The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday 31 May 2022

Right Of Speech - Right Speech

The Right to Freedom of Expression and Speech seems to be an indisputable one doesn’t it? After all, it has been a right for centuries. France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen adopted in 1789 during the French Revolution declared it an inalienable right. Two years later, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protected freedom of speech.

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Article 19 of which declares that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

Today, we hear this right being insisted upon often. It is insisted upon by those wishing to spread misinformation and lies as much as by those wishing to oppose such lies.

Underlying this insistence is the assertion that the individual is paramount. “My rights,” we hear, “are inalienable, and shall not be impinged upon by society.”

The cult of the individual is very much a westernised one. Although, even in western cultures it may be only fairly recent. Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in 1856, said that individualism was “not a word used by our ancestors, for no one could rely solely on themselves to survive and prosper.”1

More recently, individualism has grown another limb – that of Toxic Individualism. Having a belief in oneself, or a self-reliance, is one thing, but that sense of self becomes toxic individualism when an individual refuses to recognise or understand the impact one has on the lives of others and their community.

Right Speech

Several non-westernised cultures have a differing understanding of what it means to be an individual. The individual is not separate from, nor separate to, other people or nature. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, recognises that “I am, therefore you are. You are, therefore I am. We inter-are.”

This concept of inter-connection and non-separation is quite different to the westernised idea of the individual as standing apart.

The recognition of inter-connection has, as would be expected, a bearing upon speech. Less emphasis is given to Right of Speech and more given to Right Speech.

Right Speech is given prominence in the 8-fold path of the Buddha. Although often translated as right, the Pali word samma, could also be translated as best, wise, skillful. Indeed, such translations may be the better ones, as the word right has unfortunate associations with one side of the right-wrong dualism.

If we consider the concept of Wise Speech, Skillful Speech, or Best Speech, we begin to understand the impact our speech can have on those around us, and even upon ourselves.

When the Buddha introduced the 8-fold path, he also spoke of the connection between thoughts, words, deeds, and character. The following poem encapsulates the Buddha’s ideas, although the derivation of the poem is disputed:

“The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And the habit hardens into character;

So watch the thought and its ways with care;

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings.

As the shadow follows the body,

As we think, so we become.”2

When we speak our words have effects. (If they did not, why would we speak them?) Often we can see the effect our words have had, after we have spoken them. It is as though we watch the ripples flowing behind us in the wake of the ship we are steering. Once the wake has been made, we can no longer control the ripples. Yet, we also have the option to understand the ripples we make, before we make them. This is the bow-wave of our ship. The wake that precedes us. To be a-wake literally means to be so attuned to the wake we are creating that we fully understand its ripples.

The Right Speech of the 8-fold path is further enunciated and specifically advises avoiding, 1. lies, 2. divisive speech, 3. harsh speech, and 4. idle chatter.

What if we were to be mindful of Right Speech as we proclaim our Right of Speech? Would we see the divisiveness, the hatred, the bigotry, and the prejudices we see, and hear, today? Maybe, although I suspect there would be much less. And in that lessening, we might create a space for us to truly listen to one another. We might enter a deep listening, similar to that which Thich Nhat Hanh hopes for:

“Deep listening is the foundation of Right Speech. If we cannot listen mindfully, we cannot practice Right Speech. No matter what we say, it will not be mindful, because we’ll be speaking only our own ideas and not in response to the other person.”

Right Speech does not suggest that we give up our Right to Speech, only that we use it wisely.


1. Alexis de Tocqueville, L'Ancien Régime et la Révolution (The Old Regime and the Revolution), 1856.

2. This poem has often been attributed to the Buddha, yet it does not appear in any of the early Buddhist texts. The origin remains uncertain, although many Buddhists would say that the sentiments are those of the Buddha, even if the Buddha did not say them. Other scholars suggest the poem may be of Christian origin from the 19th century.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

A Brief Introduction to Earth Tipping Points

This is a brief Youtube clip introducing the Earth Tipping Points. I created this short clip to help a friend get a glimpse of the tipping points that are likely to send the world into environmental and social collapse. I had not intended to share it wider. However, she persuaded me that it was useful and should be shared wider. Most other videos, she told me, were either too long or highly technical; usually both.

So, the caveats on this clip.

  1. It is short and is intended only as an introduction, not a complete overview,
  2. A lot has been left out of this introduction. Hence, for those wanting to find out more; there are many videos, papers, documents available on the Internet.
  3. If this piques your curiosity, then that is great. We cannot understand the dynamics of climate chaos, of collapse, or the possibilities inherent in the future, without understanding tipping points.
The concept of Tipping Points is fairly recent. Malcolm Gladwell popularised the term with the publication in 2000 of his book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. We have, however, understood the phenomenon for a long time. We know it in the saying "the last straw to break the camel's back."

