By David Klein
Adapted from "Thoughts From the Orchard" of Vibrance magazine issue no. 1 by David Klein, Ph.D.
"We are a part of everything that is beneath us, above us, and around us. Our past is our present, our present is our future, and our future is seven generations past and present." ""Haudenosaunee teaching
It seems that all is at a crossroads. Do you, too, sense a barrage of forces nudging you to make lifestyle changes in order to cope with what lies immediately ahead? In almost every aspect of my life I feel the need to reevaluate and further "naturalize" my way of living.
In reflecting upon the mounting global socio-economic-political-ecological-spiritual crisis, I think we need to look at the records of history's most sustainable cultures, and formulate a new worldview, copying their principles. Without a road map based upon natural guiding principles for a sustainable future, we and our children our doomed.
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Lately, I have been drawn to the wisdom teachings of indigenous cultures which hold a world view wherein life on this planet is a gift and a privilege, everything is interconnected, all living creatures are sacred and revered, and sustainable planning is to be conducted for generations to come. Living sustainably in harmony with Nature is, indeed, the answer. Anything short of that is a departure from our natural instincts, a surrender of our human spirit and a path to destruction.
Throughout the ages, the healthiest and most successful people have been those living in harmony with Nature. The history of the Essenes, Hunzakuts, Vilcabambans and various other aboriginal tribes provide us with significant lessons that we can use to our benefit. Consider that before the Europeans descended upon North America 500 years ago, this was a glorious, pristine continent with abundance for all its inhabitants, who coexisted nearly perfectly with the land and its natural gifts. There was no waste, no pollution, no excessive carnage, minimal interference with the balance of Nature and no unnatural human population overgrowth. Of course, we "civilized," technology-obsessed humans have changed all of that and we must now reverse the tide, returning to our innate natural ways, getting ourselves "back to the garden," as Joni Mitchell put it.
The world view of indigenous North American people included a collective responsibility for stewarding the land and taking from it only the essentials for sustenance and shelter. With a spiritual awareness of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life forms on the Earth, they lived by a credo of sustainability for many generations. The Great Law of the Haudenosaunee, for example, states that "in our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."
The theme of the wonderful new book Original Instruction, Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future, edited by Melissa K. Nelson (Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2008), is remembrance of the "original instructions" handed down to and taught by indigenous people of our lands--that is, how to live on Earth "in a good way, in a way that lasts." This way is a sacred journey marked by peace and harmony for seven generations to come. Via a spiritually-aware attitude of gratitude, a respectful kinship with all life is cultivated, facilitating civilizations living in intimate harmony with their local environments, maintaining wholeness and abundance.
The ancient Essenes' lovely doctrine of "Sevenfold Peace" can help us get there. It is about spiritualizing our lives by practicing peace of body, mind, heart, family, community, creative work, ecology and, ultimately, all of physical and spiritual reality. This a good way for all of us to "be" every day.
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Our global crisis can only be attributed to humanity's disconnection from Nature. We've cut ourselves off from our natural biological roots and lost touch with our true selves. Fearfully trapped in unnatural lifestyles, our sense of appreciation, empathy, communal spirit and ability to reason is amiss. Worst of all, we eat toxic pseudo-foods, accept toxemia, defile the environment and remedy disease with chemicals, pardon pollution, forsake compassion, condone killing and ignore Nature's munificent providence. And now our planet and too many of us are sick, suffering and in turmoil, hoping our governments and unnatural technologies will bail us out. Meanwhile, Nature is beckoning.
To keep healthy in mind, body and spirit, each of us must be more vigilant than ever in bringing Nature back into our lives on a daily basis. Wholeness will only be restored when we reconnect with our natural instincts and follow Natural Law, living healthfully and cooperatively as one. That means embracing the spirit of giving: appreciation, help, restoration, sustenance and love, every day, at every turn for the good of all. This also means disconnecting from toxic technologies, sacrificing no animal for food and sanctioning no wars.
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Someone once said: "We must be passionate about a mission greater than ourselves." Our mission is the greatest of all: to come together, think with reason and act with integrity in restoring our world to a condition of sustainable health. Abiding by the principles of permaculture, we can employ the many sensible green solutions presented by many proponents of ecologically-sustainable living.
We can choose to have faith that the current global crisis will force humanity to wake up to our symbiotic kinship with all life on Earth, assume a humble attitude of gratitude for all our gifts, reconnect with our sense of empathy for all life, and take responsibility for stewarding our shared "nest" and restoring the natural order of our world.
Please ask your friends to unite in bringing about the changes we desire today, for creating a healthy and sustainable world.