I have just returned from a most amazing journey into the Medicine Buddha's Garden. The journey was guided by Floracopeia, an essential oil company based in Nevada City, CA. The company itself is an ever expanding mandala of beauty, integrity, compassion and vision. For me, Floracopeia is an operating model for navigating this paradigm shift we are going through which I call "the Greenaissance" (see previous blogs for more on this).
The focus of this time in the Medicine Buddha's Garden was cultivating interconnectedness through the integration of medicine, ecology and spirituality. This was based on a beautiful book written by David Crow, Floracopeia's founder. It is about healing ourselves, our ecosytems, and our spirits through renewing our relationship with the world of Nature - the Green World. Truly our belief in our detachment and separation from Nature over these last few centuries has created most of the problems and disasters we are now experiencing. While we have learned many amazing things and created wonderful technologies over these centuries we can see that the root of many of our environmental problems, our economic problems, our social problems, our health problems can all be found in an unbalanced and disconnected relationship with Nature. No one is saying to throw the baby out with the bathwater only that it is time to reevaluate and set a new course for a healthier future.
When you really think about it there is no separation between us and anything or anyone else on the planet. We all, and this includes all humans, plants, and animals, breathe the same air, drink the same water, are fed, housed, clothed and sustained by the same soil so when we damage and poison these living systems we damage and poison ourselves, each one of us. When we use up these resources without replacing them, when we don't maintain and care for the magnificent abundance of the Earth we all lose and there is nothing left to sustain any of us no matter how rich or powerful. And there is no future for our children or the animals, plants, oceans, atmosphere.
If we really look at the current situation in ourselves, our families, our communities, our countries and around the world we can clearly see that our ideas about exploitation and domination of Nature have not worked out so well. We can see that the "Green Revolution" based on the model of agribusiness has not fed the world and the modern diet perpetuated by advertising and monolithic multinational corporations is creating populations who are starving to death through overconsumption.
It is time to say enough is enough. This way of life may have been a good dream but as it is playing out it is not a good reality. Even the extremely wealthy, who find some benefit from this way of life, are suffering. They, like all of us, need to breathe clean air, drink clean water and to eat food that has nutritional value. They are also susceptible to the same air and water born illnesses brought about by environmental degradation, overcrowding and poverty. Like King Midas discovered in the end if all you touch is gold it is impossible to eat, drink or touch another in love.
So what can we do? The answers are really very simple and basic. We can begin by reconnecting with Nature. Plant a garden, have plants in your house, walk in the woods, go to farmer's markets. I have heard that if organic agriculture replaced commercial agriculture we could reverse the effects of global warming (see below for references). We could certainly begin to reverse a lot of the health problems that affect so many in our populations. There are many, many studies out there that show that diabetes, heart disease, obesity, ADD, and our over dependence on pharmaceuticals all could be greatly helped by eating fresh, whole, organic foods. And, as many studies show that the benefits of organic farming on the ecosystem are equally profound.
Many critics say that organic gardening and farming cannot provide enough food. How do we know that? Have we ever tried it? What we do know clearly is that agribusiness is not providing enough food, the food it provides does not nourish, and it is killing the water, soil and air. We also know that the heinous and overcrowded conditions of the industrial meat industry is causing new and unprecedented epidemics among the animals and across species to humans. So why would we want to continue with these?
As the economies fluctuate, as the wars escalate, as poverty, starvation and disease spread, let us stop looking to our governments to save us. Let us begin to save ourselves by planting gardens and trees, by educating ourselves, by accumulating less money and things that do not fulfill us, and instead start spending our time cultivating food, herbal medicines, family, friends, and meaningful relationships. Let us join together in our communities to support each other in caretaking and sustaining ourselves and our environment locally. We are one giant community of Earth beings who all depend on each other. None of us is separate or different in this respect. None of us can be without air or water or plants. If we all work to take care of Nature, she will support us abundantly.
As we give so shall we receive. What do we have to lose?
Organic farming and global warming references (http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/ob_31, www.rodaleinstitute.org/files/Rodale_Research_Paper-07_30_08.pdf).