09 Oct 2006 |
Posted by Lama Surya Das | 0 Comment.
People often ask me how to get started on the spiritual path. It would be easy just advise them to learn to meditate, do yoga, pray, and/or read wise words. But in public I often hear myself saying to those who seem almost like rank beginners simply to try connecting with nature. Take a walk outside every day. Nature is the original goddess and first form of spirit common to humankind. Thoreau said that he grew rusty if he didn’t walk outside for hours every day! Whenever I see bodies of water, I feel as if I’m meditating. Nature is what we are already part and parcel of, inseparable from, one with.
Think globally and act locally, beginning with each other and ourselves. Why not make practical steps like picking up litter and recycling, striving to find a more balanced and healthy personal lifestyle, and clean up our own act– while talking about world hunger, pollution, and Aids in Africa? Love is not found outside, but through loving. Wisdom is as wisdom does. To save one soul is to save the whole world, as the sages say. Let’s love our way all the way to enlightenment together. Let’s practice relational mindfulness as well as introspective awareness, inquiry, and attentive presence of mind. Every step of the way is the great Way. Don_t be distracted.
I was very moved this summer by our “former next president” Al Gore’s excellent film “An Inconvenient Truth,” still in theaters today. If you care about our world and our future, as i believe we must, see this film abut global warming and environmental degradation. We may very well be an endangered species, much to our collective surprise. Besides the virtue of its environmental message and its significant scientific facts, the presentation reminded me that the modern media is the most powerful form of education and influence we have today. I will be paying more attention to how and why it is being used, by whom, and for what purposes.
Gotama Buddha himself was one of the world’s first ecologists. A social reformer, the first leader in history to educate women en masse and to break with the caste system; he urged each of his close followers to protect the waters from being fouled and to plant at least one tree each year to help replenish the earth for resources used. And this was twenty five hundred years ago, not just recently in the peoples republic of Cambridge or Northern California.
How would it be if we could see each and every one of us, human and otherwise, as like gods and goddesses walking on the altar of this earth. With such pure perception, such a sacred outlook– who then could or would we harm, manipulate, exploit? What a world it would be.