That saying is a useful one. It teaches us some of the lessons of tipping points:

  1. We cannot predict when the final straw will be placed upon the camel's back,
  2. Although it is the final straw that brings the camel to its knees, all the other individual straws contributed,
  3. We cannot assume that the camel will get back up again. If its back has been broken, the chances of it doing so are negligible,
  4. As each straw is being placed upon the camel's back we assume that the camel can continue to hold the load. After all - what is one more little straw?
I urge viewers of this clip to seek out further explanations and clarifications. 

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Visiting The World

‘I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.’1

Visiting There

Facebook has many quizzes asking us to name (or count) the number of places we have visited: cities, countries, scenic wonders…

But, how many times have we stood in awe at the beauty and wonder right in front of us? How often do we wake with the dawn? Do we listen to the calls and responses of birds? How often have we watched a young child (or pup, or kitten, or cub) take their first tentative, stuttering steps? How many times have we gazed into the eyes of those we love and care for? How many times have we cried; tears of joy, tears of grief, tears of laughter, tears of love?

How many times, too, have we visited our inner selves? Have we visited enough times to know our soul? Have we visited enough times to understand our true place in the world?

The idea, and reality, of tourism, is a fairly recent one in human history. During the Age of Empires (Greek, Egyptian, Roman) some people travelled purely to satisfy their curiosity. Even then though, most travel was by traders or raiders (or variations thereof.) During the Middle Ages, tourism dropped away significantly. It was not until the Renaissance that tourism re-emerged.

That era also introduced colono-tourism to the global arena. We know well the devastating effects this had on indigenous cultures world-wide. From the rape and pillage of Africa and the carving up of that continent for European purposes, to the genocide that swept through the Americas, and the over-running of Pacific societies, including Australia and New Zealand.

Colono-tourism then, and the tourism of today, wreaks havoc on the peoples who have called various places their home. In the process, cultures have been decimated and languages destroyed.

This destruction has not been limited to people, culture, and language. The many other-than-human species upon this planet have faced loss of habitat (homelessness), depopulation, and for many – extinction.

Today, the notion of eco-tourism has been touted as a means by which we might visit the world in a sustainable manner. However, this may not be the case. A very recent (April 2022) paper recognises that the international travel component of eco-tourism to and from the destination has a greater environmental footprint than that of the footprint during the entire length of stay at the destination.2 In other words, eco-tourism is not sustainable.

And all for what?

So that we (the rich, the privileged) can visit. “See the world,” we hear. “Travel broadens the mind” we are told.

Whilst that may be true for a minority of travellers, for the vast majority it is simply an opportunity to take a few “selfies,” and tick the box that says, “Been there, Done that.”

For others, travelling the world is even more damaging. It is an opportunity to export their ideologies of consumerism, exploitation, and superiority. Sadly, this is a truer picture of the modern traveller than is the idealistic one of the “broaden-the-mind” category.

(I must admit that I have been guilty of much of this myself.)

The line from Mary Oliver’s poem at the beginning of this blog reminds us that we don’t need to travel in order to visit the world. We can visit the place on Earth where we are born, live, and die, without really knowing that place, or knowing who we are, and what gifts we may bring to the world.

Abiding Here

Let us not be simply visitors or tourists. Let us be active, creative, and engaged participants. Let us have:

·       The desire to discover our true being,

·       The humility to know that we are but one part of an highly inter-connected world,

·       The curiosity needed to be open to the stories and mysteries of all of life (including other-than-human beings,)

·       The courage to walk into the depths of despair, sadness, and loss the world offers us,

·       The discernment to notice the effects of our actions (whether harmful or beneficial) and be able to modify those actions if need be,

·       The tenacity to keep learning about our unique soul, and our thoughts, feelings, and multi-faceted being,

·       The serenity to stop and listen to and observe, the beauty, the wonder, and the joy, of the fullness of life,

·       The audacity to confront our prejudices, bigotry, and insensitivity to the lived reality of others,

·       The grace to accept the vagaries and vicissitudes life throws us,

·       The willingness to laugh, to cry, to sing, to shout with abandon,

·       The sagacity to know the limits of our knowledge,

·       The temerity to look ourselves in the eye and ask, “Who are you really?”

·       The bravery to let go of our need for comfort and control,

·       The wisdom to let go and accept the impermanence of all things.

Maybe then we might be able to say to ourselves, “I did more than simply visit this world.”


1. This is the final line of the poem When Death Comes by the American poet Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019) who was inspired by nature for many of her poems.

2. Maria Serena Mancini et al., Ecological Footprint and Tourism: Development of sustainability monitoring of ecotourism packages in Mediterranean Protected Areas, in “Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism,” 23 April 2022.

Tuesday 10 May 2022

What Seeds Are We Sowing?

There is an Indian proverb that states:

“Blessed is the person who plants trees under whose shade they shall never sit.”

It is a proverb that is highly relevant as we face environmental/social collapse.

The signs of collapse have been with us for some years, and grow more apparent each year. The Earth’s tipping points are imminent, and some of them possibly already tipped.

