The World We Have is a startling and potent book.
With no holds barred, Thich Nhat Hanh and Alan Weisman paint a precise and disturbing picture of the perils we face as a species. They are not afraid to tell the truth: complete destruction of the planet is a likely outcome if we continue blindly on our current course.
Despite the dark possibilities, reading this book – I’m halfway through – leaves me in a state of sublime joy.
Why? Thich Nhat Hanh illuminates the secret to complete transformation of the environmental crisis. He tells us that the choice lies squarely in our hands.
With his bright and gentle spirit, Thich Nhat Hanh kindly shows us how to transcend the fear, anger, and despair that wells up within with each new environmental disaster. He encourages us to embrace our interconnectedness and deeply accept impermanence as the basis for finding inner peace and planetary harmony.
Most remarkably, Thich Nhat Hanh gives us the magic key – the one that has the power to turn the environmental crisis on its head.
The secret is this – the simple yet effective practice of mindfulness.
Don’t let the word “Buddhist” in the title fool you. The ideas and principles presented in The World We Have are universal and apply to all of us.
Sunday Reflection: Waking Up to Our Impact
For this week’s reflection, I’ve chosen the following quotes from the World We Have, A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology. These quotations remind us up to look deeply at our own actions and impact they have on the planet.
“The bells of mindfulness are calling out to us, trying to wake up up, reminding us to look deeply at our impact on the planet.”
“The bells of mindfulness are sounding. All over the Earth, we are experiencing floods, droughts, and massive wildfires. Sea ice is melting in the Arctic and hurricanes and heat waves are killing thousands. The forests are fast disappearing, the deserts are growing, species are becoming extinct every day, and yet we continue to consume, ignoring the ringing bells.”
“All of us know that our beautiful green planet is in danger. Our way of walking on the Earth has a great influence on animals and plants. Yet we act as if our daily lives have nothing to do with the condition of the world. We are like sleepwalkers, not knowing what we are doing or where we are heading. Whether we can wake up or not depends on whether we can walk mindfully on our Mother Earth. The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps. We have to hear the bells of mindfulness that are sounding all across our planet. We have to start learning how to live in a way that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren.”
Thich Nhat Hanh has coined the term “mindful consumption.” When we consume mindfully, he says,
“…we recognize exactly what to consume and what not to consume in order to keep our bodies, our minds, and the Earth healthy and not cause suffering for ourselves and for others. Mindful consumption is the way to heal ourselves and to heal the world. As a spiritual family and as the human family, we can all help avert global warming by following this practice.”
This is an enlightening and encouraging book that covers a great deal of territory beyond mindful consumption alone. I recommend it highly and wish everyone would read it.
What are your thoughts about applying mindfulness to consumption? Would you like to share a tip with us on your own efforts toward mindful consumption?
Stay Tuned: My review of Be Love Now, The Path of the Heart by Ram Dass will be up on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
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