Kinship Time

What would happen if we approached the climate crisis through a coordination epistemology? Today's climate crisis already exists because people have not taken responsibility for each other's safety, well-being and self-determination. So any solutions for climate change will be enacted within a state of affairs that are already rife with irresponsibility. Kinship time, as an ethic of shared responsibility, focuses attention on how responsible relationships must first be established or restored for it to be possible to have renewable energy projects that respond to everyone's safety, well-being and self-determination. 

Mentoring relationships like the student-teacher relationship in our Zen tradition are much like kinship time. They do not live within a closed blood-line of family. They are infact, an example of tiyospaye or an extended family. One's parents make poor mentors because they are usually too attached to an outcome for their children. Mentors come from outside the blood family system. They take time and care to grow strong in trust, wisdom, reciprocity and mutual responsibility. 

I have been fortunate in my life to have many good mentors, mostly in my spiritual tradition, but also one in my artist path as well. If we took more time and care to cultivate such relationships, perhaps we would have stronger communities that can't be manipulated so easily by outside, large corporate interests. 

As these qualities of responsibility to each other grow, they can address together more difficult challenges within the boundaries of their relationship – professional, social, political and religious. And what started as an individual relationship over time can grow to include other friends and over time grow into a supporting network that increases our resources and capacity to address challenges that affect our safety, well-being and self-determination.

This is what tiyospaye is all about. It's not easy to value kinship time because it takes time to nurture these kind of relationships. But it's possible. And it is part of my vision for our Zen community here in Oak Park, Illinois, that we nurture these kind of strong relationship that can strengthen our sangha community and carry forward our precious wisdom teachings for future generations.  


~ Roshi Robert Joshin Althouse

To see and hear my full talk on this subject last Sunday, July 24, 2022 at ZLMC, click here.