This morning I saw a USA Today story that plunged me into the personal/communal shadow Andrew Harvey so eloquently elaborates:
Why are these drivers switching back? Because the price of gas is so low. Meaning: We humans really DON’T care about anything beyond our own selfish pocketbooks? True? Here’s one blogger who thinks so:
Between the neocons, archons & morons all the promise of Earth Day has become more of a longing for what was, and what we have lost. Poor old Gaylord Nelson must be weeping in his grave. Meanwhile, as they totally ignore the mega-risks to earth from Mega-business, news people show us how we can save the earth by making earth day hats from empty cereal boxes instead of tossing them in the trash. While California suffers from a devastating drought, residents are threatened with stiff fines for wasting water; 11 huge private golf courses in southern California use all the water they want. What complete rubbish! Once again, we are fed this puerile idea that it is the behavior of individuals like you & me that has caused all these deadly ills to mother earth; and Our job to fix it.
How utterly insulting.
The indigenous original people of north America called Gaia by a different name, they knew her as Turtle Island, and knowing also that all things are connected on the great medicine wheel of life; every day was earth day! They showed her respect, and she gave them abundance. Good trade!
Somehow, since that time we have allowed others to steal our power and use it to wage war upon the sweet dear earth in our name. To our enduring shame we have watched this parade of increasingly horrifying atrocities to the environment without raising so much as a whimper of meaningful protest. We just pretend we don’t see, then pretend nobody else does either, and continue on with our little rat race lives, in servitude to those in the shadows of power. Not too much to celebrate, is there?
What all political and social thinking has finally been forced to face is, of course, the irreversible degradation of the environment by unrestrained industrial capitalism: the enormous fact of which science has been trying for fifty years to convince us, while technology provided us ever greater distractions from it. Every benefit industrialism and capitalism have brought us, every wonderful advance in knowledge and health and communication and comfort, casts the same fatal shadow. All we have, we have taken from the earth; and, taking with ever-increasing speed and greed, we now return little but what is sterile or poisoned.
Nevertheless, I, for one, don’t think it insulting to ask ourselves to do our own part to shift the way humans are selfishly destroying Earth’s biosphere. Nor does Juan Cole:
On the other hand, even if we all completely shifted our ways, downsized and simplified, without concerted community action to overwhelm and dismantle corporate malfeasance, it won’t be enough. We can’t just “do our part” without engaging with others in concerted action for the whole.
Which means, we must go through the shadow, not just the heavy, hidden, personal shadow we carry around with us, but the confusion and animosity that swirl around us when we project our personal shadows onto each other. That’s guaranteed to be a messy business, given that we are all at different levels of our own evolutionary process, and can be counted on to piss each other off for one reason or another.
Together, we need to recognize that the entire Earth is a commons, and together, we need to begin to end our pretended ownership of various portions of Her. Native Americans and other indigenous tribes know that this partitioning, this separation, is at the root of our ignorance of our communion with Mother Earth.
One way to begin: start imagining in terms of bioregions rather than “states” and “nation states.” Allow and follow the contours of Mother Earth as she makes and remakes them over time.
Another way? Start with what should, obviously, be in the public domain: water, air, whatever’s under the Earth, all of space above the Earth, and what’s left of the wild upon Her.
On Earth day, let’s talk about making the commons the organizing principle of social, economic and cultural life.
In other words, we must work together to organize our entire society differently. Can we do it? Do we have time, given the acceleration of both climate change and resource depletion via industrial capitalism, and let’s face it, that same short-sighted human selfishness and greed? Some think not. And the grief is palpable. Prince Ea, for example, put out this video that has gone viral on facebook:
Other perspectives are just plain cynical. However the following cartoon does “have a point” (so to speak). As long as we think of “Earth” as a compilation of digital data points we will be dealing with a simulation of Her; and, we will see Her as a machine. She is not, I repeat, NOT a machine. Despite the efforts of the transhumanists who would “bio-engineer” everything mysteriously alive into a controllable robot.
Me? Yesterday I lay in bed in the early morning, as usual longing to dive underneath that monkey brain of mine that I noticed was already ramping up to overdrive via its plans for the day. On impulse, I decided to go into meditation via yet another new breathing exercise. I’ve been inventing new breathing techniques regularly for some years now — most somewhat complicated, but this one, aaaah! Why didn’t I think of it before? It is simply this:
Relax my mind into my body, my body into the bed, feel the bed into the floor, the floor into the earth. Feel my body as one with the Earth. For she is! My body is my portion of Earth. Earth and my body are one.
Now, breathe. That’s it. Breathe, in and out, the Earth breathing through my body. Yes. Feel the Earth breathing through my body. Breathing up from below out into the world around and up into the cosmos, exhaling back down into the ground. Pause. Again, feel the inhale, the swelling up from the Earth through my body out into the world and up into the cosmos. Pause. Exhale back down through my body into the Earth.
On and on. Like that.
I cannot tell you how instantly and how throughly I relaxed doing this exercise. My goodness, for those precious moments while I lay there, breathing the Earth through my body, I did feel myself at one with the Earth, truly “at ease with whatever is arising.”
Happy Earth Day, to Earth!