Meditation Practices to Save Our Planet

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh was interviewed by The Ecologist and gave meditation practices to save our planet. He warned that “maybe in 100 years there will be no more humans on the planet, in just 100 years.”

Extinctions have taken place on our planet many times. Volcanic eruptions about 251 million years ago created so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that 95% of all species became extinct.

The earth recuperated over a period of 100 million years and new species evolved, including homo sapiens.

We are now in a period of global warming due to deforestation, over population and industrialization. If the planet becomes uninhabitable by humans in 100 years, it may take another 100 million years for the cycle of life to develop a new human species.

The solution Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay, as he is called by his followers) proposes involves mindful consumption, one the five mindfulness trainings. These are a set of precepts and ideals worth striving for.

Residence of Thich Nhat Hanh in Plum Village

Residence of Thich Nhat Hanh in Plum Village | Photo Jerome Freedman, 2000

Thay states that “What we need is transformation of our consciousness, our idea of happiness, our lifestyle. Not only are those of us in the West attached to a high-consumption lifestyle, in Asian countries people are very much doing the same.”

His personal method is to live the simple life of a monk in Plum Village, France. His needs are little and whatever money is raised is used to offer retreats for people around the world.

Meditation Practices to Save Our Planet

The meditation practices to save our planet include, but are not limited to studying, practicing and observing the five mindfulness trainings.

Here is what Thay has to say about the five mindfulness training:

The five mindfulness trainings are a kind of lifestyle born from a vision called “interbeing”: everything is connected to everything else. Your happiness and the happiness of other species “interare”. If you are healthy and happy then other forms of life can profit from you. If you are sick and suffer then other species will have to suffer with you and that insight of interbeing will help you to see that you are linked to everything else. To protect yourself you have to protect nature and every other species. That insight of interbeing will help you to remove discrimination, fear and anger and make you feel better in yourself.

The first mindfulness training is about reverence for life of all forms. He eats a vegetarian diet and encourages his followers to protect life.

The second mindfulness training is about obtaining true happiness by giving of your time, energy and material resources to the benefit of all beings. This mindfulness training encourages us not to take anything that isn’t offered freely.

The third mindfulness training deals with love and sex and a commitment not to enter sexual relations without love and trust. He emphasizes the importance of loving ourselves and taking good care of our bodies.

The fourth mindfulness training concerns deep listening and loving speech. When we love someone, we are truly there for them and we listen attentively to their joys and their sorrows.

On the other hand, we speak only kind words that restore and preserve communication between us and our loved ones.

The fifth of the five mindfulness trainings is the training on mindful consumption:

Reading the fifth mindfulness training we can see mindful consumption is the way out. All of five mindfulness trainings are part of the answer to the question about our attachment to a high consumption lifestyle.

This is the key practice: consumption. We cannot get out of this difficult despairing situation unless we make a resolution in the way we consume. I will be aware of what I eat and consume through my senses and what intentions and mental state I cultivate in my consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, use or cohort drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing healing and nourishing elements in and around me and not letting sorrow drag me back into the past, nor letting anxieties, fear or cravings pull me out of the moment. I am determined not to cover up with loneliness, anxiety or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate into being and consume in a way to preserve peace and joy and in my body and consciousness and of family, society and the earth. My mindful consumption is the way out.

Read more, where you will find a link to the five mindfulness trainings on the Plum Village website.

So, you see, the five mindfulness trainings are the meditation practices to save our planet. They are guiding insights into how humanity can survive as a species beyond 100 years.

I encourage you to meditate deeply on each of the five mindfulness trainings and let me know how you relate to them.

Is there a specific one you are having difficulty with? If so, let me know and I’ll do my best to help you understand yourself. Write down your thoughts and send them to me if you don’t want to post them in the comment section below.

The information in this post is definitely worth sharing. Won’t you please do that?

Let people know that there is a way out of the rat race of mindless consumption.