“The radiant, elegant cosmos that we can observe is actually our own consciousness and not something separate from us on the outside.” (Thich Nhat Hanh).
We are always connected. From this perspective, everything on earth is a generous gift—be it the nourishing raindrops, the warming rays of the sun at just the right distance from the earth; the changing seasons, the natural rhythm of day and night, the evening to rest. Nature offers so much presence in the different colors, sounds and scents, the power of the germinating plant, the oxygen-producing green leaves of a tree, the mushrooms in the ground, the bees, the ants and so much more.
Our human body is also a gift, in which all elements of the beginning of life are found – iron, silicon, carbon. Everything outside of us and everything inside of us comes from the earth. And a long time ago, our planet Earth and all life came from star dust. The first multicellular organisms developed about 600 million years ago. This innovation happened when a bacterium decided not to eat a smaller bacterium, but instead invited the smaller bacteria to live within it – a very intelligent decision. In nature we find qualities such as non-judgmental awareness, stability and immense creativity. And so our coexistence as people can be of strength and joy that we can actively shape as a gift and as a response-ability—giving and receiving in equilibrium.
What does it take to become more aware that we are embedded in the great web of life? In our often hurried everyday life we rarely remember or perceive it with all our senses. Worries and fears in a pandemic make us even more vulnerable to ongoing change and overwhelming complexity in our lives. Understandably, we then lose the wide view into the universe and the natural human closeness to the smallest in nature—nature outside as well as inside. The notion that humans and the environment are separate is causing global fear and competition. Life requires a careful look: the Earth is more than “our environment”; we are not separate from her. We are not separate from each other, as MSC wisely helps us understand under its pillar of “common humanity.”
The happiness of human life is inextricably linked to the well-being of the Earth. The way we think and act is closely related to the state of this planet on which we are currently guests. A deep questioning and striving to “help the Earth,” which many of us are currently feeling very intensely with a certain grief, can only be sustainable if we learn to take wise care of our body and mind. If we perceive our body as a miracle, we can also perceive the Earth as a miracle; this will help heal our relationship to her, each other, and to ourselves. When we come home to ourselves and take good care of ourselves, we not only can heal our body and mind, we also grow in our awareness of the preciousness of life and can act accordingly together, because this is a task that can not be shouldered alone.
If you are interested in a deeper exploration of these ideas, join us for one or all of these experiential events:
Full 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Intensive program July 11-16, 2021 at Mon Viso, an Alpine Italian village that combines the ancient with the innovative.
You may choose to continue the journey by further immersing yourself in a variety of other forms to explore the relation of inner and outer nature “on the ground” in a new course format: “Mindful Innovation—Becoming Change Agents for Sustainability,” (July 19-23, 2021) followed by a 4-Day “Mindful Hike around Monte Viso” from July 25-28, 2021.