Heaven on Earth?
If you've looked through this website, you know that the theme here is the creation of what I'm calling "Heaven on Earth." First of all, what does that mean? For me, this term refers to the enactment of three ideals: Peace, Sustainability, and Balance. Let's look at them one by one:
Peace. This is not simply the absence of war, but a condition characterized by respect, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and unconditional love, as well as the absence of judgment. Peace arises from the commitment to act in ways that maximize benefit to others while minimizing harm.
Sustainability. To live sustainably means to take into account our connection with others, including the possible impact of our actions on people, plants, animals, ecosystems, and the Earth itself. The Iriquois people live by the following principle: "In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation...even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine." The point is: It's not easy to be sustainable. But we owe it to those with whom we share the planet now and to those who will embrace sustainability. We begin taking on this challenge by treating everything that comes into our lives as a gift--not as a commodity. Each of us knows that the proper response to a gift is two simple words: "Thank you." Sustainability arises from an attitude of gratitude, as well as a commitment to eliminate wastefulness from our lives. This means reducing our material needs and making the most of the gifts and resources at our disposal.
Balance. Health and happiness are two sides of the same coin, stemming from balance--an evenness of mind that cannot be disturbed even by the greatest of stressors. Buddhism offers the idea of the "Middle Way," which is the point of balance between extremes such as attachment and aversion. When the pursuit of one thing--food, money, sex, power--becomes the focal point of our lives, that is when we lose our sense of balance. At its core, balance involves freedom from expectations. When we expect something other than what we're getting, we set ourselves for emotions such as anger, depression, resentment, and jealousy. An alternative response to the events of our lives is to approach them with serenity, making the commitment to remain centered and to keep our hearts open to the world, regardless of what happens.
As you can probably tell, my view is that these ideals begin with us. We can create Heaven and Earth right here and now, by establishing Peace, Sustainability, and Balance within ourselves. Will this make a difference? Can one person’s thoughts, experiences, and actions have any effect at a time when the world seems like it’s spinning out of control? You tell me. Do you know of examples of individuals whose kindness and compassion rubbed off on those around them? If so, please share them. My contact information can be found on the right side of this page.
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