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We Need a Revolution: It Starts with Falling in Love with the Earth

By Thich Nhat Hanh on Friday March 2nd, 2018

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.

The Earth is our motherThe Earth is our mother, nourishing and protecting us in every moment.

When you realise 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 a 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.

Alienated from the EarthMany of us have become alienated from the Earth. We are lost, isolated and lonely.

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 and is polluting our bodies and minds with violence, anger, fear and despair.

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.

Connection and love creates happinessWith mindfulness, any moment can become a happy moment.

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 conscious. 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 co-operation.

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.

Words By Thich Nhat Hanh

Originally posted on Films for Action, A Learning Library for Changing the World

 

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19 Responses to We Need a Revolution: It Starts with Falling in Love with the Earth

  1. “(…)There’s a revolution that needs to happen(…)”
    The revolution is already happening. It is time to join wholefully. Become more one with yourself and find your brothers and sisters and show them the beauty of becoming mindful.
    By eating, loving and being with them.
    There is hope and there are many people already finding this.
    It is so beautiful, to not be alone.
    Thank you

  2. I love this. The only way we are going to stop the destruction of our beautiful earth is to recognize our profound interconnection with all of life. Thankfully, there is a growing change of consciousness that is present in our world. With this change comes hope for a more sustainable future.

  3. This is all completely true. I would add however, that in order to save the natural environment, we must also love urban places as deeply, work to heal them also. With a growing population, we are becoming an increasingly urban species. Bees build hives, ants build colonies, humans build villages, towns, cities. As the teacher Michael Stone has told us, we need a “Deeper Materialism” of relationship to the material world, not a spirituality of mere transcendence. This deeper materialism must include human artifacts. Cities are the cup into which we pour our deep cultural desires; we have done a terrible job of creating lovable cities, and there are time-honored ways of doing so, in harmony with natural systems. We must not continue a false dichotomy of Human versus Nature; our creations are a part of natural systems. We must love urbanism, at all its levels of intensity, as well as the natural world.

  4. Thank you for sharing this beautiful article.
    Falling in love with the earth is like falling in love with ourselves. Feeling save and supported in a healthy community, is key to be able to feel safe enough to come out of hiding and to start healing. Movement Medicine is one of such communities were we cherish our diversity, were we recognize our responsibilities our own empowerment; where we remember who we are, step by step, so we can heal together the falling out of love with ourselves and therefore with pachamama loving earth.
    And step by step we rebuild this deeper connection to the unbroken inside us.
    Each of us needs support, ask for help, awaken the warrior inside us, the wise elder who already loves who we are and while we may become, the dancing sacred fool, who is able to see things from a different perspective – who has the power to recreate.
    Recreating a new story, a story that guides us through the waters of the unknown with the intention to realize that we are all connected, that all life, is sacred.
    Supported and strengthened together so that we can dream together, Co create and recreate for all our relations. May it be so

  5. We need to fall “back” in love with the earth. Something that our Ancestors knew & still know. Sacred Mother Earth will always be here. She will heal with or without our help. If we don’t smarten up & drastically change our way of doing & thinking, life on this planet, as we know it, will cease to exist. Forgive me, but sometimes I think She just might be better off. It seems that by the time we humans reach “critical mass” thinking & doing it just might be too late. Tell me there’s hope, PLEASE!!!!!

  6. This is a beautiful article and so true. We need to take much more care of the earth and treat her more respectfully. Each of us has this responsibility. We need to start now before it is too late.

  7. I am very much in LOVE with Mother Earth and Honor Her and give thanks, everyday, and understand that we are ALL ONE! What no one talks about or may not know about, is what is happening in the SKIES!! The highly poisonous and toxic, white streaks caused by U.S. Military planes, then forming poisonous clouds, causing white haze and blocking the sun. The AIR WE BREATHE is no longer pure, the sky is no longer BLUE, vegetation is dying, as are birds, trees, animals and our Planet Earth is in danger of dying too. This has been going on for decades, but much worse recently. LOOK UP AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES, ALMOST ON A DAILY BASIS……..especially here on the Coast. Islands are no longer visible, just a white haze!! PLEASE LOOK UP: GEOENGINEEINGWATCH.ORG AND YOU’LL BE FLABBERGASTED!!

  8. What I fear is seeing more and more of the beauties of our beloved planet disappearing under the exponential growth of human habitations. How can one regain a sense of wonder and humility when the wonders are rapidly disappearing?

  9. What about the animals?.. humans harm, torture and kill about 200 billion animals every year! And eat their tortured flesh! Humans are 7,3 billions.. The planet is drowning in blood and gore! No! not one word about these spiritual beings, our companions on this planet… These words are full of, in twisted way, The Human Ego… We Worship our selves… we are only legends in our small twisted minds… God Bless The Animals! It´s time we stop looking at our selves through our eyes and practice seeing us through the eyes of the animals! ..and of course Nature! Then we can start truly seeing what kind of beings we are! …No we are not nice beings to say the least…

    • “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” -Native American proverb. “What we choose to eat is killing us and our planet.” -Comfortably Unaware by Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” -Mahatma Gandhi.

  10. Communication is love.
    Communicate this to others.
    Send it, print it, give it away.
    Manifest the idea. Agree with someone to show earth your collective love.
    Then do all this…..again…..and some more.
    Namaste

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