Cleaning Up Your Act – Sept 2019

The recent fires, the ongoing drought, the lack of water availability locally and now the lack of feed for farmers who survived these recent bushfires have forced most of us to relook and rethink the way we use and need the resources of the Earth. In fact some of my students in the Sarabah, Illinbah and Beechmont areas were faced with a very real possibility, during the bushfires, of packing that GO BAG and fleeing to safety. It’s a terrible scenario to contemplate. What do you take with you and what do you leave behind? It forces one to relook all the “stuff” around yourself and wonder if it is really worth it. If you look at all that material stuff and contemplate the cost to your bank balance, the resources of the earth and the fallout (what happens to this stuff when you no longer need it?), it makes one want to simplify and prune back lifestyle choices. Simplifying your life and your possessions for your sake and for the sake of the Earth.

It’s a very yogic dilemma. The more we do yoga, the more we are forced to peel back our layers and confront the real essence of who we are and why we are here. We also come to the realisation that we are connected to everyone and everything, not just your fellow students in the yoga class, but to your communities, societies and to our home, the Earth. And this self-enquiry extends to how we live, our day to day buying and moral choices and what kind of footprint (if any) we wish to leave behind when we exit the planet.

Most ancient cultures and societies put a huge reverence on what we leave for the future generations. Australia’s own Aboriginal peoples have a profound spiritual connection to the land. The health of land and water is central to their culture and future. In Vedic philosophies (yoga) we have the Mahabhutas, the five elements which make up everything in this Universe. They are: space, air, fire, water and earth. These five elements create a web of life that is shown forth in the structure and interconnectedness of the cosmos and the human body. We would not exist without this interconnectedness to everything around us.

The deeper philosophies of Yoga contain teachings and practices to unite people with Universal Consciousness. We use a series of mental and physical practices designed to connect the individual with this divine energy. Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist master and peace and human rights activist states that “The Earth is not just the environment. The Earth is us.” Real change will only happen when we feel as passionate about protecting our Earth as we feel about protecting our loved ones and our communities. Making decisions and choices for the good of the Earth.

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