Thursday, March 29, 2012

Environmentalism and the Spiritual Path

Environmentalism and the spiritual path offer striking evidence of how our egos work. Our concern for the environment may cause us to give lip service to environmental causes. We may roundly condemn polluters and the greedy corporations that put profits before the health of the planet. Seldom does this condemnation incorporate our own part in the damage being done. We rationalize our own behavior while chastising others. All of us are polluters at one time or another. Differences of degree don't necessarily mean differences of definition.
For many the spiritual path is about seeking the ideal external situation in order to foster internal transformation. The innate fallacy of this is usually not even glimpsed by the participants as they board planes for "spiritual retreats" and "yogic seminars".  Our carbon footprint gets bigger and bigger as our aspirations demand more and more evidence that "enlightenment" is coming to us. We must go where the "energy" is. We must experience God somewhere other than where we are at this very moment. For if we experience God always, the trips to find God are revealed for what they really are; the work of that very thing we are trying to overcome. And in the way of circular reasoning we can always tell ourselves that our "path" is leading to this realization so it must be alright.
But the spiritual path is also about self-acceptance. When we accept ourselves as flawed individuals we move closer to understanding that the seeming flaws in the Universe also have a place in the Grand Illusion. We can extend compassion to ourselves and from there to others.
When we look at the destruction of our world we are seeing ourselves. When environmentalism is a platform to judge others it serves no one. Yes, we must seek justice.  And that may entail confrontation. But Love and not Fear needs to be the driving force.
As history has proven disasters befall all civilizations. Catastrophic environmental change is obviously in the cards for us. Environmentalism may be able to mitigate some of the coming catastrophe. But a strong sense of our souls is what we will need to endure it.

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