Ecology: Of Mind

In 2000, I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a week long retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh, the world-renown Buddhist teacher, nominated for the Nobel-Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was a pivotal, life changing experience for me.  In many respects, he is why I am a Unitarian-Universalist today, though at the time, I would have no notion of that.

His short reflection here on the Ecology of Spirit* speaks for itself, and it may very well leave you uncomfortable at points.  I invite you to read and ponder, especially those places where what he says seems absurd.  Even though you may not get rid of your television, it may lead you to a new sense of the ecology of television use, for example.

“We need harmony, we need peace.  Peace is based on respect for life, the spirit of reverence for life.  Not only do we have to respect the lives of human beings, but we have to respect the lives of animals, vegetables, and minerals.

Ecology should be a deep ecology.  Not only deep but universal, because there is pollution in our consciousness.  Television, for instance, is a form of pollution for us and for our children.  Television sows seeds of violence and anxiety in our children and pollutes their consciousness, just as we destroy our environment by chemicals, tree-cutting, and polluting the water.  We need to protect the ecology of the mind, or this kind of violence and recklessness will continue to spill over into many other areas of life.”

Bob Patrick

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*Wisdom from Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh, pp. 84-85

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