Mindfulness as Ecological Awareness

aired 2/15/09:

With the yoga intensive weekend, “Stretch Yourself” quickly approaching, I decided to invite Dr. Lloyd Pflueger and Drew Turner on the show to talk about the Art of Living group, meditation and yogic traditions, and its relevance to awareness of our ecological community.

the-ecology-man-sprd-021 Meditation is mindfulness according to Pflueger, where one begins to realize that the distinctions between me and you, me and the environment, and everything are not only connected, but are one and the same.  This is an ecological way of thinking, and an ecological way of living.   Meditation also professes to help one clear his or her mind, reduce stress, and find inner peace.  Our mental state has a profound impact on our surroundings.  If we are unhappy or stressed, these feelings are transmitted, and when we are happy, the same is true.

Pflueger and Andrew Turner, a student who is currently practicing meditation, agreed that meditation encouraged a state of do-no-harm.  My concern is that doing no harm may be harder than it seems.  Every decision we make impacts all processes and actors involved in its creation, destruction, and use.  For example, Dr. Pflueger finds living out of town where there’s less traffic and more trees a more peacefull and pleasant atmosphere.  But in doing so, he also must drive several miles to come to class each day of the week.  What land provided for the materials to create that vehicle? who built it and under what labor conditions? where is the petrolium coming from to fuel the car and how are the people who live on that land affected by that choice? what will happen to the vehicle when it’s trashed? who will be living on top of that landfill?

I don’t claim to be free of harmful life choices, and I don’t disagree that we should all aim for a do no harm philosophy, but meditation alone will not organize people to defend their rights.  It is but one step towards an environment that incorporates human life in a just and sustainable way.

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~ by hannahlh on March 23, 2009.

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