It’s the worst year most of us can remember.

It’s 2020 and Covid-19 has sucked the life out of so much.

We can’t go out and play together.

Everything has become a challenge worthy of a strategic planning meeting: work, school, shopping, home.

But let’s not forget that this is just the start, as far as climate science has been telling us for decades.

This is the carbon we released in the 90s. Spiking towards the sky, swirling up the stormclouds, breeding new diseases, creating the conditions for the worst bushfires in Australian history. Even the original peoples, here for tens of thousands of years, don’t have a story for that kind of damage. And if they don’t have a story for it – the people that were here when you could walk across Bass Strait from the mainland to what we now call Tasmania, who hunted across the plains of what is now Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne before the last great deluge – then it is truly unprecedented.

Now that we’re beginning to see what anthropogenic climate change looks like, we might as well get used to it, as we have to prepare to be lashed by the 30 years’ worth of carbon that has been discharged since this greenhouse began getting pumped full of hot gas.

The storms that lashed the Buddha, as he faced his final spiritual battle before the complete and irreversible awakening that would be the apotheosis of a lifetime of meditative practice, can be seen as metaphorical. Whether they were psychic entities tormenting him towards his great overcoming, or real elements of malevolence, the earth continued to live and breathe beyond the scene. Our reality is the ecological version – real storms and the breakdown of the physical world – but maybe it’s time to treat them as a spiritual challenge too.

To prepare best for the worst, stop thinking things are going to get better. That optimism will leave you victim to reality, shocked with every new assault upon your vision of the good life, unprepared for the horrors to come. 2019 was the best year you are ever going to remember – at least on a planetary scale. You may have better ones personally, but we’re on the downward slide now kids. Get used to it. Breathe deeply and find calm in the midst of the storm. Lean into it. Awaken the Warrior of Peace and Spirit.

While it’s also not enough to find solace in being protected by a great serpent, like the Buddha was, when the storms become truly threatening, it’s certainly one of the things we could be doing with our time, while we still have it. Keep agitating for change but balance that out with some concentration on spiritual liberation. This is your one wild life.

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