We tend to think…

“We tend to think of human beings as falling into two groups: those who are similar to us and those who are different. We allow political boundaries to obscure our interconnectedness. What we often refer to patriotism is actually a barrier the prevents us from seeing that we’re all children of the same mother. Every country calls its nation a motherland or a fatherland. Every country tries to show how it loves its mother. But in doing so, each country is contributing to the destruction of our larger mother, our collective mother, the Earth. In focusing our human-made boundaries, we forget that we are co-responsible for the whole planet. …

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Nikon D750   f/4.5   1/200    85mm    100 ISO

“Every one of us, regardless of nationality or religious faith, can experience a feeling of admiration and love when we see the beauty of the Earth and the beauty of the cosmos. This feeling of love and admiration has the power to unite the citizens of the Earth and remove all separation and discrimination. Caring about the the environment is not an obligation, but a matter of personal and collective happiness and survival. We will survive and thrive together with our Mother Earth, or we will not survive at all.”

~Thích Nhát Hanh (Love Letter to the Earth)

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a gift from Earth

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Nikon D750   f/7.1   1/800   85mm   100 ISO

…Just as we are made of non-human elements and the flower is full of non-flower elements, the Earth is made of non-Earth elements. Like us, the Earth contains air, fire, and water, as well as the sun and particles from distant stars in faraway galaxies. In fact, we can se that the Earth is made exclusively of non-Earth elements. The whole cosmos has come together to produce the wonder that is this planet…

~Thich Nhát Hanh (Love Letter to the Earth)

Intermolecular Forces

 The practice of the presence of God as being

comparable to that of consciousness

finally makes possible “full awareness” applied

to every thought, word, and deed.

~ Unknown 

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Earth Day

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Nikon D750   f/8  1/50s  300 mm  100 ISO  

We Are Not Separate From the Earth

We think that the earth is the earth and we are something outside of the earth. But in fact we are inside of the earth. Imagine that the earth is the tree and we are a leaf. The earth is not the environment, something outside of us that we need to care for. The earth is us. Just as your parents, ancestors, and teachers are inside you, the earth is in you. Taking care of the earth, we take care of ourselves.

When we see that the earth is not just the environment, that the earth is in us, at that moment you can have real communion with the earth. But if we see the earth as only the environment, with ourselves in the center, then we only want to do something for the earth in order for us to survive. But it is not enough to take care of the earth. That is a dualistic way of seeing.

We have to practice looking at our planet not just as matter, but as a living and sentient being. The universe, the sun, and the stars have contributed many elements to the earth, and when we look into the earth we see that it’s a very beautiful flower containing the presence of the whole universe. When we look into our own bodily formation, we are made of the same elements as the planet. It has made us. The earth and the universe are inside of us.

~Thich Nhat Hanh (https://earthholder.org/walking-with-earth/)

beginning anew

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Although we think the past is gone and the future is not yet here, if we look deeply we see that reality is more than that. The past exists in the guise of the present because the present is made from the past. In this teaching, if we establish ourselves firmly in the present and touch the present moment deeply, we also touch the past and have the power to repair it. That is a wonderful teaching and practice. We don’t have to bear our wound forever. We are all unmindful at times; we have made mistakes in the past. It does not mean that we have to always carry that guilt without transforming it. Touch the present deeply and you touch the past. Take care of the present and you can repair the past. The practice of beginning anew is a practice of the mind. Once you realize what mistake you made in the past, you are determined never to do it again. Then the wound is healed. It is a wonderful practice.

~Thich Nhat Hanh & Melvin McLeod (The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh)

mindful energy

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Nikon D750      f/1.8   1/10   35mm   100 ISO   (neutral density lens)

Every moment that we’re alive in this body, in this human manifestation, we’re emitting energy. This energy can be transformed but it can’t die; it remains in the world forever. … A thought is an action because it already has energy and it has the power to affect things. When we produce a thought of compassion, understanding, and love, that thought has the power to heal our body, our mind, and the world. If we produce a thought of hatred, anger, or despair, that thought has an affect not only on ourselves but on the world; it can destroy us and lead to the obstruction of many other lives.

Suppose a nation produces a collective thought of anger and fear and decides to go to war. The whole country is then producing fear and anger. That collective fear and anger can cause much real destruction and suffering. … The thoughts and feelings we send out to into the world have a powerful effect. Every thought we produce, everything we do and say, is an action. These actions continue forever. They can transform, but like the cloud, they will not disappear. We have to recognize the power of our [actions] and make a firm determination to be mindful of our thoughts, speech, and actions in order to heal ourselves and the Earth.

Thich Nhát Hanh, Love Letter to the Earth

with each breath…

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Spring Creek         Nikon D750   f/2   1/40s   35mm   100 ISO

The foundation of all mindfulness practice is awareness of the breath. There is no mindfulness without awareness of our in-breath and out-breath. Mindful breathing unites the body and mind and helps us to become aware of what is going on inside us and around us. In our daily life, we often forget that mind and body are connected. Our bodies are here but our minds are not. Sometimes we lose ourselves in a book, a film, the internet or an electronic game, and we’re carried off, far away from our body and the reality of where we are. Then, when we lift our head out of the book or look up from the screen, we may be confronted with feelings of anxiety, guilt, fear, or irritation. We rarely go back to our inner peace, to our inner island of calm and clarity, to be in touch with Mother Earth.

We can get so caught up in our plans, fears, agitations, and dreams that we aren’t living in our bodies anymore and we’re not in touch with our real mother, the Earth, either. We can’t see the miraculous beauty and magnificence that our planet offers to us. We are living more and more in the world of our minds and becoming increasingly alienated from the physical world. Returning to our breathing brings body and mind back together and reminds us of the miracle of the present moment. Our planet is rich here, powerful, generous, and supportive at every moment. Once we recognize these qualities in the Earth, we can take refuge in her in our difficult moments, making it easier for us to embrace our fear and suffering and to transform it.

Awareness of the in-breath and out-breath first of all calms us down. By paying attention to your breathing, without judgment, you bring peace back to your body, and release the pain and tension. …

When our minds and bodies have calmed down, we begin to see more clearly. When we see more clearly, we feel more connected to ourselves and to the Earth and we have more understanding. When there is clarity and understanding, love can bloom because true love is based on understanding.

…Each breath contains nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor as well as other trace elements, so each breath that we inhale contains the Earth. With each breath, we’re reminded that we are part of this beautiful life-giving planet.

~Thich Nhát Hahn, (Love Letter to the Earth)