Imprinting Joy on the Earth


We have inflicted a great deal of damage on the earth. The planet’s biosphere is the only one we know of that supports reflexively self-aware life forms. There may well be more, but for the moment this is it. Clearly we inter-are with the earth; we are made of the same elements. When we harm the planet, when we poison our environment, they harm and poison us in turn, along with every other species with which we share the biosphere.

This calls for mindfulness of consumption and of disposal. We send energy and support to our Mother Earth who sustains us each time we mindfully recycle, reuse and repurpose the material things we use. When we walk gently, in awareness of the contact between the soles of our feet and the earth, we can imagine ourselves imprinting happiness and healing upon it with each step. The act of walking mindfully — to walk in full awareness of the fact that you’re walking — confers a sense of being tethered to the earth as if by an invisible cord. It’s a powerful way to meditate.

In Epicurean philosophy, the goals the practitioner seek are ataraxia (the tranquil, unperturbable mind) and aponia (freedom from anxiety and pain). This they do by distinguishing between necessary and unnecessary desires, adjusting their habits of craving, and taking positive energy from life’s natural pleasures in moderation. Like the Buddhist practitioner, the followers of this ancient ethical philosophy work to broaden the breadth of their awareness and widen their circles of compassion to encompass all conscious creatures; indeed, all sentient beings.

The earth wants to heal us, to reach us with the truths of nondiscrimination, impermanence and compassion; in order to receive these wise messages, we have to turn down the noise in our minds. A regular mindfulness meditation practice is on of the most effective tools at our disposal to achieve and sustain a receptive, tranquil and unfettered mind. Let’s walk gently on the earth, imprinting joy, happiness and peace with every step we take.

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