Mother Earth and Nature are Precious

Let me repeat, Mother Earth and Nature are precious. Sometimes we all get so caught up with our busy life and we forget. We forget that humans are part of the animal kingdom. We forget the existence of nature that sustains our livelihood. We have come to act like we are separate and bigger than nature, while the entire time…

We human beings are a part of nature…
As the air we breath.
As the water we drink.
As the ground we walk.
As the sun that shines.

Upon expressing my sentiments, a colleage shared with me a poster on his wall. It is a wonderful piece written by Chief Seattle, as a letter in response to President George Washington’s offer to purchase his tribe’s land. Upon research, I found that it is not the authentic writing. Nonetheless, I love the messages brought to life by the words.

THIS EARTH IS PRECIOUS

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

ALL SACRED

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us.

The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.

The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man–all belong to the same family.

NOT EASY

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.

He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land.

But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.

This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.

If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

KINDNESS

The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.

The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.

He leaves his father’s graves behind, and he does not care.

He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care.

His father’s grave, and his children’s birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads.

His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect’s wings.

But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand.

The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand.

The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinion pine.

PRECIOUS

The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath–the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath.

The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes.

Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.

And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.

ONE CONDITION

So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

I am a savage and I do not understand any other way.

I’ve seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train.

I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.

For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

THE ASHES

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know.

All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it.

Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.

We may be brothers after all.

We shall see.

One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover, our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white.

This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.

The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.
Where is the thicket? Gone.
Where is the eagle? Gone.
The end of living and the beginning of survival.

Whatever we do to nature, it will come back to us. If we don’t live to experience it now, then may our children do so in our place. People can keep talking about going green. People can market about carbon offsets all they want. People can keep urging for lower emission cars. People can keep arguing. People can keep asking for more and better evidence.

In the end, if people truly care for nature and the environment, they will come to understand that we are part of nature and their action will speak such understanding. If their intention is pure, it will be clear in their action. The same for ill intention.

Everything’s connected. What we do to other things on earth will be done upon us eventually. If our doings cause fast extinction to other species, then so shall be our fate. We are part of nature. If we are harming it, we are harming us. We are all one.

Originally posted 2008-01-09 23:26:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Wu Wei – The Way of Non-Striving

Last time I talked about compromise to handle duality in reality. An improved way to contemplate this is Wu Wei.

Directly translated, Wu Wei (無為) means no action. But that completely loses the meaning and it may lead people to think it is some sort of fatalism. Wu Wei is NOT no action or simply not doing anything.

A better English interpretation for Wu Wei would be “the way of non-striving.”

The following questions are why this is very very relevant for our every day life. Ask yourself, are you struggling? Are you trying very very hard to achieve or become something? Do you feel that you deserve that something because you work very hard? And when you don’t get it, you feel sad and suffer?

pushing_the_wall

The following may sound mad and completely contrary to common sense that we are taught. My realization is that when we try so hard, try too hard, often we don’t get what we want. And even if we do get what we want, we soon realize how big of a mess we have on our hands that will require much more effort to clean up than the effort we spent getting what we want.

Hence, I think it is important for us to realize Wu Wei. They always tell us to innovate and think outside the box, right? Well, here we go.

Wu Wei — the Way of Non-Striving. It is action without striving, without trying. It is more like natural action. Action that fits in the flow of situation, is appropriate to the objective reality, and harmonizes/supports/balances the many dualistic relationships we have around us.

Stop trying.

When you try, you don’t do. (you are not 100%)
When you stop trying, you simply do. (now you can be 100%)

Sound simple? It is. Is it easy? Not really. It requires much practice.

Whatever it is that you want to do, we continuously pay attention, learn, understand, practice, and repeat the process. At some point, after enough practice and repetition, you can let it go. Then you simply do.

Primarily, wu wei is recommended to be applied to living life… a life of awareness.

Some examples base on personal experience…

Like a pianist who needs to perform a piece, after much practicing, he knows exactly which keys he needs to hit and how exactly wants to hit it to convey his emotion. When he perform, he simply does it. However, if he has to think about it and tries to hit the key the way he wants, he will miss or play the note different than the original intention. Not only, he probably will lose his flow to finish the whole piece.

Same thing for a vocalist. The mere act of trying to hit a high note will disable his ability to do so because of the muscle tension that is generated from trying.

The same thing for basketball player. The talk about about play being “in a zone” or shooting “in rhythm”. Do you think the player is thinking how he wants to shoot the ball when he shoots the ball? Nope. He simply does it.

We always say we must be free. But the mere thought of that we must be free binds us to a concept which takes away the freedom.

We are always told that we must be happy. But the mere thought that we must be happy makes us try so hard to find happiness that we are not happy.

Our over zealous effort to control all things in life are nothing but self-defeating proposition. This “fighting” mentality is one such common sense that can be let go, if you sincerely want good things to happen.

One cannot ALWAYS be happy.
One cannot be perfect.
There is up and down.
People come and people go.

See things as they are and then simply react. Can you do that? Do you have doubt? Then you will keep striving.

There is nothing you can do about the problem because there is no problem. All the drama in life are all self-created. Yes, it is very real when you have created it. But can you not create it? Can you live without drama? Do you need to be excited, surprised, elevated all the time? Then it will be no end in sight. It will be a moving door.

There is not an end to strive for. That doesn’t mean you do nothing. That means whatever you do, with realization of Wu Wei, you WILL do your best… you are held back by no ideals nor desires. If you must conceptualize, it is doing for the sake of doing, for that moment of greatness. That is being in the flow. That is “playing in a zone”.

Without striving, you stop trying too hard.
You act when it is the time to act.
You don’t act when it is the time to not act.

How do you practice? For most of us… Slow down. Stop. Allow silence. Be Still. Breathe. Pay attention around you. Repeat. Thousand and thousand times.

Because of this realization, I am very wary to use terms such as “fight for”, “to defeat”, “to beat”… how we claim we need to “fight for peace”, or that “love and compassion can defeat suffering”. But there is nothing to beat. When you are aware, realize how all things are connected, you act without striving — Wu Wei. We will all simply love and be compassionate, and we simply do it because not just that it is good for us, but that things can be so much worse.

Let go of striving and you will also let go of suffering. You don’t try to let go. You simply let go. And by then, we no longer need to fight violence, no longer need to defeat suffering, no longer need to fight… we would “win” without a fight.

Additionally, in the act of fighting, attempting to defeat negativity, we validate the very negativity we want to defeat. We emphasize the negativity, and we make it an important thing in life. Is negativity what you want in your life? If not, then let go. Not saying they are not real. You decide for yourself if your pain, depression, problems are so important that you MUST fight to remove them. When you do that, are you not putting more emphasis on them instead, and with emphasis, are you not keeping them in your life?

The negativity may be very real it may take some time, but slowly, let it go bit by bit. Through practice, you simply let go. You act without striving.

But if you are a courageous soul, perhaps you just let go. That is also possible. In an instant, you would have realize Wu Wei. You ARE free. You no longer need to try to be free.

Practice, is simply living life with awareness. Observing yourself mentally and physically. Observing others around you. Observing events around you. Don’t try to see. Simply pay attention. As you learn to pay attention, the more and more you will come to see. Living in awareness becomes natural. And over time, life seems to be become easy, but keep in mind, making things easy is not the goal, the essense of Wu Wei.

If you can learn and live Wu Wei, I doubt your life will then be “that bad”.

You stop making a mess by trying too hard.
You act or not act without striving.
You simply are you.
You just be.

PS. This is kind of a sequel to The Agenda Mentality – Doing is Always a Mean to an End.

Originally posted 2009-06-09 22:38:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are You Ready to Change?

Phew, the election is finally over. For awhile I felt like the news, rumors, absurdities, bashing, and Tina Fey would never end. We can now be relieved and start seeing and reading other things besides all things presidential and campaign related. By other things, I mean economic crisis news ONLY. Okay, enough sarcastic comments for the day.

Finally the president is decided. Now we can move on. I am glad. The biggest unknown and question now is, “Are the people ready to change?” Our future will result in two completely different ends depending on the answer. I wonder if people really mean it when they say change.

If they mean that they are ready to change and better themselves, this would be a good answer.

If they simply mean that they await for others and the world to change for them, this would be the disastrous answer.

Originally posted 2008-11-05 21:36:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Change That We Don’t Believe In

We believe in change where we force everything outside of ourselves to change for us, maintaining status quo or continuity as much as possible — even if it means beating everything else into submission with force, often in the name of goodness.

We don’t believe in change where we change and grow ourselves in junction with the ever changing world deemed external to us.

If genuine change means first to look into ourselves and then outside for understanding before the action of change, what we truly believe is pretentious change.

Thus we are now seeing the consequences in various aspects of society around the globe that somehow, and in most cases incomprehensible to our logical minds, turn out to be hideous and disastrous — despite all the claim and acclamation of goodness, morals, and positivity.

It is as if we are promised gold, but when we finally come to realization, we have cow poo in our hands. Except, it is none other than ourselves that promise us gold.

Originally posted 2011-01-22 15:07:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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