The role of mindfulness in dealing with climate change
Can mindfulness save the world? No. Oh...okay..... What then? Technology? New laws and policies? A new economy, a new system? A new ideology? Or maybe we should start with the question of whether there is anything to save at all?
It can no longer be denied: The state of 'our' planet is extremely worrying. Large-scale droughts, floods and forest fires are now worldwide phenomena and are mercilessly linked to our addiction to CO2. Every year the IPCC, the United Nations climate panel, comes out with a report to tell us that it's all going to happen even faster than the most pessimistic predictions. And oh yes, scientists simultaneously sound the alarm that biodiversity is declining at a rate we have never seen before. Cause: Overpopulation and overconsumption. If we really let this realization sink in; what is this doing to us?
How did we get here?
Both crises threaten the survival of mankind. Scientists are now unanimous: The influence of humans on both crises is no longer 'very likely' but 'indisputable'. In other words, we are digging our own grave. Nature, however, does not need to be saved. It survives just fine, perhaps even better, without us. But we humans, we do not survive without our natural environment, from which we emerge, which feeds us, which makes us breathe, which makes us live. Only, in the ridiculously short time we've been walking around on this earth, we've already forgotten that dependency relationship. And so the climate crisis is above all a spiritual crisis, or if that word scares you, a relational crisis; we have lost our connection with the big picture and our natural environment.
Mindfulness as a starting point for positive action
And that immediately highlights the role mindfulness can play in dealing with this crisis in order to respond to it constructively. The world is on fire, by our own doing, and now we are going to make up for it by learning to sit still on a cushion? Although mindfulness is much more than that, but let's start there. Not looking away from what is going on, but gathering the courage to face it. To feel what this is doing to us; fear, powerlessness, guilt, shame, sadness? To dare to see that the suffering of the planet is our own. Through silence and real listening, deep observation, feel that interconnectedness again. Mindfulness thus becomes a key quality to move from individual stress relief to a collective perspective. If you experience the suffering of others and our planet from that mutual connection and collective perspective, then you cannot help but want to reduce that suffering out of compassion. And this leads to the next crucial step; that you want to get off your cushion to start doing something about it! Because once you see, then action must follow, otherwise what is the point of seeing?
Fact: You cannot save the world
Why is that starting point of your action so important? Because if you do it out of fear or anger, you are not going to keep it up, and the quality of your own life is not going to get better either. You will irrevocably get stuck on the realization that you alone cannot save the world. And that everything you do seems pointless if you mirror it to the immense problems we face. Result; you freeze and are left stressed and bitter.
It literally makes a world of difference if your actions do not occur out of self-interest, or focused on achieving a certain end result. But if you do it from compassion with all that lives, because you are part of it and therefore connected to it. Because you answer to your responsibility in seeing your place in the delicate ecosystem, simply because it is the right thing to do, regardless of the outcome. And answering that call feels good. And thus that action becomes a source of happiness for your own life and an inspiration for those around you.
Positive by Nature
Mindfulness practice Positive by Nature wants nothing more than to support people to facilitate this mentality change. The name Positive by Nature carries a stratification: It refers to the English saying to express that you are a naturally positive person. And that's a great gift you can offer the world, because only from a positive mindset can positive actions emerge. But even more, the name refers to the healing power of nature, which not only nourishes us functionally, but also gives us so much beauty, makes us feel that connection, calms us down, and makes us see life from the positive side again.
So take the time to enjoy nature. To allow yourself to be nourished by it, literally and figuratively, so that we as humanity can face the enormous challenges that we face. We are living in a momentous time when we must make the transition to a sustainable society in a single generation. We cannot afford to look away or think that you as an individual can do nothing. Trust that you too have a role to play, that your contribution matters. Soft front, strong back, wild heart is a familiar saying. Let's make that compassionate heart and there’s the summary how mindfulness can help you and the world, ‘as there is no difference between healing ourselves and healing the world’ a wise man once said..
(all trainings and workshops also available in English upon request)
Mon, 08 November