aware of climate change/emergency — we can come together to breathe, look deeply and act with love
Chan Phap Ho, Buddhist Monk and Dharma Teacher ordained by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, resident of Deer Park Monastery, born in Stockholm, Sweden
NOTE: this article was first posted on Deer Park Monastery Earth Protectors’ blog: earthprotectionherenadnow.wordpress.com, on March 9, 2014.
In the last several posts (firstname.lastname@example.org) we have been watering our aspiration, our love and awe of Mother Earth. Our aspiration, our deep intention and volition is a fuel that brings forth our thinking, words and actions. In order for us to continue to run on the renewable and life giving fuels of kindness, harmony and determination, we need to water these qualities in us. During this winter I have been reading and reflecting a lot on climate change/emergency. At times this has made me feel judgmental, cynical, angry, sad and fearful. I have practiced to recognize, accept, hold and look deeply into these feelings and states of mind. At times I have noticed that the judgment of oil companies and their leaders have effected my relationship with people whom I live with. Even if their only association with these companies is to buy some gas once in a while. They even prefer to drive our hybrid car whenever they can. This was a clear mirror for me, helping me stop and look into what was happening. I recognize that these unwholesome, life wrecking energies do not discriminate on their object. When I am caught in judgmental and discriminative thinking, my mind is clever enough to find an object, it can be anyone or anything. So in terms of nutriments we have to be discerning, to let into our mouth, senses and hearts only fuel what we find worthy and sustainable. At times I recognize in my work and study that I loose some freshness and openness, which reminds me of the importance to play.
The other day during some free time, I put on some relaxing instrumental music and took out some art supplies. I was present with the topic of Earth Holding and Protecting, but at the same time engaged in a light, joyful and creative process. I humbly offer the youthful fruits of this play-practice.
The topic of nutriments will continue shortly with the Fourth Nutriment, namely Consciousness. This is a deep topic and I need some more time to let my reflections and possible insights mature before sharing more.
Thanks to our practice of stopping and looking deeply, two wings of meditation, I did not run away from my perceptions about the oil companies and their leaders. Instead I looked into where some of their wrong perceptions may lay. Obviously there is the view that more money brings more happiness and freedom, which scientific research show is not the case. As long as we have sufficient and stable income to provide the necessities for ourselves and our loved ones, increased wealth does not significantly contribute to our wellbeing and there are much more just and fair ways to be happy. Another mistaken view might be that seems to have worked, the fossil fuel industry has enabled an amazing technological development. We have the view that things last forever, remember the ending of our fairy tales? “They lived happily ever after.” This is a powerful story in our consciousness, that has to be recognized and transformed. The world views of traditional religion also points in the direction of an afterlife, where there is no suffering and it lasts forever. Some of our highly privileged (powerful and wealthy) people might also think that they are chosen and entitled to their position, whatever cost is payed by others. These wrong perceptions and others, might be ignorant and narrow minded, but I cannot assume and label these people as bad/evil people. The Buddha and many teachers that has followed point to the awakened nature in all. In my reflections I was also considering writing a love letter to the oil/coal and gas barons, like a did a couple of years ago to Mr & Mrs 1%. This letter is also not quite ripe and again I am not sure how to get it to them.
For our efforts to be truly fruitful I think it is imperative that we reflect and look deeply together with others to find a compassionate and insightful way of acting, that is embodied individually and collectively. This might lead us to write our representatives on a city, state and federal level, encouraging them to support renewable energies and electric mass transit systems. It can be reaching out to and communicating with company directors and stock holders in order for them to realize that their children and grandchildren will not have this Earth to enjoy the collected fortune, opening them up to reinvestment into solar, wind and geothermal energy. In doing this with happiness, togetherness and care we offer an alternative to the individualistic and materialistic current that is taking us to increased disasters. For us to act, we also need to tend our own house, not to be 100%, but to consume less, to increase vegetarian and local foods, and to use renewable resources in our backyard, so that our life can also be our message.
This can be a path of happiness, togetherness and sustainability, but be assured it also will not last forever.