What is it worth to us, as humans, to consume resources without regard for the reciprocal relationship we have with our environment? I mean the outer ecosystem that sustains life on this planet; but I also mean our own inner ecosystems.
It’s overwhelming and it’s easy to go about our daily lives with a woozy sense of powerlessness, of doom… and maybe even of guilt.
For me, this feeling of individual powerlessness is where community comes in. It’s where I must evoke a sense of linking arms with a community more massive than “the worldwide yoga community.” Because the truth is it will take no less than all of us waking up and doing our parts to slow the tide of destruction we find ourselves living in. Committing to live as simply as possible as individuals, yes. But also shifting from the passivity of powerlessness to the activity that arises from the collective voice. And we need our very loud voices right now.
We’re trashing our environment because of a hunger that will never be satisfied by consumption of goods or by frantic over-doing. Until we’re willing to sit with the discomfort of emptiness—of being replaceable, impermanent, and temporary—we’ll keep trying to solidify our significance through more and more stuff, greater and greater achievements. In the moments I feel that pull, I look to earth to be my teacher—to ease my need to make noise and be shiny so that external validation will appease my hunger for significance. (Which, by the way, it never does.)
Earth’s wisdom evolved over 4.5 BILLION years. It’s impossible for the mind to conceive of this timeframe: the sentient unfoldings, the vastness of accumulating life force, all the wisdom it carries. Rather than appreciating this remarkable continuity, we strip the earth of anything and everything we can in some attempt to hold on, to have. But what would it mean to remember that there’s no holding on; there’s no escape from impermanence, life will go on after and without us?
We can each dedicate even a small amount of time and use it to call lawmakers, seek out conservation lobbyists, connect with ocean conservationists, chat with family, community, friends...
And I can do all of this just a bit better when I know my sangha—this great community of humanity—is doing it with me.
Actions We Can All Take For Earth:
I hope to see you on the mat and in the efforts to preserve our planet, our biodiversity and in curbing our unbridled consumption.
Here’s to EARTH every single day.