Thursday, February 18, 2010

Caring for the Environment

Let's simplify the debate over climate change to a very simple reality that for me transcends all others: if we continue to avoid changing our ways, our earth will change them for us.

What do I mean by this? I mean that the repercussions of our stubborn unwillingness to care for our life-sustaining environment will be increasingly severe and it will affect us all whether we like it or not. The earth is shifting on its axis, our environment is showing the potential for profound changes. For me, these changes are the earth seeking to balance itself again, to find a new equilibrium in response to our harmful and unsustainable human actions. Right now, our world and its complex system is increasingly unbalanced and we see it everywhere.

Without an environment that gives us life, we cannot live. We cannot breathe. We cannot enjoy all of things that we so cherish each day in our lives. There are so many things that we take for granted today that could be gone tomorrow. And many of us will say: "why didn't we act sooner?" "This could have been avoided." Why were we so selfish and inactive?" We are already seeing signs that our earth is changing and it has already caused pain and suffering for millions of people.

Yet, these changes do not need to be entirely negative. They give us unbounded opportunity to recreate our world, our systems, and resolve our most basic problems. They bring us closer together as a people and open our hearts to the infinite potential that resides within us.

But we ask, why is it taking us so long to act in constructive ways to renew our ecosystems, respect our seas, protect our forests, clean our air, and support our bio-diversity and wildlife?

Because we are living unconsciously. We are disconnected from ourselves and we are disconnected from our environment. We forget who we are and we forget that without the earth, we are nothing. The beauty of life is not.

I do not believe that they world will end in the coming years. I do not adhere to a belief that doomsday is inevitable or upon us. But I do believe that our world goes through very real cycles and that we are approaching a period of time where particular global transformations will occur, presenting us with some very real choices about our future.

Those that reject climate change or who dismiss that the world is changing, fail to notice what is happening before their eyes. They are resisting acceptance, avoiding responsibility, and failing to rectify their own individual actions in the short-term.

It's okay that we have differences about what is going on in our world today. It's part of our evolution to differ and to struggle to understand the issues that we face or to find solutions to correct them. But this is not an excuse for inaction. While our solutions are variable and often controversial, we cannot deny that we pollute our air and our seas, that we cut down our forests in obscene ways, and that we contaminate much of our earth by simply not believing that what we do has an impact on it. There is an overall attitude today that is disregarding and disrespectful of the life of future generations, of our children's children, and of the planet that so lovingly gives us life.

Again, you may reject that anything is happening and therefore any need to act. For you, these may be normal changes in a world whose history has been full of cyclical transformations. But that is not the point. The point is: it's clear that we do not care for our environment today, that we do not fully recognize that it is in our collective interest to support our systems, our earth, and help to balance things again.

And finally, on a deeper level, I know that we share a very basic understanding that life is important to us. I know that we would choose to preserve life and honor our environment in the face of very real changes. Now is that time. We have an opportunity to "be" something different than we have been before in response to our changing environment. To be more conscious and aware of the damage we are doing. To change our ways for the betterment of our collective society and the life we hold so dear.

We have the power to build a more sustainable environment. We have the resources. We have the intelligence. We have the technology. Moreover, I believe that we have the willingness, its just hidden right now. Before our earth causes us to change, let's be the difference and act ourselves. As we are destroying our environment, we can also recreate it too. We have that power. So let's get started. Stop the bickering. Take responsibility for your actions and seek to improve your environment and your community's environment. And then, pass on your new respect for the earth to those that are close to you. Inspire others as well as your leaders to wake up with you from our unconscious slumber. We must act in the present moment through an unconditional love and sincere respect for that which gives us life.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Building Strong Relationships

Most of us have significant others in our lives who we care deeply about. Human relationships are an opportunity for mutual growth.

We each come to a relationship with different goals, objectives, personalities and tendencies, visions of the world, as well as different conceptions of what love is. We have been taught different things by our parents and relatives and we have observed different ideas throughout society about what it means to be in a relationship. Problems often arise when we seek answers to our relationships that come solely from what other people tell us. People tell us how it is supposed to be and as a consequence, we sometimes lose ourselves in the process. Each individual is unique, therefore, each individual must seek his or her own truth. Take and cherish the advice of others, but pay attention to what you are feeling too. It is there where we find the answers to our most important questions.

I observe that lots of people believe relationships are strong only when the last for years. The sign of a good relationship is having been together for 40 years. I admire those who have done so. That means, for me, that they have been willing to grow together, to love one another through the hard times, and to make the adjustments necessary to build a happy and loving relationship. This requires a great deal of courage, acceptance, surrender, and an unconditional willingness to adapt, to communicate and to respect the other.

Relationships that last a short time are not to be shunned either. Each person, whether they are aware of it or not, is in a process of development and individual growth. Every failed relationship (while no relationship can truly fail) is part of an ongoing process of knowing who we are and what we choose for ourselves. As our significant others go through the same process, we can often meet somewhere in the middle and build a strong relationship if we truly care.

I have been in a relationship for more than 6 years now. No doubt, I have learned and remembered a lot about who I am. It has not been easy for me because the mind has a tendency to complicate things. In many ways, the mind tries to control situations, to impose values or ideas on another, to push the other to fit into some unattainable image of what he or she should or should not be. We focus so much energy on surface level things, that we forget everything else.

Thus, it is extremely helpful to recognize the constructions of the mind in your relationships. Don't look to what you are thinking about the other, but what you are feeling instead. If you are happy with that person, if you love them, if you enjoy spending time with them, if there is physical attraction and intimacy, and if you are able to share things in life with them; then why think any further? What more could you ask for at this present moment? Inevitably, things may change, but change is good and we must live in the now.

If on the other hand, it is hard for you to give an affirmative 'yes' to the basic ideas just mentioned, then may be you should look deeper. Look for ways to improve these aspects in your relationship. Don't resist, communicate. You will know what is best for you.

The key is to honor your feelings, not your thoughts. To be true to yourself before you try to be true to another. It starts with you. At the end of the day, it is about what we are being. We have to know ourselves before we can truly know others.