels like being within the luminosity of a clear ocean of unconditional sensitivity—relaxed and carefree. Without open space and sky, all the elements compact and reify. We might even cling to awareness as a commodity and certainly our political activism could solidify into righteousness. The empty expanse of space allows room and accommodation, even as it undermines our foundations and concepts. Groundless, beyond thought, openness naturally frees all attempts at solidification.
By becoming familiar with the four fields that are happening in each moment, we cultivate a coherence between the fields—just like an ecosystem. We can evoke steady, embodied groundedness of Mossrock and settle rather than float off into disembodied, desensitized, disassociation. Without bypassing the ecological and political economy of our planet, we face the undeniable conditions of the present. Through a curious inquiry into the warmth (Wildfire) of psychological phenomena, we can feel, learn from, and ride emotion rather than becoming overwhelmed or closing-down (although sometimes closing down is intelligent). But if the fire gets too hot, the soothing waters of open, relaxed awareness are much appreciated. And the whole experiential ecosystem is embraced within and pervaded by its own spacelike emptiness: things are not solid, our concepts dissolve into the vastness, the ecologically destructive infrastructure of the past and present are not absolute, but can be dismantled and changed. It turns out that we are nothing at all, and this can be a great relief! Even the four fields are just a concept—fingerpainting on the surface of still water. Free from relentless hope and fear, gazing into the dome of the sky above and expanding into the reaches of empty space reveal how much room we have, to breathe deeply and let be.
But the fields don’t just innocently come together into a happy harmonious whole. We don’t need to melt the elements down into an undifferentiated oneness-goop. No, they are particular and distinct and often in a kind of strife or tension—like the checks and balances of governmental entities. Most philosophies, religions, or political movements tend to locate themselves in a way of knowing—an epistemology—within just one field. They emphasize physical materiality over consciousness, for example. Or they value peaceful openness over fierce action. We want a balance of these elements, but also ways they hold each other in check. The fields also contradict each other, leading to a generative tension or friction and the fecund wildness of things beyond all systems and orders.
There is no order or syntax to the fields. Though I often present them beginning with Mossrock, this is for the simple reason that this field is perhaps most accessible and thinkable for modern people. Yet they do not come in any specific order. You could ground yourself in any of the fields and adopt that perspective or way of knowing. They are modular: you could start from any one of the fields, or two at once, or from the coherence of all four.
In this way, the first reason we need each field to be in an equal relationship—without a hierarchy in which one is more important than the other—has to do with how they can work together experientially to support an integrated practice both profound and practical.
2. The Coherence of the Four Fields Prevents Spiritual or Political Bypassing
A second reason for the lack of hierarchy between the fields is that this helps prevent spiritual and political bypassing. Coined by psychologist John Welwood , the concept of spiritual bypassing speaks to the myriad ways in which we could use meditation, yoga, or psychological tools to ignore or try to transcend painful emotions, rather than face them, learn from them, and metabolize them. Such spiritual bypassing is rampant in all quarters of the spiritual marketplace. Another form of spiritual bypassing uses spiritual practices to ignore socio-political and ecological issues. Here, our technologies of the self are strong enough and transcendent enough that we may ignore the great catastrophes of our times, and the "ancestral catastrophes" of the colonial past .
Political or social bypassing is the opposite: it refers to our engagement with politics and activism as a way to distract ourselves from psychological and spiritual issues. Here, we could be in tremendous emotional pain, but we would refuse to face and learn about this pain by staying busy with "saving the world." There are many activists who live with unprocessed trauma and do not leave space and time to heal and explore their own experience.
Both spiritual and political bypassing are symptoms of old dualities between "inner" and "outer" practices. Inner practices refer to psychological and spiritual methods whereas outer practices refer to activism, political organizing, environmental action, etc. The four fields are completely free from these dualities: there is no inner or outer in any of the fields.
The equality of the four fields is an explicit attempt to head-off spiritual and political bypassing from the start, weaving psychological, material, eco-political, and meditative experience into an integrated practice. If the materiality of the earth and lived bodies, if ecosystems (and their destruction), and if the economic systems that drive injustice and extraction are, from the beginning, as important as vast open space or psychological healing, this will encourage a form of contemplative practice that is grounded. We cannot bypass embodied, historical conditions; we cannot deny the ancestral catastrophe or the coming catastrophes of climate chaos.
This simultaneously includes socio-political truths about how we care for, harm, racialize, incarcerate, gender, and objectify bodies, as well as the ecological realities of extractive economies, global warming, and human-caused habitat destruction. That is, social and ecological realms are entangled and always mutual co-creating.
