Thursday, 4 February 2010

my planet too

I’ve finally come to terms with something that plagued me for the whole of January: blaming so many of my friends for taking long-distance flights. It was for the usual reasons: spiritual gatherings, second homes, conferences, filming, swimming with dolphins (really)... I have sympathy with people who fly to visit family: Love Miles, they’re called. But non-essential flying at this time, especially by people in the know, is questionable. You might say it’s none of my business, but it is: it’s my planet too, you see.

Part of the problem is that the very people who’ve been flying are the light bringers, friends who are on a psycho-spiritual path or profession. While many of my practical friends are being mindful about flying, these light bringers seem to feel some kind of absolution. I’m hearing some bizarre reasons: that nature is so ‘old paradigm’, that the spiritual work they are doing somehow offsets the damage of the flight. The reasons boil down to ‘God will sort it out.’ So I wonder, is the New Age betraying nature, by transcending rather than transitioning?

I’ve been Theodore Rozak’s fascinating Ecopsychology, in which author Ralph Metzner writes that the the big problem of modern man is that the human-nature bond has been so broken – through the religious beliefs that we have to overcome our ‘lower’ animal instincts and conquer our body to become spiritual and attain ‘heaven’ or enlightenment. ‘For most in the West, their highest values, their noblest ideals, their images of themselves as spiritual beings striving to be good and come closer to God, have been deeply associated with a sense of having to overcome and separate from nature.’

But, he writes, ‘We are part of nature, we are in the earth, not on it. We are like the cells of the body of the vast living organism that is planet Earth. An organism cannot continue to function healthily if one of its cells decides to dominate and cannibalise the other energy systems of the body.’

The fact is that we 20% richest westerners are consuming 80% of the world’s finite resources, and thereby creating 80% of the pollution. So, it’s clear that we need to consume less, especially flying, which increases our personal carbon footprint so massively. Yet much of the New Age/psychospiritual, ‘Ask and it shall be Given’ thinking reinforces this sense of abundance in a closed system. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and while I totally agree with the main idea, which is to align ourselves with what makes our heart sing in order to manifest abundance, flow and health, I feel we need to combine that with practical action. Not from fear or scarcity, but because we’re mature and wise enough to see that not just our thought and feeling but also our behaviour is totally linked to the whole. Trust in God and tie up your camel, as the Sufi saying goes.

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