Falling in Love with the Earth
This beautiful, bounteous, life-giving planet we call Earth has given
birth to each one of us, and each one of us carries the Earth within
every cell of our body.
We and the Earth are one
The Earth is our mother, nourishing and protecting us in every
moment–giving us air to breathe, fresh water to drink, food to eat and
healing herbs to cure us when we are sick. Every breath we inhale
contains our planet's nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and trace elements.
When we breathe with mindfulness, we can experience our interbeing 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 experience communion. With every breath we can savor
the wonders of life.
We need to change our way of thinking and seeing things. We need to
realise that the Earth is not just our environment. The Earth is not
something outside of us. Breathing with mindfulness and contemplating
your body, you realise that you are the Earth. You realise that your
consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Look around
you–what you see is not your environment, it is you.
Great Mother Earth
Whatever nationality or culture we belong to, whatever religion we
follow, whether we're Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, or atheists,
we can all see that the Earth is not inert matter. She is a great
being, who has herself given birth to many other great beings–including
buddhas and bodhisattvas, prophets and saints, sons and daughters of God
and humankind. The Earth is a loving mother, nurturing and protecting
all peoples and all species without discrimination.
When you realize 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
need, and the future of the planet depends on whether we're able to
cultivate this insight or not. The Earth and all species on Earth are in
real danger. Yet if we can develop a deep relationship with the Earth,
we'll have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change our
way of life.
Falling in love
We can all experience a feeling of deep admiration and love when we
see the great harmony, elegance and beauty of the Earth. A simple branch
of cherry blossom, the shell of a snail or the wing of a bat – all bear
witness to the Earth's masterful creativity. Every advance in our
scientific understanding deepens our admiration and love for this
wondrous planet. When we can truly see and understand the Earth, love is
born in our hearts. We feel connected. That is the meaning of love: to
be at one.
Only when we've truly fallen back in love with the Earth will our
actions spring from reverence and the insight of our interconnectedness.
Yet many of us have become alienated from the Earth. We are lost,
isolated and lonely. We work too hard, our lives are too busy, and we
are restless and distracted, losing ourselves in consumption. But the
Earth is always there for us, offering us everything we need for our
nourishment and healing: the miraculous grain of corn, the refreshing
stream, the fragrant forest, the majestic snow-capped mountain peak, and
the joyful birdsong at dawn.
True Happiness is made of love
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 our bodies and the
planet. Yet much of what we drink, eat, watch, read or listen to, is
toxic, polluting our bodies and minds with violence, anger, fear and
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 consume in such a way that truly sustains our
peace and happiness. Only when we're sustainable as humans will our
civilization become sustainable. It is possible to be happy in the here
and the now.
We don't need to consume a lot to be happy; in fact we can live very
simply. With mindfulness, any moment can become a happy moment. Savoring
one simple breath, taking a moment to stop and contemplate the bright
blue sky, or to fully enjoy the presence of a loved one, can be more
than enough to make us happy. Each one of us needs to come back to
reconnect with ourselves, with our 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.
The bread in your hand is the body of the cosmos
We need to consume in such a way that keeps our compassion alive. And
yet 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 the amount of
meat we eat and alcohol we consume by 50% is a true 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.
Nothing is more important than brotherhood and sisterhood
There's a revolution that needs to happen and it starts from inside
each one of us. We need to wake up and fall in love with Earth. We've
been homo sapiens for a long time. Now it's time to become homo
conscius. Our love and admiration for the Earth has the power to unite
us and remove all boundaries, separation and discrimination. Centuries
of individualism and competition have brought about tremendous
destruction and alienation. We need to re-establish true
communication–true communion–with ourselves, with the Earth, and with
one another as children of the same mother. We need more than new
technology to protect the planet. We need real community and
All civilisations are impermanent and must come to an end one day.
But if we continue on our current course, there's no doubt that our
civilisation will be destroyed sooner than we think. The Earth may need
millions of years to heal, to retrieve her balance and restore her
beauty. She will be able to recover, but we humans and many other
species will disappear, until the Earth can generate conditions to bring
us forth again in new forms. Once we can accept the impermanence of our
civilization with peace, we will be liberated from our fear. Only then
will we have the strength, awakening and love we need to bring us
together. Cherishing our precious Earth–falling in love with the
Earth–is not an obligation. It is a matter of personal and collective
happiness and survival.