Someone asked me if the earth will still be habitable when their three year-old grows up. And is that part of the cosmic perfection?
More than ever we are awakening to being an integral part of earth’s ecosystem. As inhabitants of this planet we have some responsibility for the nest we live in and maintaining the nest. The same way we clean up our house, we also have to clean up our environment.
Environmental consciousness seems to be happening too slowly. Some people are motivated to keep it from happening. There are economic costs in that awakening — not in the long run, but in the short run – in ways that cause realignment of economic power. People who have that power have a lot of inertia, they want to hold onto it. A company like General Electric may not be ready for dramatic shifts unless they are forced into it because it may change their stockholder dividend.
And it’s not easy for the rest of us to break old habits and change our lives in the little ways. The big guys aren’t the bad guys, because we’re all part of the web too. But there is an increasing consciousness now about rain forests, about air, about water, and so on.
You can’t know what the outcome will be. You can’t extrapolate from how it is now to what will be. The great unknown factor is human creative awareness and what happens when that is mobilized.
At one moment in human history creative awareness made the atom bomb. Mixed blessing! But we can also see how creative awareness informs how we live day to day. For instance, growing up my generation were vaccinated for smallpox. Prior to that horrible smallpox epidemics ravaged the earth. Even after the vaccine we still saw smallpox in third-world countries. In my lifetime the last case of smallpox in the world was eradicated by vaccination. There is no more smallpox in the world.
People ask me if we’re going to end up with Armageddon or the New Age? Is this the final act of the Kali Yuga when everything disintegrates, or are we entering the Sat Yuga, a golden age of truth and enlightenment? No one is privy to that knowledge.
When I stand back I realize we are all going to die, and all my training in how to die tells me to quiet my mind so I can hear most clearly and open my heart so deeply that the quality of compassion is at its optimum. And be fully present in this moment. That’s the best preparation I can do for the moment of death.
I would train my child to do the same thing. The best way to help the New Age come into existence is to quiet our minds so we can hear clearly how to help, keep our hearts open to express compassion for our situation together on earth, and be fully present in the moment.
– Ram Dass
Photo by Entrer dans le rêve via Flickr. Used under the creative commons license.
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