According to the Course in Miracles, there are only two emotions: fear and love. All others are gradations of those two. I found this concept to require some skill in reconciling my ecological consciousness with my spirituality. What I discovered is that it is spiritual to appreciate the beauty of nature, work to preserve it, but not to fight those who pollute. This was a difficult struggle for me, especially with the ubiquitous reports of global warming, air pollution and other environmental devastation telling me we must FIGHT pollution. Here is what I finally understood.
1) Leave Judgment Behind
Although it is obvious that loving the earth and all it contains is spiritual, being critical of the things that pollute it can cost us our inner peace as well as signal a spiritual problem: having contempt or judgment weakens our spiritual practice. Also, giving the pollution the energy expands the problem and not the solutions. This applies to so many things but feels challenging when I witness the wanton greed degrade the planet I love. But I noticed my energy shift when I read that environmental entrepreneurship is a growing and viable career path, according to Ohio University. Once I ran into this I started to shift my focus from the problem to the fact that there were so many solutions being created.
Like so many spiritual concepts, this idea is nuanced. Loving the earth and everything in it is spiritually powerful and raises the vibration of all things. This often causes us to want to protect the things that we love. This is where I’ve fallen into the trap of contempt. First of all, contempt is a judgment. And when we are judging we are not appreciating.
The way problems expand by giving them energy is partly a simple energy transfer and partly because the resistant energy causes those we are attacking to entrench themselves in their behavior and find moral justifications for their actions. When we simply broadcast love, we open the door for others to appreciate the environment too. When we simply enjoy the presence of nature, we are protecting it better than fighting those who seem muted to nature’s beauty.
2) Appreciate the Efforts Already in Place
So our focus is better spent appreciating the things that are happening to improve the environment instead of fighting those things that exploit it. For example, Tesla Motors is not only making electric cars, but they have merged with SolarCity and will probably begin offering solar panels to Tesla customers. In Denmark, they are creating floating power plants that create clean renewable energy. And universities like the University of California Riverside are now teaching sustainable product design as part of their engineering programs.
By improving the focus in education and industry we produce more and more green innovation. For example, we can now print solar panels, and their efficiency is reaching new and amazing levels. There are new innovations being created every day that make the old ways of pollution and scarce resources obsolete. My spiritual practice now includes focusing on that and being amazed at what is happening. This way I enjoy the amazement of the solutions and the optimism that comes with it and I put my energy into the positive.
3) See the Good
The point is that we must see the good in the world. There will always be seductive tragedy to occupy our minds. We must not focus on those. There is an amazing world, but we miss it if we focus on the tragedy and we lend energy to the problems instead of enjoying the hope and the positive energy these solutions are providing.
Ultimately, the best thing we can do for the world is be happy. It can be challenging when we see reports of so many problems. But we must be the change we want to see, and that includes being appreciative of our progress and amazed at our innovations in the light of ever-present destruction.