Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Yoga of Sustainability: a simpler, healthier, happier world


Mindfulness is the mental part of a yoga practice. When we exercise mindfulness, we are focused. Our mental perceptions and our physical actions are unified. We are thinking about what we are doing, we are noticing our impact and paying attention to interactions.

This is a powerful state to embody. When we are mindful, we can notice our emotions, but choose to set the negative emotions aside. We stil experience them, but do not allow them to control us. Mindfulness helps us to fully enjoy all actions in life from eating to chores, and especially enjoy peak experiences & even normal daily interactions with loved ones with a new sense of delight & sacredness.

Mindfulness has to be practiced, because it is not, at least in this place & time, our default state. Without mindfulness we live with no understanding of the roots of our feelings and we trash relationships by reacting blindly out of negative feeling states. We also live stuck in habitual cycles that may prevent us from achieving well-being. We may also falsely think that happiness comes from of people and objects. This leads to focus unduly on material possesions, or to blame others for our lack of harmony. Once we apply mindfulness we see that happiness comes from an inner feeling of rightness & well-being, brought on by positive action, love, generosity, freedom from negative attachments & the wellness and harmony of mind, body & spirit.

When we apply mindfulness sociologically, we see the patterns forged in our culture based on seeking happiness without mindfulness. The idea that objects make us fulfilled, that buying or consuming is the way to solve everything has made profiteers rich & the masses sick, tired & indebted. Profiteers further benefit as people, desperate for wholeness and happiness try to buy solutions. What makes this demented capitalist paradigm worse is that not only people are devalued, but also the entire ecosystems- an entire planet of intricately connected lives dependent upon limited, precious resources is reduced to commodities to be manipulated to acquire the most money possible.

It doesn't take too long to draw the parellels between the environmental situation, the epidemics of anxiety, depression & preventable diseases, our focus on meaningless consumption, and our reverance for money in America. Its all part of the same problem and requires the same solution. Mindfulness is at the root.

We can use mindfulness to change ourselves, and one person, one family at a time change our society. We can move away from an object and money focused culture to one focused on life, on living beings, gratitude, interconnection, respect and kindness.

May this book inspire and serve you on a mindful journey through this life. May you rediscover that we all are a part of the whole of nature, our well-being interconnected to the entire Earth ecosystem. May your practice of mindfulness and sustainability bring you countless unforeseen treasures & bring you closer to your loved ones, community, spirituality, and self. May all of us Earthlings live happily, healthfully & free from suffering together on this small, beautiful, delicate planet.



Part one: Protect
1. Water
2. Air
3. Land
4. Biodiversity
5. Shop Wisely

Part two: Conserve
6. Water
7. Paper
8. Fuel/energy
9. Consume Less
10. Resourcefulness
11. Simplify

Part three: Lifestyle
12. Sustainable Food Systems
13. Mindfulness


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