By Thich Nhat Hanh
Nov 13, 2015
You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. In that kind of relationship you have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change your life.
Fear, separation, hate and anger come from the wrong view that you and the Earth are two separate entities, that the Earth is only the environment. That is a dualistic way of seeing.
So to breathe in and be aware of your body and look deeply into it, realise you are the Earth and your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Not to cut the tree, not to pollute the water, that is not enough.
We need a real awakening, enlightenment, to change our way of thinking and seeing things. When we recognise the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born. That is the meaning of love, to be at one.
Many people suffer deeply and they do not know they suffer. They try to cover up the suffering by being busy. Many people get sick today because they get alienated from Mother Earth.
The practice of mindfulness helps us to touch Mother Earth inside of the body and this practice can help heal people. So the healing of the people should go together with the healing of the Earth. This is the insight and it is possible for anyone to practice.
This kind of enlightenment is very crucial to a collective awakening. In Buddhism we talk of meditation as an act of awakening, to be awake to the fact that the Earth is in danger and living species are in danger.
We have constructed a system we can’t control. It imposes itself on us, and we become its slaves and victims. We have created a society in which the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, and in which we are so caught up in our own immediate problems that we cannot afford to be aware of what is going on with the rest of the human family or our planet Earth.
Activists have to have a spiritual practice in order to help them to suffer less, to nourish the happiness and to handle the suffering so they will be effective in helping the world. With anger and frustration you cannot do much.
When I am mindful, I enjoy my tea more. I am fully present in the here and now, not carried away by my sorrow, my fear, my projects, the past and the future. I am here available to life. When I drink tea this is a wonderful moment.
You do not need a lot of power or fame or money to be happy. Mindfulness can help you to be happy in the here and now. Every moment can be a happy moment. Set an example and help people to do the same.
If we are able to touch deeply the historical dimension – through a leaf, a flower, a pebble, a beam of light, a mountain, a river, a bird, or our own body – we touch at the same time the ultimate dimension. The ultimate dimension cannot be described as personal or impersonal, material or spiritual, object or subject of cognition – we say only that it is always shining, and shining on itself.
Touching the ultimate dimension, we feel happy and comfortable, like the birds enjoying the blue sky, or the deer enjoying the green fields. We know that we do not have to look for the ultimate outside of ourselves – it is available within us, in this very moment.