Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saving Our Planet

Thanks to Barbara Baty.

In my opinion, multi-tasking, at least in this country, is a "plague" that is causing a breakdown in effective communication, and when that happens, chaos and confusion just seem to crop up everywhere in many different forms.

Love~ Barb


zen habits

There are several options for becoming a part of the planetary-healingprocess. Our poor little planet is dying, being poisoned and irreversibly ruined, largely by greed and commercialism. The air grows thick with smoke and particulate matter, some of it invisible, triggering a wide spectrum of respiratory disorders, killing and sickening us. The shining sea is becoming a dense mass of black oil. The economy of
greed has collapsed beneath our feet, and threatens to devalue currencies, swallowing them up. Greed has ruined our minds and our planet. The future hardly beckons us with bright promise; more disaster is predicted.

Many smart people have arisen with several solutions, and many believe in only their solutions. We need to create a "green" economy. We need desperately to increase our use of biodegradable products. We also need to devise solutions to maintain money as a valid medium for exchange-- more regulation, revelation, transparency, and accountability, as well as more and greener jobs. The cost of bread, milk, and gas is far exceeding the income of the average American. Answers and solutions multiply.
But there is a deeper solution, implied in the great philosophy of Taoism:

We don't need to "do" anything.

For the solution does not lie in a plethora of ideas or in altering our perspective. It is simply to do less, to simplify our approach to life. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can be only transformed from one expression to another. This rule applies to not only physics, but to life itself.

The problem is that we're in this big mess; but it is really simple. We do appear to be in quite a state of chaos, and it seems logical that we seek many solutions. But if complexity is the problem, more complex answers are not a viable solution! The solution is not more doing; we have already done too much; so, the logical solution is doing less.

To make consumables greener is a good idea, but is only a sliver of a solution. A more fundamental approach goes deeper: We need to change our psychosocial attitudes so that we consume less. Hyperconsumption is the cause of all our financial problems and of the destruction of the ecology. We need a comprehensive ecoeconomic solution
(combining ecology with economy). We often take and take, as if resources were limitless, and we give back exactly nothing. We are building up a huge "debt" to nature, and it will have, sooner or later, to be "repaid." But we keep procrastinating, as if this debt is going magically somehow to disappear. It doesn't, and our putting it off only deepens the debt. Our "ecological interest" keeps accruing. We are so dense, greedy, and unaware that we take no action until the problem threatens actual destruction of civilization, or the planet itself. It
must become Frankensteinian before it gets our attention.

So why do we avoid simplicity? Why do we want to use less, decreasing our environmental "fingerprints," our impact?? Why are we "starving" to consume?

Part of the solution is that we have lost all meaning in a single word. If we learned again to use this word, we might save our world. That magic word is "enough." For consumers have completely eradicated the concept of "enough" from their vocabulary. In our society, we never have "enough" food, sex, entertainment, amusement, clothes, jewelry, cd's, dvd's, books car, home,, or anything else. So, let's begin and support the "enough" movement! Let us declare that we have "enough"!

An interior "revolution" is needed! We must learn to alter and transform our very ways of thinking if we truly treasure the flowers. There are several ways that we can return to simplicity: Driving less, walking more. Not only will you be saving the environment, you'll be saving your heart as well. Bonus!

Wanting less, appreciating more. Instead of wanting a big home you can't afford, maybe you should settle for living in a smaller home in a less expensive area. Where you live says nothing about your value as a human being! So, let us reasonably separate selfesteem from material possessions. More is not better, and more does not make you better! Enjoy your space more. To meditate, sleep, eat, laugh with friends, and create works of beauty requires no more than a moderate-sized room. We do not need to be surrounded by ten or fifteen rooms in a large palatial home. (This just requires much extra energy to cool or heat. It is absurdly wasteful.) By spending less money on mortgage, you'll be saving more time. Time is life. Win/win.

Simplicity in material possessions is only one form of simplicity. We also need simplicity and clarity in communication. Talking less, listening more. We spend most of our time when we should be listening in actually formulating our response. This is not real, respectful listening. You'd be amazed how much people never really hear each other at all. Think about how your life can be improved by understanding people better. You can avoid many headaches and heartaches due to misunderstandings if you listen, and if you speak clearly and simply.

Buy things that are more expensive, but last longer. Check the quality of workmanship and craftsmanship. An item wellmade can last for years, while shoddily made items end up in the dump, further harming the ecology. A double edged razor will last a lot longer than disposable razors. Some blades can even be resharpened. You'll save money too.

Use real dishes instead of plastic/paper. It might seem like a little more work to wash them, but it really isn't. It takes more energy to create that plastic, manufacture, package, distribute and purchase it than it does to wash a dish. Rethink convenience.

MINDFULNESS. This is a major interior transformation, part of growth into higher awareness (consciousness). It means being focused or centered upon what you are doing at this moment, not getting "lost" in thoughts. If, in your mind, you are reliving the past or projecting the future, you are simply "not here" in the present! Mindfulness increases attention and concentration. Do only one thing at a time, do it very well, do it completely, and then, move on. We try to print a report, make coffee, and talk on the phone at the same time. Doing this we run the risk of printing the wrong pages, accidentally forgetting the coffee filter and saying the wrong thing. We then must spend more time correcting ourselves than we would save by simply being mindful.

Less things. The more things we buy, the more nonrenewable resources we take from the planet. All people must draw from one single common pool of nonrenewable resources. When we take or use more than "our fair share," we are thieves, stealing from all people, including the poor. The more we consume, the larger that debt becomes. Buying new clothes, appliances or phones isn't really a bad thing. It's our addiction to buy the newest and greatest each year or every few months that is dangerous.

We need not "get rid" of an item simply because it is older; it might still be quite useful. After all, that old thing has to go somewhere. And it's probably in a landfill somewhere.

How can you use simplicity of possessions to help save the planet? We would love to hear your ideas. Please feel free to share them with our elovefamily at: For more ways to do less (and get more), grab a subscription to Illuminated Mind.

Based on an article by Jonathan Meaks.

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