We are in a predicament. We no longer have problems to solve. Predicaments inherently do not have solutions. Predicaments must be navigated. There are no solutions to the wicked problems that have merged to become this predicament.

It is as though we are at the entrance to a deep, dark, forbidding, cave that we must enter. This cave passes through a mountain and there is an entrance on the other side. We have no idea what we will find in that cave. We have no idea what monsters or gremlins we will face. We have no idea what lies on the other side. We do not even know if there is to be another side for us.

There is no forestalling this journey. We must, and will, face the darkness. We will enter a time of collapse, of uncertainty, of chaos.

Will homo sapiens emerge from the other side of the mountain alive?

No-one knows.

We cannot determine what lies on the other side. No amount of visioning, nor of hoping for, will be of any use.

Certainly, no-one alive today is likely to emerge from beneath the mountain on the other side.

So, rather than fantasize, imagine, or visualise what the future will look like, we might ask ourselves a simple question.

What seeds are we planting today, knowing that we will never sit in the shade of the trees, nor eat of their fruit? What will we plant today that may bear fruit for whoever, or whatever, may emerge from the other side of this mountainous predicament?

Will the seeds we sow be healthy ones? Will they be of benefit in the future world? Will they provide shade in the future?

Over the past two (or more) years we have witnessed a lot of unhealthy seeds being sown. We have seen seeds of: polarisation, hatred, vitriol, dis-information, lies, deceit, distrust, violence, and irresponsibility all being planted.

If humans are to emerge from this collapse, then these are not the seeds of a healthy society on the other side.

Before it is too late, we must begin sowing seeds of: harmony, cooperation, love, beauty, trust, respect, care, and responsibility.

We must primarily sow seeds of sacredness; seeds that recognise our place within nature, rather than a place outside of nature.

If there is any answer to the question, “What do I/we do?” then this is it.

Sow healthy seeds.

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Self-Awareness & Eco-Awareness

How self-aware are we? What does it mean to be self-aware?

Self-awareness seems to be one of the qualities those seeking a greater understanding of themselves wish to attain. (I must admit that last sentence could be read as a tautology.)

When speaking of self-awareness many guides and teachers point to two aspects of self-awareness: an inner self-awareness, and an external self-awareness.

An inner self-awareness is characterised by seeking to become aware of, and respondent to, our personal values, passions, thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Our inner self-awareness also leads us to ask ourselves where these values, thoughts, feelings etc come from. How did we attain them? Or, how did they arise in us?

An inner self-awareness allows us, additionally, to interrogate, or critically assess, our values, thoughts, passions etc. This awareness may lead us to changing, updating, and in some cases, completely overthrowing the values we once had.

External self-awareness seeks to discover how others see us, and what affect we have on others, because of our values, beliefs, passions etc. External self-awareness asks questions such as: how does this behaviour of mine affect those around me? do my beliefs help or hinder me in my relationship with others?

Of course, it is not easy to separate inner from external self-awareness. The two are entwined and sustain (or subvert) the other. An awareness of my affect on others helps me to better examine my inner self-awareness. A greater degree of inner self-awareness helps me to better appreciate how my behaviours and values may affect others.

Integral Self-Awareness (aka Eco-awareness)

There is, however, a third kind of self-awareness. We might call it integral self-awareness. Integral literally means not touched. It means wholeness, an undivided (un-touched) unity. It is the sort of self-awareness that asks questions such as: where (and what) is my place in this wholeness? how do I fit into the grand jigsaw of life, of which I am but one piece?

Integral self-awareness suggests a much larger conception of self than is commonly considered. It is the sort of self that Thich Nhat Hanh associates with inter-being. Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist monk) coined the term inter-being and explained it as “the many in the one, and the one in the many.” In terms of the self, he further clarified the term as, “I am, therefore you are. You are, therefore I am.”

Such self-awareness is a far more expansive understanding of self than that recognised in the inner and external aspects of self-awareness.

Indeed, it goes further. Integral self-awareness includes other-than-human species, flora and fauna. John Seed (the Australian Deep Ecologist and rainforest activist) puts it this way:

“I am that part of the rainforest recently emerged into thinking.”1

Integral self-awareness then, will lead us to ask questions such as: how does this behaviour of mine contribute to a healthy or unhealthy environment? how will what I do today impact the environment and those to come seven generations from today?

Integral self-awareness challenges us to step out of our anthropocentric and ego-centric view of ourselves and the world, and into a holistic eco-awareness.

Integral self-awareness asks a lot of us. Integral self-awareness is not easy, and many times we will make mistakes, take the wrong path, and get it wrong.

When we do so, we can use those mistakes and wrong paths to enhance all three aspects of self-awareness.


1. John Seed, Beyond Anthropocentricism, in Seed, Macy, Fleming, Naess, Thinking Like A Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings, New Society Publishers, Philadelphia, PA and Santa Cruz, CA, 1988.