This Monday, Andy will facilitate. He shares:
As many here know I am a keen cyclist and love nothing more than getting out on my bike and heading for the proverbial hills. My last ride was with a close friend who I go out with frequently. As we get onto the quieter roads it's always a good chance to talk and check in with each other. As part of this conversation he confided that he had been feeling very anxious lately and that the climate change issue was really starting to cause him distress. He is a PhD scientist and said he genuinely felt like the frog in the fable being slowly boiled alive. It was clear that he had been thinking about this deeply which resulted in very real suffering. He did not want to ‘tune it out’ but equally felt powerless to do anything about it.
This last week I took some vacation time and had a chance to visit the darkest spot on the entire East Coast. Literally miles from anywhere and no light coming from anything but the moon and stars. It was a very clear night and once my eyes adjusted I saw the entire Milky Way spread out above me. The sense of scale was incredible and it really drove home just how remarkable and unique this planet is we are all sitting upon.
A 2013 book by Thich Nhat Hahn entitled ‘Love Letter to The Earth’ includes many profound writings on the connection between Man and Earth. It’s actually surprisingly optimistic in explaining that change is possible and that the growing understanding of interconnectedness between man and planet can lead to change. In particular, Thay draws the line between suffering, the lack of meaning in modern lives and the growth of consumerism. As an antidote we are encouraged to meditate using his practices for Falling in Love with the Earth. These include mindful breathing, sitting, eating, drinking, and walking. He goes on to explain that “Each time we practice mindfulness we’re able to generate more love and compassion for the Earth as well as ourselves, which leads to more understanding and insight.
Throughout his teachings Thay frames this interconnectedness using the concept of ‘interbeing’. In fact the word interbeing was first coined by NASA astronauts who recognized the connectedness of all of humanity and life on Earth when they saw the planet for the first time from space.
I look forward to sharing how you understand the concepts of interconnectedness and interbeing? Also how you are able to deepen your personal connection with the Earth and if this is something that we as a community can work on in our Sangha and in our daily lives.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s statement on Climate Change for the United Nations: