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

Making Changes and Being in the Now – for New Year

Happy This Year, everyone. And because it’s the beginning of the year, the topic in of everyone’s mouth is again the “new year evolution”.

Now, whether it’s that, or you simply want to make any change, or doing what you do better, or simply just being. The following should be relevant.

There is a big difference…

…from not knowing to knowing.
…from knowing to doing.
…from doing it once to doing it often.
…from doing it often to doing it all the time.

Furthermore, the degree to which you are completely “here” with the doing, or in other words, the degree of your sincereness in the moment will determine how well the result maybe.

Originally posted 2010-01-01 00:28:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Risk Hedging, Planning, and Stress

One important question we modern people would ask is, “Why is everyone so damn stressed out?”

Modern life is full of ironies. The irony here is how we always plan as attempt to feel more secure and thus make things less stressful. Yet, we get the exact opposite result.

Planning is fine but becomes bad when excessive.

We drown ourselves in all possible scenarios, which are mental images of futures that exist only in our mind. So they are more or less illusions. Then we completely forget that plans are just plans, and thus should change upon changes in us and the environment. While we forge that, we fail to adapt when things turn sour. And then we make even bigger mess when we control and manipulate, scratch and claw to try to force what has become into a future that exists in our mind — as if we are clinging for our dear life.

Attachment to plan. Attachment to accomplishment. Attachment to the thoughts we have of what future should be. Attachment to accomplishment. Attachment to fulfill our ego’s desires.

As humans, we now often fail to change and adapt, like water. We like rigidness. When we are both rigid and fluid.

There is even the field called Risk Analysis, and so every business and individual strive to take the risk out of things. Again, too much is bad. Imagine a life where risk is taken out. Imagine you know everything that is going to happen. What happen to life?

Like the game of tic-tac-toe, because I know it can only end in win or draw. I see no point to play it, unless my goal is to intentionally lose.

Like the game of chess, when we know one of us is going to mate in a few moves, we end the game to start over. There is no point to continue.

What happens to life when there is too much planning? What happens to life when risk is completely removed? I believe, the answer is clear.

Originally posted 2009-10-26 00:30:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Bad Timing Versus Priorities

Bad timing.
They want the right timing to take action.
They wait and wait and wait.
Meanwhile, they stand still and do nothing.
Maybe they talk about it.
Maybe they think about it.
But otherwise, they do nothing.
Seconds go by, minutes go by, hours, days, weeks, months go by…
They wait and wait and get more and more complacent.
All the while, still telling themselves it’s not the right time yet.
Years passed by and they seem to have forgotten what exactly was that they wanted to do.
Then maybe one day, they realize suddenly as if struck by lightning…
“Oh, I haven’t accomplish anything…”
Or maybe they wont’ realize…
Too comfortable to notice, too comfortable to care.
Or maybe they are too comfortable to make changes anymore…
They continue to wait for the right timing.
There is always tomorrow.
There is always more time.

Aren’t we all familiar with the scenario above looking at the people around us?
Sadly, that’s the majority of the population.
Maybe you are one of them.

I’m 24 now.
Maybe it’s safe for me to say that?
Maybe I can just sit back and relax and do nothing for awhile?

I chose the difference.

I encountered the death of a near-age friend earlier this year. One day I was still chatting with him and then couple days later he’s gone. No sign. No prologue. He just left. I was speechless when I got the news. There is no words to describe.

I took that to the heart. It is not that I am afraid of death. It is actually about facing death. Chinese people avoid talking about death, and I hate it. Death lets me find and identify the things are meaningful to me, the things that I genuinely want to do. Those things are a part of my character. Without them, I am not the person I am. They are my priorities. If I don’t act in accord to my set of priorities each moment, I may not live to the next day to do them. It is precisely facing death that lets us to be not of it because we will start to do the things that define us in the best of our ability everyday. Things like caring for my family, being kind and compassionate to people, always trying to learn, becoming financially stable and independent, playing piano, trainingly myself mentally and physically, doing what I can for the world (You can laugh at me but I’m serious and sincere about it)… I have no regret if I am to die. It is doing with the end in mind. I also believe this helps to put us at ease and let us find that inner peace.

I do still relax and have fun. Sometimes I get tired and slack off, but I remain conscious and mindful of my priorities. Your priorities are your character, and there is no bad timing to act in your character. I am not suggesting to act rashly and bully ahead because there are moments, quite often actually, that require patience depending on situation. It is about consistently making the choice to move forward and contribute to those priorities, despite hectic schedule, despite fatigue, despite difficulty, despite bad timing. It is about making choice proactively to move forward with regards to what you truly want to do and the person you want to be, while staring death straight in the eyes.

So I urge you…
If you are still waiting for the right time…
Stop talking.
Stop thinking.
Stop reading.
Stop finding excuses.
Do something already.

Originally posted 2007-11-30 22:39:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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