Climate change is rapidly becoming a big problem of our time. It creates and exposes vast inequalities, and it also threatens the delicate physical conditions needed for life to flourish. For peace and harmony to thrive on Earth, we must address the impact we’re having on the only home we’ve ever known.
But how? Climate change is a big problem, so how can we, the little people, really make a difference? It’s important to pressure politicians and corporations to make changes, but ultimately we are the ones who create our own reality, putting us in the driver’s seat for creating meaningful and long-lasting change.
Mindfulness brings inner peace, and from this position, we can tackle the problem of restoring balance, harmony and peace to the World.
Not convinced? Here are four ways inner peace contributes to sustainability:
1. Living with Compassion
Through mindfulness and meditation, we begin to see interconnectivity, interdependence and impermanence as the true Nature of things. And this perspective fosters compassion.
It starts with compassion for other living things and their suffering. All living things are in a conflict with the physical and metaphysical, and this causes great distress. Mindfulness and meditation allows us to see this, forcing us to approach problems from a position of compassion and not accusation.
But mindfulness also asks us to be aware of consequences. Recognizing the interconnectivity and interdependence of all things reminds us how each and every one of our actions has a consequence, positive or negative.
To achieve environmental sustainability, we need to express more compassion towards the delicacy, difficulty and fragility of life. And we also need to be mindful of our actions to make sure we are positively impacting the environment.
Furthermore, living life with compassion is a powerful way to achieve inner peace. It better equips us to deal with our emotions, and it helps us improve our relationship with ourselves and others. Using mindfulness and meditation to develop compassion helps us achieve peace with ourselves, but it also puts us in a position to live in better harmony with Nature and to tackle the environmental problems we face.
2. Patience as a Key
Patience is key to inner peace, and it’s also critical for tackling climate change and repairing any environmental damage we’ve done. Through meditation and mindfulness, we begin to relinquish control of the reality in which we live. There are some things simply out of our hands.
Achieving inner peace requires us to accept this fate. The frustration that comes from wanting something that cannot be is a great source of suffering. We must recognize our desires for what they are, and accept our powerlessness in whether or not that desire is met. But we must also have faith that awareness and mindfulness will steer us in the right direction.
Making changes in our own lives to promote harmony with Nature will not reverse the effects of climate change overnight. But this does not discount our efforts. Patience helps to ease our worries and concerns, and it reminds us that our actions do have an impact, helping us persevere on the long road ahead towards peace and harmony on Earth.
3. Accepting Impermanence
Everything is impermanent. Empty. Attachment leads to suffering. This is evident in our societies today. We have so many things, yet happiness still eludes us. Because once we get something, we are immediately dissatisfied and want something else.
Learning to detach from things breaks this cycle. It stops the chasing and pursuing and makes us more mindful and aware of what we have. This allows us to live with more gratitude, and to better experience the love, compassion, harmony and joy that is often right in front of us.
Accepting impermanence and being more mindful of where you are and what you have will bring peace, but it’s also a key change we need to make on our quest towards sustainability.
Our attachment to material things holds us back. It produces an economic paradox: we must grow infinitely in a finite world, which puts tremendous stress on the environment. And our perennial dissatisfaction and desire for more creates incredible waste that threatens life all over the planet.
Embracing impermanence brings peace within, and it gives us a chance at building more sustainable societies.
4. Choosing Positivity
Our thoughts have the power to create the reality in which we live. If we live with fear, anger, guilt or hate, these emotions will manifest themselves in our reality forever. Our collective focus helps determine the future.
This is why Mother Theresa said she’d never attend an “Anti-War” protest but would always go to a “Pro-Peace” rally. This small distinction has powerful implications. Being against something is still dedicating mental energy to that thing, which perpetuates its existence.
To some extent, we cannot control our thoughts; they arise from our experiences and environments. But we can control which one’s we engage with, especially when we practice meditation and mindfulness. When we learn to detach ourselves from our thoughts, we become better at choosing to act with love, compassion, harmony and joy.
Over time, by dedicating our mental energy to positive thoughts and emotions, the reality we create will reflect this positivity. And when lots of us around the world do this, we can shift our collective consciousness to help radiate and attract positivity, peace and harmony.
Think global, act local. Find your inner peace
This saying is popular among sustainability advocates, but it’s also relevant to mindfulness. Peace with yourself is the first step to Peace on Earth. It positions your actions as something truly connected to everything else, helping you live more in harmony with the true Nature of all things.