The ancient Buddhist map of existence known as the Six Realms is both a vision of the cosmos and all its inhabitants and an elegant psychological model we can use in everyday life. Working with the realms as psychological archetypes (demon, ghost, animal, human, titan, angel) reveals patterns in how we process both harm and help in our personal and collective past, which play out as trauma and privilege in the present. Differently, and maybe more radically, working with them from an Animist framework reveals a conscious universe, where nature of all kinds is interdependent, intelligent, and part of the round of rebirth in which we all participate until full awakening. Seeing in this way challenges our identity, not just as ourselves but as defined by our species.
Description: So much of the pain afflicting our lives right now is based in conditions that are much larger than any of us as individuals. The climate crisis, racism, economic suffering, and the pandemic all are results of actions committed not by individuals but by groups. Rather than absolving us of responsibility, knowing this can help us to move through doubt and shame into the more wholesome states of urgency and collective agency.