The most dualistic way of regarding ourselves in our biosphere is that we are on nature. This is the language of manifest destiny, of captains of industry, of people who raped the earth and took its resources, polluted it and hurt it, and had no regard for future generations. You know, “Animals were provided to us by God to enjoy” or whatever.
Whoa! That’s a leap! You’re in a biosphere and being on the earth is the most dualistic viewpoint possible and it is the most imbalanced. Take one of those little people outside of the big circle and they’re dead. They’re not just on the earth.
Okay, so what about in nature? We’re coming back a little now from that extreme. In nature is good, going camping, spending time in the forest, remembering you can be in nature. This is a step in the right direction. Feeling like even in the design of a community or a city, we want it to be in nature. That’s better. That is heading in the right direction. There is some greenery, some balance. But it is still not good enough for the mathematical equation of sustainability on this planet.
The next step in is of nature. Of nature is, oh my gosh, and I think some of us have had the privilege of this experience, whether on retreats or going out in nature, camping, or whatever, and you just have a moment of “Oh my gosh, I’m part of this! Oh my gosh, I really am!”
I love this! Last summer I was doing my own retreat through national parks in the United States and I would walk around a corner and all these people would be like “Shhh! Shhh!” I’d look and there was a ram chewing. All these people were motioning and swooning “Oh my…” and taking pictures. And I knew exactly what they were feeling! It was amazing. They saw nature and they were in nature and were starting to feel a part of it. They saw the sacredness of this being, they could feel the being’s beauty and majesty and freedom. This being lives on a mountain!
It is amazing! This is so beautiful! We’re part of this! When people feel that, they feel the sacredness. As Eva Wong would say, “Sacredness is defined as that which is worthy of respect.”
Yes. Looking at your environment and other living beings is worthy of respect. That is the whole issue. Can you see that if that state of mind was continuously regenerative and sustainable, it would be impossible for societies to enact pollution and poisoning and abuse of the environment? That’s amazing isn’t it? It’s not the Paris Climate Accord, which also needs to happen, systemic problems have systemic responses as well, I’m not denying that, I’m just saying this is such interesting work we can do.
Finally, the last stage I see is being as nature. Not just on, in, or of nature, but as nature, meaning that we are fully one with or know we are a part of nature and our behaviors reflect the vision that we can sustain in our heart. We have rebalanced the ecology of the heart and our perceptual system does not add pollution to the biosphere, because our actions are in complete harmony with nature.
That is not easy. But it’s kind of hard to imagine another version.
There are really painful versions where Elon Musk has people driving Teslas around on Mars and then they have to find another planet because they screw it up too. I personally would like to grow up before going into other places and recreating the same thing, but can’t you see it? You go to Mars, you terra-farm it and then certain industries and interests and powers recreate the same thing.
If you’re not totally in harmony, your outputs will set the smallest amount of virus into the system and it will throw the whole thing off. It doesn’t matter how close you are, you have to be completely 100%.
I happen to think this would be the most humane society. The most tolerant, loving, evolved society would be able to sustain an ecology of the heart. It would mean that you’re never trying to dominate other people or control them, you’re not taking a bunch for you and leaving nothing for everyone else. Those things really don’t work when you actually understand you are as nature.
There is no need for it. You already have everything you need.
What questions arise for you as you reflect on this so far?
The next post will lead us into a practice that can help us tune into being in our natural state as nature.
This blog post is part of an ongoing series:
Ecology of the Heart Part 1
Ecology of the Heart Part 2
Ecology of the Heart Part 3
Ecology of the Heart Part 4
Ecology of the Heart Part 5
Ecology of the Heart Part 6
Ecology of the Heart Part 7
Ecology of the Heart Part 8
Ecology of the Heart Part 9
Ecology of the Heart Part 10
Ecology of the Heart Part 11
Ecology of the Heart Part 12