From this perspective, freedom is not to be sought for somewhere else; freedom is not an escape from the material, social, or ecological dimensions. Instead, the deeper we dwell within the earth, the freer we become. Freedom is situated. The more we stay with the troubles and precarity of our times, the more awakening shows itself terrestrially, in each wild and blooming bud, in the thick toxic sludge gushing from a petrochemical plant, in the fierce loving practice of freeing our mental models from all bias. The more we attempt to escape, the further we get from truth and freedom. Cultivating the four fields is to participate in a material ethicality—a contemplative political ecosystem, fearlessly located within colonialism and the twilight of capitalism.
3. The Coherence of the Four Fields Undermines Hegemony
Thirdly, the equality and coherence of the fields helps to undermine the longstanding philosophical or ontological hegemony of one field over another. If the fields worked in a hierarchy it might look like many old theological and political cosmologies: the space field would be conceived as the most valued, “pure,” and primordial dimension. This fundamental generative space would then emanate out, or manifest as, gradually less valued and more “impure” realms until we reach the lowest dimension of this physical earth, with all of its troubles, sins, and sicknesses. As with many traditions, then we would have a tension between staying with our earthly troubles or trying to escape them to reach heaven or an original Eden-like source. We'd be stuck in a dualism between flesh and spirit. In suspending this old story of emanation, I am seeking an arrangement that reveres the messiness of an entangled earth as much as the pure, free spacious expanse.
On the other hand, a more modern, scientific materialist perspective might root itself in Mossrock and claim that what is real is the natural world. One good definition of naturalism is the view that nature is all that there is and exhausts all that is possible. Such a reductive naturalism might have little room for first-person experience or at least might not offer many tools and practices to explore such experience. The space and sky above might seem too abstract and theoretical for a hard-minded physicalist. Not earthy and practical enough to really get things done, someone rooted in Mossrock may forget to look up into the vastness, let alone attune to the subtle images that shape our emotional life.
But if the fields are equiprimordial, there is no need to disempower earth or space, no need to extinguish fire or desiccate waters. We can say yes to it all. Inclusive and affirmative, the four fields express reverence and appreciation for the range and wonder of this cosmos.
This hegemony is also epistemological: having to do with ways of knowing. One way of knowing excludes and denies all other ways of knowing. If we value mind, subjectivity, and awareness over materiality and biological processes, we may put on the lenses of idealism. If we only value data from the natural sciences, we may put on the lenses of scientism. Taken to its extreme, the hegemony of one field over another would lead to the elimination of unfamiliar or challenging ways of knowing. But there’s no need to participate in killing off ways of knowing, or epistemicide (a term coined by sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos in his book Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide). Epistemicide refers to the destruction of knowledge systems, especially within colonialism. So the coherence of the fields seeks to go beyond the dominance of any one form of knowing.
4. Political Equiprimordiality
And the equiprimordiality of the fields has political implications as well. An ancient habit of religions and spiritual movements assumes that their religious organization or institution is a representative of the “good news” of a transcendent principle. In other words, if we begin with an absolute and ultimate ground of reality or divine source, then it is likely that a teaching, leader, institution or sovereign state will claim that it is somehow in tune with the truth of that original transcendent principle. As is often the case, a religion or state claims that it has a unique relationship with the pure truth of the divine sky above—a Mandate of Heaven— and it will instantiate that truth here within the suffering of the earth. In this way, “the kingdom of heaven on earth” is envisioned as a descent of wisdom into this lower realm. Whatever the form, temporal rulers and states, as well as powerful religious institutions, assume that they represent a transcendent heavenly principle or a cosmic order here on earth.
This is what Kings decreed when they claimed a divine mandate; this is what the Pharaohs and Emperors asserted when they assumed the status of gods on earth; this is what the avatars and messengers of the gods declare. Today, this is what modern national states also maintain when they assert that they are the sole caretakers of individual liberties, security, health, prosperity, and rights to private property. In the old days, the Kings were sovereign. But democracy instituted the “sovereignty of the people.” In a paradoxical way, it is our individual liberties, rights to property, and desire for health that now bear the trace of a primordial principle, a consumer divinity of biosecurity that global civilization dogmatically worships.
By disrupting the hierarchy between sky and earth, between transcendence and immanence, the four fields suspend the hegemony of one field over another, allowing a playful spontaneous coherence of all four fields at once. When we practice this coherence and enact it as our form of life, we attune to what is happening right here and now, rather than having to reach back or above for a transcendent source. Complete freedom is the abiding condition of all things.
