kindness, Mental Health, Spirituality

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

I’m about halfway through listening to the audiobook of “Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet” based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. The words are like a lifeline tossed to a broken world. For anyone who is feeling half insane with grief, despair and helplessness over the war, covid and climate change, I cannot recommend this book enough.

For so many the go-to emotion these days is anger. So much anger. Our world is changing rapidly and we are all scared. Anger is always born out of fear. Some people accept the science and want to figure out how to move forward in a way that preserves a good life for the generations to come.

Others want to stuff the inconvenient facts back into the bottle, shake it up hard and spray it in the face of those who disagree. Not because they are horrible, awful, people but because just they want things to go back to “normal”. Who doesn’t? But things haven’t been so-called “normal” for a long, long, time.

If we could press a button and wake up in a world that was healthy, safe and sane, we would all be madly punching the same button. But it isn’t that simple. Things are changing, and human’s are wired to resist anything that threatens our day to day peace and prosperity. It’s hard to see the big picture and agree on a plan when we are all focussed on our individual life and making it work for our own material gains.

The great irony is that most of us are miserable, even as we cling to the old ways of doing things and bitterly claim them to be the right path. Chances are huge that a happier, healthier, better life is within our collective grasp, if we could just stop shaking our fists long enough to see it

It doesn’t help that our world is increasingly run by a handful of corporations that only want us to click on articles for the ad money. To them, our anger is juicy click bait. The cheese in the trap. The yacht in their dock. They don’t care who we are angry with, just so long as we are angry enough to pick a side and become part of the feeding frenzy. While everyone argues their side and mocks the other, these companies sit back and gleefully count the cash our anger shovels at them. They don’t care how much it is dividing us or keeping us blind to the real issues at hand.

If there is a side we can all get on, surely this should be it.

So what can we do?

Well, for starters, stop being a click bait pawn and instead click play to listen to Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet. Then spend some time alone with your own thoughts and see what happens. Chances are an intelligence and deep knowing will surface, if you just stop spinning the dial constantly, and take the time to tune in. Listen to your inner voice instead of all the bots screaming for your attention. Bonus – your inner voice is ad free!

For the first time in a long time I feel a sense of hope and renewed purpose. Heaven knows, we all could use more of that.

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