There is a wonderful small book with a big message written by Thich Nhat Hanh called “Love Letter to the Earth”, which has inspired me to write this blog.
Most of us live our daily lives without much thought to Mother Earth – we get up, have a shower (those of us fortunate enough to have a shower and hot running water), brush our teeth, grab some breakfast, rush off to work or get the kids to school… and so the day continues – we fill our minutes and hours with frenetic activity until its time for bed – even then many of us have trouble sleeping! OK maybe some of us do think of the environment and so forth but how many of us truly give much thought to the Earth and what it means to us.
As Thich Nhat Hahn says – at this very moment, the Earth is above you, below you, all around you, and even inside you. The Earth is everywhere. Most of us think of the Earth as something we walk on – don’t we? However, think about it for a few minutes – everything is part of the Earth – the water, the sky, the sea, the air we breathe – everything comes from the earth – everything outside of us and inside of us!! Yes think about it. We so easily forget that the planet we live on provides us with all the elements that make up our bodies. The water in our flesh, our bones and all the microscopic cells inside our bodies all come from the Earth and are a part of the Earth. The Earth is not just the environment we live in – we are the Earth and we are always carrying her within us. A pretty strong statement eh? But its so true and yet I would bet that only a minuscule number of people even begin to think of this.
Thich Nhat Hahn goes on the say that once we realise this we can see that the Earth is truly alive. We are a living, breathing manifestation of this beautiful and generous planet. Knowing this we can begin to transform our relationship to the Earth. We can begin to walk differently and to take care of her differently. We fall completely in love with the Earth – when we are in love we will do anything to make the person we love happy – so why not the Earth? Not only does this bring much joy and happiness but it is this relationship we must have if both we and this earth are to survive – its that serious!
If we think about the earth as just the environment around us, we experience ourselves and the Earth as separate entities. We may see the Earth only in terms of what it can do for us. We need to recognise that this planet and the people (and all life) on it are ultimately one and the same. When we look at into a flower, we can see it is made up of many elements – we can see the sun, the soil, the rain, the minerals that help it to grow, the gardener…. when we look into the Earth we can see the whole universe.
Biologist Thomas Lewis writes in his book The Lives of a Cell describing our planet as a living organism. After deep reflection, he arrives at the insight that the whole planet is like a giant living cell whose parts are all linked in symbiosis. Lewis finds it astonishing that the Earth is alive! He is struck by the amazing beauty and exuberance of the Earth in contrast to the barren, cratered Moon and other planets. He likens the Earth to an organised, self contained being, a “live creature, full of information and marvellously skilled in handling the Sun”.
We often call the Earth “MOTHER EARTH”. Seeing Earth as our mother helps us to realise her true nature. The Earth is NOT a person, yet she is indeed a mother who has given birth to millions of different species, including the human race.
Our Mother Earth has brought us to life and provided all the conditions for our survival – over eons the Earth has developed an environment from which we humans can manifest and thrive. She created a protective atmosphere, with air we can breathe, abundant food for us to eat, and clear water for us to drink. She is constantly nourishing and protecting us.
If you think about it we are the children of this planet Earth and like all mothers it is very generous to us – embracing us and providing us with everything we need. And when we cease to exist in this form we will go back to the Earth and become a part of this ever changing and nourishing world.
There are so many issues to consider regarding the Earth – the things it gives us:
The gift of breathing
The gift of food
The gift of water
The gift of life itself
The gift of rain, sun – warmth and coolness
The gift of beauty
All of this and more to enable us to be HAPPY and Experience LOVE
Yes, of course, there is SUFFERING, but how much of this is brought on by us humans? Hatred, Anger, Ignorance, Jealousy, Greed, Desire – all lead to suffering and misery – wars – power struggles – I am right and you are wrong – imposing your beliefs on others – brutal ambition – envy of others – tribal and national hatreds – an eye for an eye – my god is better than yours – always wanting more and more – stress related illnesses – the list is endless – humans totally wasting their lives day in and day out – usually completely ignoring this wonderful Earth we live on and also causing incredible levels of suffering on so many levels.
It is only when we stop to think of Mother Earth and begin to change the way we live our every daily lives will peace and other things begin to change. I’ve written this so many times – Compassion, Love, Kindness, Caring, Healing, Loving Mindfulness all bring happiness and if we begin the process of thinking like this and cherishing our dear Mother Earth – we will begin to change the way we deal with people, animals and the environment around us.
Wars are entirely man made – look at the world today – we see horrors daily on the news – cities bombed – people executed – civil wars – murders – rapes – women appallingly abused in the name of religion or cultural reasons – it goes on and on and the ONLY way to change this is to begin at the beginning by respecting and loving our amazing Mother Earth and showing compassion and kindness to everything and everyone around us – its the only answer and we must start NOW…
Peter J. Brightman