Stepping out on the environmental stage is one part of the Global Warming dance. It cannot be fully effective until the internal choreography is in place, which is why I address global issues of environmental pollution and degradation through the discipline of meditation. That is my initial responsibility and rests on key spiritual qualities of responsiveness grounded in responsibility. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince was explicit about this:
Now there were some terrible seeds on the planet that was the home of the little prince; and these were the seeds of the baobab. The soil of that planet was infested with them. A baobab is something you will never, never be able to get rid of if you attend to it too late, it spreads over the entire planet. It bores clear through it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and the baobabs are too many they split it into pieces... “It is a question of discipline,” the little prince said to me later on. "When you've finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rose-bushes, which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth. It is very tedious work," the little prince added "but very easy!"
We flush the internal toilet of our mind by pulling up regularly all the “baobabs” and garbage of our inner ecology through meditation and self-healing; then attending to the toilet of the planet will be very easy. Although the excerpt from the Little Prince is not a good translation – it does serve well. The phrase “faire sa toilette” means to wash up and get ready for the new day and includes the whole process of morning hygiene to getting dressed. It is a polite phrase that readily lends itself to taking care of the planet. To neglect care for the planet by sitting on the fence, and resisting the radical and costly change to a carbon neutral economy, ensures that the “baobobs” from our mind and habit energies will create an uninhabitable planet for our species. If there were an ancient biologist on Mars studying a million years of earth history, she would note a parasitic infestation of Planet Earth that was not very intelligent. An intelligent parasite would ensure the good health of the host that supports it. And so the Martian biologist would factor in an elimination date for our species in her star-date log.
But there is such a thing as higher intelligence - a level of knowing that emerges from diligent meditation and the practice of awareness. Our goal in meditation is to heal and transform not only our selves, but also our place on the planet. Meditation is a progressive movement towards wholeness and integration, and requires that we look deeply into the environment we are located in, and the environment we create with our thoughts, attitudes and values. In the process of meditation we liberate ourselves from internal blockages created by maladaptive patterns of inner ecology, and are then able to enter a state of clarity and compassion. Thus we transform by personally experiencing different cognitive and perceptual levels that enable us to transcend internal “baobabs”. This inward step to refine consciousness enables us to create adaptive solutions for Global Warming from a foundation of wisdom and confidence in our clarity. What we do now has consequences for our future. The consequences of not acting now are much more costly than the massive investment in an alternative economy and way of life. The Future is Now! We prepare for the future through present mindfulness and astute awareness about the consequences of our actions. This ripples through to future generations and to Mother Earth, enabling a sustainable earth culture to emerge. Just flush the internal toilet of your mind. “It is a matter of discipline………very tedious, but quite easy.”
Ian Prattis is the author of The Essential Spiral: Ecology and Consciousness After 9/11 published in 2002 by University Press of America.