A few weeks ago, it suddenly clicked.
Of course I’d been conscious about creating less plastic waste, buying only sustainable or second hand clothes, using the heating only when it’s really, really cold and buying tea lights for the studio without a metal holder.
But this was just a mental thing so far: I knew I had to be more sustainable with my actions so I tried my best.
And then one day, I watched a video of a medium talking to a spirit about climate change. (I never believed in mediums by the way, until last year I suddenly realised that if I’m just life force having a human experience, that life force must still be somewhere and we must be able to communicate with it on an intuitive level)
She asked if this planet would survive our current actions. The planet would outlive us, the spirit said, but we have come to a point where we have destroyed so much, that climate change is inevitable and nature will change drastically. He specifically mentioned that The Netherlands would not exist anymore in 100 years time because of sea levels rising.
I was shocked.
Of course I had watched a million videos about how we’re polluting the planet, but I never really felt it. For some reason, this spirit guide’s look into the future was needed to make me feel that we’ve gone too far.
After watching this, I became very pessimistic about the future: my son and his future children would not be able to live in my home country. Nature would change so drastically that we will loose beautiful species and the air will be so polluted that we’ll all wear masks in a few years time.
But of course, that pessimism doesn’t help the planet, neither does fear for the future. What it did do for me though, was open my eyes to reality, to what already is. I accepted reality and the present moment. And that’s exactly what’s needed to create change: acceptance first, then action.
That week, I had planned a 90s Yoga Party for Halloween but decided I didn’t want to make any money from it, and would donate payments to onetreeplanted.org.
I decided to not buy any dairy anymore. I had been vegetarian for 15 years, but still ate dairy at least weekly. I always knew how polluting the dairy industry is, but I never had the willpower to make this change until now.
It almost hurts now when I do something I know is not helping but polluting the planet. Before I just felt guilty, now I physically feel the suffering I’m creating.
Even though the ‘click’ happened for me only a few weeks ago, I know it was my yoga practice that prepared me for it.
Through my practice, I’ve been able to connect to deeper layers of myself, then nature, then ultimately, have realised I AM source energy like every other being in this universe. Without this realisation of union, we will never feel that we have to save the planet as we don’t realise we are one with mother earth.
As yoga practitioners, we have access to all these realisations, when our practice is effective in connecting us to our heart first.
Or, like Eckhart Tolle says, if we don’t act from a place of love, we create the opposite of love with our actions, which is war.
But this heart connection doesn’t happen overnight (and it doesn’t happen always, each moment of each day).
That’s where the yamas & niyamas – yoga’s ethical guidelines – come in. These are everything you need to live a life that’s creating more love and less suffering for you and others around you.
Here are the ones I think are most essential in this time, plus questions & actionable steps to bring these principles into our modern lives.
- ask yourself how your diet is harming the planet and switch to more plant based, local, seasonal foods (which happen to also be better for our bodies)
- is your way of traveling harming? Can you choose to go by bike, foot or public transport?
- can you be content with having less and living a more simple life?
- can you practice contentment with having food that is local, seasonal and more plant based?
- this niyama is very important in making change: once we have made the conscious decision to no longer contribute to climate change with our actions, we need discipline in order to stick to it – can you stick to making one small change EVERY DAY, not one big change that you can stick to?
Surrender to something higher than yourself
- ultimately, when we have done all we can with love in our heart, we have to let go: we have to trust that source energy knows what is good for us
Please share with me what heart-felt actions will be!