“People sense that there’s something wrong, but they’re still struggling to go back and find out what the real roots of the problem are, and I think what we need to come to is a realization that it’s not just fixing an economic or political system, but is a basic worldview, a basic understanding of who we are that’s at stake.”–David Loy
I came across this quote by David Loy in Isaac Yuen’s review of the short movie Overview on Isaac’s website, Ekostories.com. I couldn’t agree more. Industrialization has caused us to forget who we are as a species and, if we don’t remember soon, things could get really ugly for us and for all the other life forms with whom we currently share this beautiful, complex, and fragile planet.
I’m not going to write a doom and gloom Earth Day post to remind you how many species we are losing every day or show images of retreating arctic ice or even photos of cute animals. I’m not going to exhort you to plant a tree or check the air in your tires to reduce your gasoline consumption or buy local, organic produce or take your own bags to the grocery store.
All I’m going to do is ask you to take a few moments to remember who you truly are.
You are a spirit that uses a physical body as a tool to experience and interact with this world. This is pretty friggin’ fantastic because it is that body, and all the sense organs that it provides, that enables you to enjoy the fragrance of a blooming lilac tree or the taste of a fresh strawberry dipped in velvety chocolate; the sound of your son’s laugh or the sight of your daughter’s smiling eyes; the feel of cool grass or hot sand under bare feet.
You belong to the human species, which, along with every other species that has existed on this planet, has a set of fairly narrowly defined parameters within which it can thrive. Your body is made up of a mixture of the same chemical and mineral components as all other life on this planet. It regularly exchanges electrons with the environment so your body contains particles that were once a part of your couch, your mother’s favorite lambswool sweater, or your dad’s Ford. You drink the same water the dinosaurs drank and breathe oxygen that was exhaled by a baobab tree in Madagascar or a Siberian Larch or the Tree of Life in the desert of Bahrain.
This body of yours belongs to this planet.
This spirit of yours is a unique expression of the divine, endowed with gifts and a purpose that are yours alone. The other living beings on this planet need you to remember who you are, to recognize your place in the web, and to bring your inherent beauty – your love – forth in the world. The greatest challenge you might face in life is to learn to allow yourself to be fully present in every moment, to participate in the wonder that surrounds you even when your circumstances seem bleak and the world feels like a scary place. You are endowed with a powerful imagination and you can use that imagination to see the world at its enchanted best, to shape your experience, and therefore your reality.
So, on this Earth Day, celebrate by remembering that you are a miracle in the grander miracle of Life. Breathe this knowledge deep into your being so you won’t forget. We are counting on you.
And if you need a little more help visualizing your connection to the Earth, take a moment to watch this gorgeous short film, Overview.