Recycling is Good for the SoulBy:
One of the greatest and most important spiritual practices is how we deal with our garbage. All sacred traditions, whether it be in the form of prayer, meditation, or yoga have an intrinsic system of inner cleansing. Spiritual practice allows us to cleanse our psychic and emotional garbage and dump it into the Infinite, always available, trash can. The loving cosmos takes and recycles everything, back into light.
On the earth, we have a different kind of garbage consisting mostly of stinky earthy things. The recycling system for this kind of garbage is a bit different then the cosmic recycling system. It doesn't recycle everything automatically. The things that cannot be recycled get bottled up in this system (pun intended). We land on the hard "thunk" of a plastic chair, realizing that it will be on this earth for eternity with our current recycling capacities. With the massive amounts of disposable diapers, tampons, and the incredible amount of plastic items that we generate and dispose of every day, our landfills will someday not be able to hold the great load. Our dependence on plastics contribute to our dependence on oil, from which plastic comes, and this energy technology is fraught with potential and actual environmental hazards. Our future generations may very well look back on this time wondering, what we were thinking. The ease of our life, which we have become so accustomed to, created a mess for them. But I don’t think it is just our future generations that are adversely affected.
Each object we use, or are responsible for bringing into our lives that will not decompose in a healthy way into the earth, affects us energetically. In the eastern spiritual traditions, we call this negative karma. Negative karma is an energetic pattern that is a result of actions that we choose. We will have to clear this karma, out of our beings, in order to feel free in our souls. Another term that perhaps is more common through many walks of life is conscience. Our actions sit in our conscience and weigh heavily on us if they are actions that take us away from the light of the soul.
I believe that there is a record of the amount of non-compostable garbage that we each generate, on each of our souls, because we are knowingly doing it. Our babies don't know, but soon, they will. We didn't know and now we do. Just like our future generations will experience loads and loads of garbage that we generated—our souls will feel that same weight.
Ok, so if you are like me, at this point you may start to hyperventilate. Oh my God! What do I do? Relax. Take a deep breath.
In the words of Yogi Bhajan,
"If you lied yesterday, and you lied today, but you don't lie tomorrow, you'll be alright."
Start now. Reducing the amount of waste that we create on this earth is a very nice act of love for your soul, for this wonderful world we live in, and for our future generations. And don’t ask for perfection right away. Some of us may financially depend on the production and use of items that cannot decompose. The transition will take time.
This morning, as I dropped my eight year old daughter off at school, I noticed a little child waving from her perch on some stairs. With her blond scraggly hair poking out of her winter hat, she waved and called out,
The object of her call, was a young first grade boy with red hair and freckles, who was trudging along the path to the school entrance, looking tired, and uninterested.
She kept waving and calling in a sweet voice. It took her four times.
Finally he looked up as if waking from a dream.
"Hey." he waved with a little smile.
As seekers of health and spirituality, it is time to wake up as well.
I invite you to ask yourself these questions along with me.
- Am I buying just what I need or is there waste getting created, uselessly?
- Am I buying items that come from recycled materials that can be recycled after I am finished with them?
- Can I create gifts and wrapping paper instead of buying them?
- Is there a way to inspire my friends, neighbors, supermarkets, and vendors that I purchase items from, to join me in reducing the amount of garbage we all create?
- Can I bring forward ideas, to the leadership of my town, community, state, country and world, to reduce garbage?
There was a huge education wave about the environment and the term "green footprint" became very well known across our country just a few years ago. However, it does feel like we have slipped collectively back into a sleepy surrender lately. There are many places in the United States, including my own hometown, where many people still use plastic bags when they shop, and recycling is available, but in a limited way.
But today I have hope because of this little girl from kindergarten. Like her, let's make our self-inquiry and community actions filled with love and joy, realizing that we might have to call out more than once before we receive a response.
Snatam Kaur is an American singer, peace activist and author raised in the Sikh and Kundalini Yoga tradition. She grew up in the presence of her spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, learning the essence of Naad Yoga, a form of yoga focusing on sacred sound. At the core of this practice is an essential experience of peace and healing which helps her music be accessible to all people. Her book Original Light is a compassionate and supportive guide to creating a daily spiritual practice. To find out more about her book and online course visit snatamkaur.com.