We live in a world where each individual feels himself to be separate from everyone and everything else on the planet and the universe. We are trapped inside a dense shell of egoism that convinces us every moment that we are alone. This perspective allows for all the horrible destruction around us including the burning of forests, weapons of mass destruction, suicide bombers, mountains of garbage, and melting icecaps.
When we shop at the grocery store we buy products packaged for convenience so we can save some time. We get in our big cars and drive in traffic across town to a job that pays us what we think we need to survive. In short, we pursue success– to be just a little bit better than our neighbors. If we aren’t better off than our neighbors our egos suffer, and we feel we like failures.
This is not a way to live. Obviously, there is something wrong with this system. But I defy anyone living in this society today to prove they are not a part of it. Even the most ecological among us must prove that he is just a little more ecological than the others. Even the most charitable must prove that he is more charitable than the others because this is how he measures his own success.
Being far from perfect myself, and as guilty as any other egoist, my promise to the precious Earth we all share is to think a little bit less about myself and a little bit more about the whole. Can I let go of my ego and stop caring about success and survival? Not very likely. But what I can do is think of myself within the global context as part of an interconnected system.
Each part of the interconnected system affects every other part. Just like the species of plants and animals living in a forest ecosystem balance each other perfectly, everything and everyone on the planet balances each other. Human begins are not left out of the web of life. In fact, we are at the uttermost top of the chain, and we affect all life below us.
Since we are at the top of the food chain, or hierarchical pyramid of influence, how we behave dictates the health of the entire world. This is a fact that we are just beginning to realize as a species. For thousands of years, we have evolved from hunter gatherers to the technological demigods of today. During this span of evolution, we felt ourselves in a battle with nature for our own survival. This battle is now largely imaginary. The true battle now lies between us and ultimately with ourselves.
How do we win this battle? We must see that each person is part of one’s self, not a separate part. The separateness between us is what causes the destruction and suffering in the world. When we are able to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we will see a brighter cleaner world. The skies will clear, the oceans will purify, and children will play without fear of war. How will this happen? Let us try to love each other, and we will see.