Each field is also ethical and political. The approach to practice here is as much a political praxis as it is a contemplative or spiritual practice. The Mossrock field calls us into participation in the unfolding of our terrestrial existence, feeling the grief of losing our coral reefs, the last old growth forests, the poisoning and privatizing of our fresh water, and the sea level rise that will flood coastal cities. Waking up to the capitalist, white supremacist, and colonialist conditions for so much of the injustices of global consumer civilization, the Mossrock field reorients what we mean by “enlightenment.” No longer just the inner, personal experience of an individual, true freedom would now mean the material transformation of ecological and political being, the untangling of the ancestral catastrophe of over five-hundred years of colonial genocide and destruction of ecosystems. It’s no longer merely our own karma that needs to be purified and freed, now it’s the geomaterial karma of hundreds of years of extraction, waste, and violence that calls for a path of transformation and natural-freedom. A thriving earth is the awakened body.
The Wildfire field calls for an ethics of emotional healing, regenerative psycho-social training, and ultimately freedom from enforced socialized identities. As sensitive organisms, our nervous systems can seize up in traumatic response. Our emotional life is not just taking place within us, but is a response to gendered, racialized, and economic conditions. Our eco-anxiety and sense of foreboding despair about the future impresses upon the sensitivity of our hearts and minds. What is outside is also within. The “inner work” of attending to and caring for our hearts is fundamental to revolutionary change. As Foucault warned us, simply replacing one group of tyrants with another group of revolutionaries will not lead to lasting transformation. This is because we all carry within us the imprint of the societies in which we have developed and formed. We are all “brainwashed” or socialized by colonial consumer capitalist society. Our sense of self or subjectivity is now mediatized, indebted, represented, and secured . To hospice a dying world and allow for new worlds, we will have to transform these subjectivities. In this way, a critical phenomenology of our sense of self is part of an ethics from the Wildfire field. No longer an isolated therapeutics, this is a cultural therapeutics and radical ecopsychology for our times.
Though the Lit Ocean field of unconditional awareness might seem to be too transcendent or contemplative to have much to do with ethics or politics, it too calls forth an ethical responsivity. For many of us, the time of our everyday life is compressed and pressurized. We feel a relentless pressure to be productive, to be efficient, and to squeeze the last drop of value from each moment of our lives. Entrepreneurial, (or wishing we were), we can feel a demand to be engaged with everything, to read all the content, to follow all the conversations, to add our voice, to post our stories, to sign the petition, to make our own App, to curate our own Podcast, to make a difference, to save the world, to be healthy, to survive… We are weary of this exhausting and endless pressure; we are tired of having to become ourselves. At the same time, there is a war raging for our awareness within the attention economy. Screens, social media, and advertising inundate our perceptions with pushes and pulls to buy and change, to improve and consume. It is difficult to focus, to read deeply, to sit quietly and unrestrictedly. We are commanded to be productive and active. Within this pressurized speed and war for our attention, it is no wonder that it can feel challenging to rest the mind in meditation. The drive to always do and act is precisely what frustrates and obstructs the simplicity of open awareness. Nondoing effortless trust is the natural rest that discloses the Lit Ocean field. So an ethics of nondoing, of rest, of rendering inoperative the agitated speed of capitalist intensities, is the call from the immersive depths of the ocean of awareness. Relaxation is revolutionary. This is directly related to an inoperative politics—a politics that gently refuses to play along with the violence, that suspends the restless pressure to do. In this way, even the effortless awareness of the great contemplative traditions may be politically liberate. We can rest our way to freedom.
Finally, as hinted at above, the Space field calls forth an anarchic ethicality free from grounds and foundations. Groundless and open, the real ethical moment is not when we have a clear system or rules to follow. Instead, it is when we don’t know what to do or how to proceed that reveals ethics. In the space of not knowing, free from formulae, love may spontaneously well forth. Or not. We will see! Such empty love is practical in three ways: first, as we open out beyond fixed ideologies and identities and let our hearts be vulnerable to a heating planet in crisis, second as we work with the deep freedom of our institutions, and third as we face civilizational-scale collapse. No one knows if we are part of a Great Turning towards a Symbiocene—a more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible—or if we are on the brink of a Great Collapse of heat waves, climate refugees, and gated communities of the superrich hoarding all resources and medical supplies. Most likely, there will be some of both, just as its always been. The Space field is the room in which we may open to such epic and epochal metamorphoses.
This has been a brief overview of the Four fields. It's meant to hint at the potentialities of the coherence of these fields, to hint at what they might do. What matters is how we may actualize them as our form-of-life.