Beans and Gaia
After three yoga-blogs, here's something different.
To many, the very name Gaia conjures up images of bean eating freaks with dread-locks, which is a shame because James Lovelock’s proposition that the world is one unit (with us included), is taken seriously by both scientists and hard-nosed environmentalists. We who make up society and act out the games our leaders convince us to play, should too.
The word may originate in ancient Greek but the concept is worldwide. American Indian tribes, The Vedas (the oldest religious texts) and shamans everywhere have lauded the Earth as a goddess which supports and nurtures us. But the Old Testament gave a different slant - things were created for humanity to exploit, slipping our mindsets from respect to entitlement.
For nigh on three centuries our business and political leaders have worshipped economic growth and so countless things are produced for profit, creating the mountains of discarded produce which fill our landfill sites worldwide. Which float across our seas. Which break down into dangerous particles. We, hooked on the notion that increased economic activity is good for us, encourage them not to fail.
The ancients saw such short-term behaviour as destructive. In The Vedas Hindu sages stated that life is a cycle and today they claim that we are in the Age of Kali (not Aquarius), a time when materialism is so dense it destroys our souls. I think of ’soul’ as a mindset making up our ethical outlook. Today we feel entitled to have lavish life-styles which our beloved grandparents could only dream about.
You may laugh at the Gaia concept of a living, breathing Earth, but scientists now realise everything is minutely interconnected and that altering one thing eventually alters everything. In a forest, for example, plants relate to one another through chemical signals sent along the expansive filaments of subteranian fungi.
What can we do to shift this vast mindset which has gripped us all? Simple.
Start with another word - collaboration. A partnership between you and those around you and which respects the needs of nature. Cooperation will seep like a soothing gas into the atmosphere and effect those around us, including the birds on our bird-feeders and the fungi beneath our feet. Should we continue with strong positivity, we are capable of shifting the destructive economy of profit towards the ideal of stable, sustainable, locally-interactive harmony.
The mantra is familiar - Buy Local: Buy Ecologically; Buy Small; Buy Sustainably. Cooperate. (Hmm, I must explore this simple yet ultimately complex notion in another blog).
Our leaders will say this is Pie-n-the-Sky thinking, but without dreams we won’t be able to move out of the materialistic nightmare our forebears unwittingly (and with good intentions) dreamt up and gradually made manifest.
Be brave, start with collaborative thinking - TODAY. Profoundly realising we all make up Gaia, let’s shift things from disaster to regeneration! Hurry though, for time is short. And the bean-eaters have a point, but we’ll come to that next time.