"As a little boy, when I was studying Buddhism, I was taught to take care of nature, since the practice of nonviolence applies not just to human beings but to all sentient beings. Everything that is animate possesses consciousness. Wherever there is consciousness There are feelings like pain, pleasure and joy." -excerpt from My Spiritual Journey, by the Dalai Lama
If you walk into a natural landscape, is not groomed. It is wild. Everything grows systematically with other things to it's proximity. The river, the tree, the mountainside, the various shrubs all conspire to be together. Animals and insects are actors in contributing, preening and even propagating the immobile living beings. Everything is shaped by it's shared experience. Rainfall, winds, earthquakes, hot sun, deep shade, will also shape the world of that landscape. Unfortunately humans feel the compulsion to overly groom and manipulate a natural space. They often want nature out of their way. Trees will be cut down to build that swimming pool. The mountain will be carved to create that highway. A dam will be built to supply an overpopulated city of humans, at the expense of the source landscape. We want nature out of the way, to cooperate with human greed, to serve us, yet the law of reciprocity will make itself known. If we take too much, we will affect the symbiotic relationships that go beyond our awareness. We ourselves will be in crisis: extinction of species, unstable climate, plagues, famines and even pandemics.
We are a part of nature. When we leave things as they are, we become a symbiotic partner in the natural world. When you enter a forest and breathe it's green, you're exhalation is a gift in return. We can be a conscious and complicit partner with nature. It is not natural to remove, destroy and harm the wild environment. It is simply uneducated culture, bad habit, and a recklessness made popular by greed and excessive materialism. In the end, we harm ourselves too. We lose our essence of our best and responsible selves. Why would we cut out a part of ourselves too? If for every home, we also regrew a patch of nature, we could be reciprocal with the land and our own health preserved as a conscious result.
"It is not reprehensible for humans to use natural resources to serve their needs, but we should not exploit nature beyond what is strictly necessary," - The Dalai Lama
To my readers, no one wants to be a hypocrite. No one wants to go back to prehistoric times, either! What can we do with the systematic destruction of a planet. If each person changed one habit a year, we might be surprised how noticeably different the world would become. How about 3 habits? Start with what will not hurt you financially or what might improve your immediate health concerns. Here are some changes my family has made over the years:
one car family, mostly bike ride and walk to local markets
we buy organic products, limit processed foods
home cooked meals
constantly planting plants!
educate our household about plants, animals and sea life
donate to social and environmental causes
shop small and locally
shop for what we need, no big cars, no designer purses, or 30 pairs of shoes!
repurpose items, or repair them
The natural world is a wealth. It is here for all of ITSELF.
When you are not feeling well, step away from the concrete, move away from that building, feel the sand, feel the sea, catch the breeze in the evergreens, stand under the trees and hear the birds call out, look deeply into a blue sky, let your eyes drink in the color, stroke the jasmine flower and let its fragrance bring you joy. Your senses were not meant to be wasted. Living a holistic life means, being aware of a greater world and all living beings. Then, it is possible that all sentient beings also benefit from your existence.