Catherine Éveillard: “Let us smile at the collapse, because the future is always open. »

- through Sophie Solere

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Founding member of the Dechen Chöling center, located in Limousin, Catherine Éveillard has been teaching Shambhala meditation for 25 years and the Way of Enlightened Society for several years. Feminist and ecologist, she believes in the convergence of initiatives to circulate the energy of change. The period of confinement is, in his eyes, an opportunity to link our action to our reflection, here and now.

In October 2019, you organized a weekend around the slogan " Smile to collapse ». What do you recommend in this very special moment?

This slogan is inspired by the book smile at fear by meditation master Shambhala Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. As long as we hide our fears, we have no real courage. You have to know how to look at their causes to remain free.

Until a few months ago, the expression "Smiling at the collapse" bothered many people. Because collapse means the loss of points of reference, of economic security... Whoever says collapse means having to take charge of oneself, getting out of one's comfort zone, living without absolute security, having the courage to meet people who 'we don't know, experimenting that we had never imagined… With the coronavirus epidemic, we are in this situation. Meditation, as an inner work, can help us smile at fear. Like many of my acquaintances, I lived the first two weeks of confinement rather well. But I notice that gradually, not knowing where we are going, the fear rises. When this is the case, my exercise consists in sitting down and saying to myself “Yes, I am afraid”. I fear what will happen next. How many people are going to be in misery, how are we going to help them? All these questions come to mind. The work to appease me is to come back to the present moment, to what is to be done now.

The current epidemic can be seen as a warning of a coming collapse. How to cope ? 

The collapsologists, like Pablo Servigne – who has done a remarkable job – offer to settle in the countryside and provide for the necessary to ensure his survival. Will everyone be able to ensure a survival situation in the event of a collapse? I do not think so. But we all have the ability to relate to others, to make plans, even in the short term. We have a lot of tools at our disposal, we don't always use them. For example, I make online conversation groups to work on projects remotely and continue to create links. To make society, even in a difficult situation, is what is most important at the present time.

Pablo Servigne affirms “that looking reality in the face and stopping to navigate between vague hopes of recovery (…) is a relief”. What do you think ?

I keep myself regularly informed of the analyzes of specialists on the impacts of this epidemic, the probable recessions and the crises to come. These analyzes are important from a scientific point of view, and that is probably what awaits us. But I prefer to face the collapse as it presents itself every day. Collapsology is already a scenario of the future. However, we do not know at all in which direction the situation may evolve. No one had foreseen the epidemic. Some things can go very quickly, be positive or on the contrary very disturbing. The vision that I defend, Buddhist and human, is to consider the collapse with lucidity, with patience and not to be drawn into catastrophic projections, because the future is always open.

You connect with other groups outside of the Buddhist realm, such as Climate Resistance, for long-term action. Why is it important to work at different levels?

There is not an ecological problem, another economic problem and another societal one. Everything goes together. Although Climate Resistance activists can be considered extremists, I appreciate their perspective. We suspect that within five years, not everyone will have stopped flying. But I like that there are people who say it and apply it.

“The vision that I defend, Buddhist and human, is to consider the collapse with lucidity, with patience and not to be drawn into catastrophic projections, because the future is always open. »

It seems to me preferable not to remain compartmentalized in a group and in a single perspective, however noble it may be, and to link different ways of seeing things, which are not necessarily contradictory. Some people need to be in activism, others in human relations. Everyone mobilizes where they feel best.

You also participate in the international online laboratory "The societal transformation lab", which proposes to no longer separate ecology, society and spirituality.

Since the state or the major institutions have no alternative plan in the face of the health, economic or social crises to come, we ourselves must become agents of change. In English, there is the word "leading", which can be translated as "to direct" or "to direct". The idea of ​​this "lab" is to learn how to move towards the future we want by forming working circles, in our country, with acquaintances, or with people we meet on the web, and by exchanging our ideas, feelings and feelings. The desired transformation thus takes root in ourselves within the group and by the group.

In collective coaching circles, a person expresses their desires for the future and the obstacles they encounter. The other members listen attentively to encourage him to clarify his thoughts and take another step forward. Learning to listen to ourselves and to others is an essential component of our ability to live and work together. Not long ago, I proposed to my group to visit urban wastelands in Paris, at Grands Voisins or on the small belt. Open spaces where people create gardens, workshops, playgrounds, spaces for experimentation. After these visits, we realized that it was important to learn how to embark on experimental projects, even ephemeral ones; that it was about daring to innovate, trying and starting over by connecting our ideas to our hands and our hearts.

Is the crisis linked to the Coronavirus epidemic an opportunity to change the model?

Of course, everyone says so. But we notice that getting involved in a societal change is very difficult if you don't have a support group, where you can open up completely to others and where everyone can find themselves. This ability to make speaking and listening circles operational is the only chance we have for the awareness of the moment to last.

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Sophie Solere

Sophie Solère is an economic and social journalist who has been interested for years in the environment and interdependence. She works for Buddhist News, a media platform dedicated to Buddhist spirituality and wisdom. By practicing yoga and meditative dance, Sophie discovered the power of spiritual journeys, which offer so many paths to (re)find yourself. She is dedicated to sharing inspiring stories and valuable advice on spiritual practice and the environment with Buddhist News readers.

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