Spirituality and Ecology

Sadhguru: Spirituality is not a teaching, philosophy, ideology, or something that you make up in your mind. A spiritual process means your experience of life is happening beyond the limitations of your physical boundaries. Right now, we are inhaling and exhaling.

We are taking in and letting out the very atmosphere around us. So obviously our life and our wellbeing are not limited to the boundaries of our physicality. If the spiritual process becomes a living thing in India’s culture, not just a memory of the past, no one would have to talk about ecology at all; people will definitely take care of it

When we first started the movement of Project Green Hands, Isha’s environmental initiative, we wanted to plant enough trees to bring at least 33% green cover to Tamil Nadu's land area, which was the national aspiration.

The first six years, we started planting trees in people's minds, which is the most difficult terrain! But once we successfully planted trees in their minds, transplanting on to the land was not a problem because the land is welcoming the tree. It is only the human mind which is resisting the tree.

I had to set up a sort of spiritual experience for people. I made them sit and breathe with a certain process and made them experience that what you exhale the tree is inhaling, what the tree exhales you are inhaling; so one half of your lungs is actually hanging out there on the tree.

Once they got this point, experientially, after that you could not have stopped them from planting trees – they are still going on!

For example, many schools have gone for the Green School Movement. If a school plants 10,000 saplings, we give them a certificate as a Green School. Also, across Tamil Nadu the culture has changed during weddings. South Indian weddings are big affairs – they pack sweets and other gifts for the guests. Instead of that, today, at any number of weddings they are giving saplings.

Isha volunteers inquire if the guests have a piece of land to plant the sapling; if not, we plant it for them and tell them the location so they can come and see it if they wish.

Today, millions of people everywhere are going through a spiritual process; these people are the real potential because once they experience their life beyond the boundaries of their own physical self, suddenly their concern and empathy for every other life is incredible. It is so impactful in their life that they cannot think of life as “me versus the rest of the world.”

Somehow the very fundamental way you live includes everything else. This is the very nature of the existence – we can only exist together. Life on this planet has not been created so that I can live but you cannot live here, or I can live but an insect cannot live here. You and I can live well only if the birds, insects, worms, and micro-organisms are all living well.

Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the "Padma Vibhushan", India’s highest annual civilian award, by the Government of India in 2017, for exceptional and distinguished service.

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