It has been an incredibly eventful January. What a start to the new year and new decade. Every week, alarming local and worldwide news is spread online – the new coronavirus outbreak, the sudden Taal eruption, threats of wars between countries, stocks falling down, sudden deaths of close friends’ family members or international heroes, and a lot more. To be honest, I tried hard to remain equanimous amidst all this and breathed through my tightening emotions, but I have to admit that I was quite heavily affected by all this.
On the last Monday of January, I trudged through the cool evening to get some groceries. I was feeling particularly downtrodden when I serendipitously bumped into my yoga teacher trainer, Anna Carbonell. It was a pleasant surprise as she is based in Australia and only visits Manila a few days a year. We had a meaningful talk as I walked her back to her hotel.
I shared with her my feelings of sadness regarding the current state of the world. She smiled at me and reminded me that these occurrences are natural because the Earth is currently healing itself. Yes, the events are devastating especially when you think of the people who are affected by the ashfall and evacuations, the families that are grieving, the people who are sick. Yet in a much wider perspective, these events are also a call for us to awaken to our intricate interconnectedness with this world and all the beings within it. It is obvious that the rapid developments of technology and science and our current lifestyles have not been kind to the Earth. They have given us a false sense of power when in fact we’re simply stealing our strength from the resources of our generous planet faster than it can replenish itself. More than that, we require more each year – more money, more cars, more technology, more gas, and more selfishness. All of that has led to our current situation – a toxic and imbalanced planet that’s seemingly punishing us for all our wrong-doings. At least that is what I started to ponder in the midst of all these rapid changes.
But my teacher reminded me that this is not a personal attack. All these events are occurring as the Earth is trying to heal itself, not to punish us (though one could argue that we deserve it,) but to replenish itself to bring vibrant life and energy back to the planet. In that process, there will be purging of unnecessary baggage and purification from all that is toxic. And it is time. Our Earth has teetered too far in one direction that it’s only natural it leans back to the other. This is just the way life goes. What comes in must go out. Where there is space, it will be occupied. Where there is not, it will be purged. Life moves. All these truths can be known simply by contemplating the breath.
And so the beautiful lesson underneath all these calamities is that they are a wakeup call, empowering us to awaken and make more conscious and sustainable choices in our own small ways. It will also take time for us to adjust and maybe it will take more devastations for more people to awaken. But those of us with open eyes can start now. There’s no more waiting left to be done. Yes, we can feel the sadness, the heaviness. We can empathize with the painful withdrawal the Earth is going through. But that doesn’t mean that we should just succumb to the heaviness and let it sweep us away. Our sadness won’t really save the world but our compassion will. We are all in this together. One by one. Step by step. Day by day. We can plant the seeds that will make the change that matters – whether or not we’re here to witness that change. We may well be extinct when the Earth flourishes once more but at least we were able to co-create that prosperous era in the future.
In the meantime, may we be more serious in our efforts to reduce our waste, recycle (or upcycle as the kids would say now) old things, and reuse what is already here. May we realize that we are one and that one person’s journey towards the light can pave the way for others to follow. May these unsettling occurrences redirect us to love, kindness, and unselfishness. May we re-learn how it is to live as One Humankind.