I Used to Want to Save the World

And then something changed. Something between the realization that everything dies and transforms one way or another, and letting go of a certain kind of self importance- like I have all the answers, that I know better than the great mystery herself.

Of course there are things that I think should be different; I want racial and religious tolerance, equality in the workplace, an end to the violent plundering of the earth’s precious and finite resources, far better care taken of her waters, soil and air. I want wars to cease and justice to prevail.

Yes, I want all of that, yet, since this change, I have not known the same burning passion that I once did, and without it I have felt a little lost.

Perhaps my system was just overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the challenges we face as a people. I was feeling that heavy weight when I talked to the mushroom lady, a dear friend who prays in the Native American way in teepee ceremonies with powerful plant medicines. I asked her what this wisdom has taught her about the plight of humans on our precious Earth.

She told me that the nature medicine laughs at our ego that says, “I will save the world.” Because the medicine is part of nature, the nature that has always been and knows she will prevail, knows that there are eternal cycles of birth, life and death and that she is beyond our small efforts.

Hearing this landed me on the simple ground of remembering one of yoga’s primary teachings; we are part of something much larger that the self and this singular body. We are part of nature and most of the time, it’s not what we do, but how we do it. When we engage with the world in this way we save it through our reverence for it. We save it through even the smallest actions and interactions. Each small act of kindness to ourselves and others is a greater step in creating the ‘more beautiful world we know is possible’ (to quote Charles Eisenstein).

Remembering and waking reverence for ourselves, each other, our food and the plants and animals that provide it, the living waters and the air that allows us breath and life, these are the first steps to saving the world.