Published on June 22nd, 2008 | by Zachary Shahan6
Environmental Degradation and the Self: The Link between the Two
It starts with our unnatural inclination to want more than we need.
And where does this want come from?
It comes from the idea of self.
It comes from the feeling of self.
It comes from the experience that we are an individual, separate from everything else.
It comes from the belief and the understanding and the experience that we are not One with everything and everyone in this Creation.
So, naturally, with this as our root, we want more: we want to load this self with all the food, acquisitions, honor, experiences, and influence that we can.
And where does it lead us?
We travel the world telling people they should live green lives. How much of the time does this result in a positive for the environment?
We load ourselves up with experience after experience, each of which are supposed to help us to live lighter, live greener. Do attending and participating in these events help us to live lighter compared to the resources used to get to these experiences and participate in them?
We gain honor for our efforts to do good, but how much does that make us feel “alright, I am doing good enough, I am helping to save the world” when we have yet to crack the ice and dive down into the ocean of righteousnous.
We acquire more green goods than a city in an undeveloped world has in basic necessities and we feel that we are “green” because of all these toys and positive labels on extraneous goods, goods which are actually often robbing the earth of its materials and polluting all that we live on. These are often goods that did not need to be bought but with the money of which we could have planted forests and given back to the earth we are taking so generously from.
We eat more food in half our lifetime than we need in two lifetimes, perhaps.
The ‘self’ starts it all.
We do not realize we are the earth, we are the living beings laboring to make all the foods and products we consume and hoard in ourselves, for ourselves. We do not realize we are all tied together, physically on the physical level, mentally on the mental level, and spiritually on the spiritual level, and all that we give we will receive, and all that we take we will have to give, and everything we hoard we will have to pay the price for — not just the price in dollars but the price in every ounce of labor, of thought, and of life that went into the making of that product, the creation of that good.
If we are to give ourselves for the greater benefit of all, we are to find that is more fruitful than gaining anything for ourselves.
But we have to be clear what it means to ‘give ourselves for the greater benefit of all.’ We have to be clear that gaining anything, for ourselves, without further directing that to the greater benefit of all, is a losing battle in which we win ten shillings and then lose it all to vainglory, self, pride, and unnatural wants for our own self, believing again that we can gain from taking.
The self is a cover of duality,
but underneath it all is a oneness,
and within it all, even, is the same oneness.
So, underneath and above and within are all the same thing. And we lose by thinking we can win for ourselves, that we are not just trading one arm for another, one life for another, and one pain for another, and, in the instance of freedom, we win when we realize we are loving all and that is the way to receive the all-embracing, all-loving Love we are searching for, forever and forever more.
The wave says to the ocean, “I am separate,” until it crashes down hard on its face and says, “I am You.”
Love, if you would like the world to love you back.
Give, if you would like the world to give to you what you need.
Let go of your own self, if you would like to be at peace and one with the whole world.
It is the self, imposing itself more than it needs, that starves the Self of all that it needs. Its need is the whole creation itself, down to the smallest particle of love, life, or energy, whatever you may prefer to call it. And it receives that, by giving its all.
And the physical receives by giving not by taking.
And the mental receives by giving not by taking.
And life itself receives by giving not by taking.
For more on this subject, read The Book of Mirdad by Mikhail Naimy, read The Gift: Poems by Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky, take a look at Listening to Nature by Joseph Cornell, or search your own heart and mind, search for your own essence in life.