We need to change our way of thinking about things. Particularly concerning the Earth as not just our environment, not just as something outside of us.
Rather start seeing the Earth as our mother, nourishing and protecting us, giving us air to breathe, fresh water to drink and food to eat.
Think about it, every breath we inhale contains our planet’s nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and trace elements. With every breath, we can experience our inter-being with the Earth’s delicate atmosphere, with all the plants, and even with the sun, whose light makes possible the miracle of photosynthesis. With every breath, we can savor the miracle of life.
Breathing this way, you realize that you are the Earth. You realize that your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Look around you, what you see is not your environment, something outside of you—it is you.
The Earth is a loving mother, nurturing and protecting all her children without discrimination. Whatever nationality or culture you belong to, whatever religion you follow or not follow, you can see that the Earth is a great being, who has herself given birth to many other great beings.
When you appreciate the fact that the Earth is so much more than simply your environment, you’ll be moved to protect her in the same way as you would yourself. This is the kind of awareness, the kind of awakening that we all need, and the future of the planet depends on whether we’re able to cultivate this insight or not.
This new way of thinking is really important, because our Earth and all its species are in real danger. Yet if we can develop a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Earth, we’ll have enough love and motivation to change our way of life.
Many of us think we need more money, more power or more status before we can be happy. We’re so busy spending our lives chasing after money, power and status that we ignore all the conditions for happiness already available. At the same time, we lose ourselves in buying and consuming things we don’t need, putting a heavy strain on both us and the planet. Yet much of what we drink, eat, watch, read or listen to, is toxic and is polluting our bodies and minds with violence, anger, fear and despair.
As well as the carbon dioxide pollution of our physical environment, we can speak of the spiritual pollution of our human environment: The toxic and destructive atmosphere we’re creating with our way of consuming.
We need to start consuming in such a way that truly can sustain our peace and happiness. Only when we’re sustainable as humans will our civilization become sustainable.
We don’t actually need to consume a lot to be happy; in fact, we can live very simply. You only need to come back to reconnect with yourself, with your loved ones and with the Earth. It’s not money, power or consuming that can make us happy, but having love and understanding in our heart. Therefore, any moment can become a happy moment.
We can all experience a feeling of deep love when we see the great harmony and beauty of the Earth. A simple branch of a tree, the wings of a bird, the sound of a mountain stream –all bear witness to the Earth’s inventiveness.
The advances in our scientific understanding can also help us love our amazing planet more. When we can truly see and understand the Earth we feel connected.
Yet many of us have become alienated from the Earth. We are isolated and lonely. Our lives are too busy and we are restless and distracted, losing ourselves in consumption. And many of us consume in a way that is very violent. Forests are cut down to raise cattle for beef, or to grow grain for liquor, while millions in the world are dying of starvation.
Reducing, for example, the amount of meat we eat and alcohol we consume, can become an act of love for ourselves, for the Earth and for one another.
Eating with compassion can already help transform the situation our planet is facing, and restore balance to ourselves and the Earth.
This philosophy can be seen in the growing international “slow” movements — slow food, slow money, slow sex and slow medicine, to name a few.
Slow living means slowing down and thinking twice before you do something, it doesn’t mean anti-technology or moving back to pre-historic times. It’s just being mindful.
In other words, we are realizing that faster does not always mean better and that over the long run, faster not only can slow us down but also can kill us. As an upshot, we are rethinking how we approach our bodies, lives, consumption and the planet.
There’s a slow revolution that needs to happen and it starts from inside each one of us. We need to wake up and see our interconnectedness with the Earth.
This has the power to unite us and remove all boundaries, separation and discrimination. Centuries of individualism and competition have brought about destruction and alienation. We need to re-establish with ourselves, with the Earth, and with one another, that we are children of the same mother. We need more than new technology to protect the planet.
To end of, yes, it is true that everything is impermanent and will come to an end one day. But if we continue our current course, there’s no doubt that our world will be destroyed sooner than we think.
The Earth may need millions of years to heal, to retrieve her balance and restore her beauty. And she will be able to recover, basically without us and many other species.
Until the Earth can generate conditions to bring us forth again in new forms. Once we can accept this impermanence, we will be liberated from our fear. And only then will we have the strength and love we need to bring us together.
Treasuring our precious Earth is not a duty. It is a matter of personal and collective happiness – and survival.