Episode 88: John O'Donohue - Part 2 - Eternal Echoes: The Yearning to Belong and 21st Century Initiation Crises
“Duncan Campbell, I heard about your podcast a few months ago, and have been deeply listening to all the dialogues with your fantastic friends/guests. Your words, ideas, and wisdom are truly inspirational. You have evoked a new appetite for knowledge in me that I hope to share with a starving younger generation. Thank you for doing what you do, and creating a unique space, void of boundaries and classification. A breath of fresh air! Much love and respect.” – Amit Kapadiya
In furtherance of creating and maintaining the planetary dialogues now required in the 21st century, I featured a special series of dialogues with myself and other elders in the weeks leading up to and including the 2008 Olympics hosted by China and the U.S. 2008 elections. Those dialogues can be listened to separately on this site or as gathered as a series on my website www.livingdialogues.com under the collective title “Engaged Elder Wisdom Dialogues”. They address various specific political aspects of our planetary crisis, with its dangers and opportunities for creating and sustaining a visionary and evolutionary shift. (We remember that the Chinese character for “crisis” is often described as meaning both “danger” when visioned from a fear perspective, and “opportunity” when visioned from a wisdom perspective.)
In all my Living Dialogues from their inception I talk in various ways about the call to generate dialogues across generational, ethnic, gender, and national boundaries -- building bridges of understanding and wisdom in the cooperative spirit and reaching out -- required by our 21st century realities, and the essential roles that we all are called to play in our evolution for it to take place.
This is the time for renewed dialogue, for visionary and inspiring discourse producing practical and innovative ways of living and sharing together, to engage our own elder wisdom and youthful inspiration, and in so doing to experience and exemplify that “Dialogue is the Language of Evolutionary Transformation”™.
And that is what we all do, in our mutual roles as host, deep listeners, and guests, when we gather together here from all parts of the globe in Living Dialogues.
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All the best, Duncan.
P.S. As a way of further acknowledging and appreciating your part in these dialogues, and since I cannot personally answer all of them, I have begun to publish from time to time in these pages some of the appreciations received from you.
Duncan Campbell: Welcome to living dialogues I am your host Duncan Campbell and with me for this particular discussion and dialogue I am really delighted to have John O’ Donohue the author most recently of Eternal Echoes: Exploring our yearning to belong, prior to that author of Anam Kara which in Celtic means soul friend and has been on the best seller list in Ireland since its inception over two and a half years ago, many of you may be familiar with it. John, once again it’s just a total delight to have you here.
John O’ Donohue: It’s lovely to be here Duncan, Bless you.
Duncan Campbell: Yes, bless you John. Thank you so much. We have become old friends here, we started out as you mentioned couple of years ago we almost had a dialogue….
John O’ Donohue: That’s right.
Duncan Campbell: The machinery did not co-operate
John O’ Donohue: That’s right.
Duncan Campbell: And here we are ready to dialogue
John O’ Donohue: The dialogue didn’t want to be held.
Duncan Campbell: Yeah well, we had a different kind of dialogue
John O’ Donohue: We had exactly.
Duncan Campbell: Yeah and definitely a sense of belonging and longing to renew our communication, our friendship and that infact I think really is the heart of your book this beautiful way in which you interrelate the sense of longing and yearning with the sense of belonging because in our post modern era as you have referred to it, many of us find ourselves often with this deep feeling of alienation of not belonging of somehow not being embraced or understood by the culture around us, not finding a shelter that can take us in whether it be a relationship or as you put it a book by Myster Eckhart or Saint Jonathan Cross, looking for a place where we can be understood and deeply seen by another and its that sense of echo that we feel not a lonely isolated echo coming back to us but something that confirms and reaffirms the reality of our experience. So, you talk about your experience with your father as one of the first vivid memories you have of the concept of echo which you have now chosen for your book. Perhaps we could talk about a little bit about the concept of echo and why you chose that to really embody your concepts in this book?
John O’ Donohue: Ok, well I was born in Limestone valley in the West of Ireland and the limestone valley I suppose in a way is kind of almost like a nan all around the sounds come back but I remember the first time may father and I were going over the mountain herding cattle and before we reached the cattle he out to them and we were near a cliff and his call to the cattle was copied and returned precisely by the cliff and then I tried and it and it returned my call as well and it was a fascinating thing to me that suddenly in the midst of lonesome nature out there in the wilds that there were some secret resonant heart at the center of the rock which heard and returned perfectly the human voice and it struck me at the heart of silence there is a resonance of warmth and that we do belong in the World even though we don’t belong to the World and I suppose the key to what I was trying to say in eternal echoes is that the human heart is a theatre of longings and that there is all kinds of longings within us, there is the longing to find meaning which is crucial, there is the longing to be loved, there is also the longing to be seen I mean which has always struck me as incredibly interesting that no human being has ever seen her or his own face that even though when people know you on the street that they recognize you not by the clothes you wear, they do sometimes but they recognize because they know your face that’s what recognition is and yet you yourself have never seen your own face, it’s a fascinating thing all you have seen are the images in mirrors and windows and as we know mirrors are notoriously treacherous, some mirrors are so cruel in what they image back to you, you’d want to hide and put away more and more gentle
For full transcript, please contact Duncan Campbell