The week before Summer Solstice, I took a walk on my property doing what I like to do this time of year. Seeing what native grasses and wild flowers have decided to take up residence; seeing what pesky plants were being greedy for territory. Since I live by the side of a main road in the state of New Mexico, another thing that always shows up during my little walks is what we humans call “trash.” Plastic cups, paper, aluminum soda and beer cans. That kind of thing.
Usually, when I see the trash scattered around, I feel really annoyed. Like – why do people have to throw things out their windows while they are driving? With a simple gust of wind, all these little pieces of junk tumble across my property, unsightly, with no final resting place.
But during this walk, feeling the frustration as a battered piece of paper blew past me, Mother Nature gave me a different insight. The problem with trash isn’t that somebody threw it away. The problem is that Mother Nature can’t find another use for it.
The earth is a living organic being with its own cycles. Part of those cycles include the forces of wind and water taking organic material from one part of the land to another. This is how, unbidden, scarlet globemallow and baby white aster can suddenly show up in patches on my land where they never existed before. Mother Earth doesn’t create waste. When something transforms into seeds or dies and decays, it becomes the basis for new life. The earth evolved as a complex system of organic elements which constantly reorganize themselves. That reorganization is continual, powerful and inevitable.
When the wind brings paper or plastic cups on the land, it’s the exact same forces that bring seeds or dried leaves. It’s the cycle of life. The difficulty is that humans create things that are used only once, for one purpose. We see the here and the now, the immediate. But we don’t envision the entire life-cycle of the thing. When the purpose for the thing is finished, the forces of nature eventually take over. They act as they have always acted. But because of our own incomplete vision, Mother Nature can’t find any additional uses for what we release back to Her care.
Though we come from Mother Earth, and are completely dependent upon Her for everything, our intelligence is not aligned with Her intelligence. We ignore the power of Her creative forces and end up creating things that can’t be integrated back into the cycle of life.
Such a small lesson from the wind and the land. But this tiny dynamic on my property is happening in a big way in Los Alamos right now. Or in Japan a few months back.
When the tsunami struck Japan in March of 2011, I remember watching footage of what the water did to the land. What frightened me the most – even more than the nuclear reactor, frankly, was the sheer amount of “trash” getting hauled into the ocean. How many chemicals, plastics, and metals got dumped into the currents of the oceans that day? And what consequences would that have for the life of the sea? We think that we have the power to create safety zones where the toxicity we concoct can be contained to a small area. We believe we can control these human-made poisons so they don’t affect anything we don’t want them to affect. But this is the illusion of the human ego, of pride. Earthly forces will always be more powerful than us. Nature eventually destroys everything – including our own bodies. The matter and energy released from the forces of destruction are later reorganized into something new. This is the operating system of the planet. It has been going on for billions of years. Long before humans arrived. We don’t have the power to change that.
Tsunamis have always and will always exist. Yet, human beings have forgotten to have an integrated intelligence with the earth. So today – rather than a tsunami having the effect of renewing and reorganizing the ecology, it spreads poison and danger.
The same with the fires in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Tens of thousands of barrels of radioactive waste sit on the land near the Los Alamos labs. In the great arcing cycle of nature, one way or another, that waste is going to be released into the environment. It might happen in the next week. It might happen in the next 20 years. Or perhaps it will happen 200,000 years from now. But the forces of Mother Nature will continue. She reaches everywhere. Creation, destruction, re-creation. It’s foolish to believe that humans can protect that poison from the natural cycles of the earth forever.
I’m not advocating going back to the stone ages. For thousands of years, most of what humans created was integrated with the natural cycle because we didn’t have access to any technology what would give us any other options. There’s a purpose to the scientific awakening of the human race that has been going on for the last few centuries. Our ability to know how to split the atom and send satellites to the far-reaches of the solar system is, I believe, part of the Cosmic design. But the step we haven’t taken is to think differently.
Before this technological awakening, we didn’t need to visualize the life cycle of something because our creativity and the creativity of Mother Earth were more organically connected. Now we have to consciously wake up to what we are doing. For the future, it is essential that we develop another way to think about things. To think about what humans create and produce. To extend the thinking from “what can I make for this SPECIFIC purpose” to “how can we use our technology to create things that serve a purpose, and then die and are reborn in another form after that purpose is done.”
Before we develop something, we need to see its entire life-cycle as working in tandem with the life-cycle of the planet.
Some people may think that is impossible. But I believe the human intelligence is capable of asking and answering these questions. We can stretch that far. We can abandon the idea that technology requires this level of waste. We can create a new approach to develop processes, products and systems that work with, rather than against, the forces of the earth.
Human evolution is a remarkable result of the complex life-cycles of Mother Nature. Now is the time to remember that we are part of the intelligence of the planet. If we push ourselves to think in new ways, we can create a society that is technology advanced and ecologically balanced all at the same time.
Yours in Divine Light.
Ek Ong Kaar Kaur