The Buddhist Monk, the Economist, and Global Warming
“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace
Discussions around climate change generally involve lots of data and predictions about just how little time we have left until the floods, droughts, and pollutants leave us with an environment that can no longer sustain human life.
And because the predictions are so dire, many of us feel helpless and fearful, so we cope by pushing our fears deep down inside ourselves, choosing not to think about horrific floods and fires that have already destroyed so much of our planet.
Hiding from our fears, resisting and denying “what is”, hurts all of us.
Beloved Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is blazingly clear: there’s one thing we all have the power to change, which can make all the difference, and that is our mind. Our way of looking, seeing, and thinking determines every choice we make, the everyday actions we take or avoid, how we relate to those we love or oppose, and how we react in a crisis.
How do we react in a crisis — hoard, “get mine first”, blame and berate others, leave it to someone else to solve? Those reactions keep worsening our problems.
The Buddhist monk asks us to practice mindfulness. To stop, to become aware of our surroundings, to appreciate the present moment, even if just for a few deep breaths.
What difference will taking a few deep breaths make? A tremendous difference. Try pausing and just concentrating on 5 or 10 breaths, several times throughout each day. Practice this with an open mind, avoiding cynicism. What do you have to lose?
The economist, Richard D. Wolff asks us to question why the citizens of a supposed democracy (the United States) accept an economic system that clearly doesn’t serve the vast majority of us? “Something is terribly wrong here when we fund our own destruction,” says Wolff.
We allow our politicians to send billions of dollars in military weapons for the destruction of our “enemies”, while at the same time destroying the lives of our “friends” through the lack of funding for housing, education, and…