Global Warming - a Yogic Perspective

This article is graciously provided for republication by the author, Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati (Dr. Christa-Maria Herrmann), German by birth, naturalized British, originally studying Theology, her university studies soon expanded to Education, Psychology, Philosophy and Art and Design (Ceramics). Different teaching jobs (in colleges and universities) in various countries followed. At the center of her studies (as well as her teaching) was always the subject of 'Self-awareness'.

Everybody talks about Climate Change; there seems little doubt that the Planet is getting warmer at present. Since measurements started the warmest ten years have been around the change to this Millennium. What does it mean:

It has been observed, that

  • in Canada and Russia the temperature has risen by 30°C (nearly twice the global average;) in Northern Alaska it has risen even 40 degrees.Melting Permafrost makes houses and streets collapse!
  • Glacial ice is melting, ( Montana's National Glacier Park, created 1910 used to have 150 glaciers...now there are 30)
  • Polar ice is melting in the Arctic and Patagonia (Glaciers and Ice-sheets in the latter have disappeared...exposing bare rock)
  • Ice caps are said to have shrunk by 9%. (In the Antarctic Region, Ice sheets the size of California have melted in 2005).


From this observation, speculation comes
: a general rise of Temperature of 2 -30 °C during this century will mean the largest Climatic change in 10 000 years.


From speculation comes fear for our own future, resulting in doomsday predictions:

More melting ice, means flooding of coastal areas.

Melting Ice means warmer Ocean temperatures; more ocean water is evaporating changing Tidal/Current patterns as well as Rain and Wind patterns. It expresses in more tornadoes and hurricanes, heat waves etc. Meaning countries, towns and cities in low lying areas will disappear, people ... will die in floods by the tens of thousands (especially indigenous and island people) - on the other hand tens of thousands will die of droughts.

Malaria and other diseases are coming back already, and will progressively reach areas they have not been before.

More than a million plant and animal species will die because they can't adapt this quick.

And so on, and so on - scary headlines, observations and predictions keep filling our hearts and minds. Achieving what?

Putting fear in peoples mind, fear for their own life and their children's...

It used to be the Job of the church, to rule by fear of hell and damnation, now, it's the respectable scientists, and politicians who have taken on this Job!

Looking at the issue soberly, there is a lively discussion, showing three opinions:

  • This rapid Climate Change is due to increased production of Greenhouse gases from advanced human societies; producing in particular too much CO2.
  • The Climate Change has nothing to do with humans, because CO2 level changes occur naturally after Global warming, it is the effect...not the cause!
  • It's all due to the Sun, and has happened periodically in the history of this planet, having to do with cosmic rays.


So let's look closer:

Point 1) We know much about the CO2 emissions etc... heard it all before; it has been a topic of public interest since the 50 ties "Conference of Rome".

It is no doubt, that there is a significant increase in Co2 produced by man (as it comes from burning fossil fuels; the present estimate is that this increase makes up about 30 %).

Point 2): We know that the temperature fluctuations leading to the ice-age were initiated by changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun; ice core samples show that temperature rises came first, followed by CO2 rises- up to around 100 years later. The reasons?

a) As oceans warm up, they emit CO2, naturally - they absorb it when they cool down (this is part of the conveyor-belt of the ocean currents.)

b) Similarly, earth (soil) naturally releases greenhouse-gases as it warms up; releasing them into the atmosphere, which furthers warms up the earth. The two together are part of a positive feedback system...warming up, until the balance is tipped and it cools down, equally naturally. (Arguers of this point, conveniently forget, the 30 % sudden increase of man produced CO2.)

The 3rd group of arguments starts from somewhere very different. Our dear sun, who we owe our life to, has so called sun-spots! They are bursts of electromagnetic waves. (Atomic explosions setting off radiation...one could say!) These bursts create so called "solar-winds." These sunspot and the solar winds... have been observed since antiquity.

They play a great part in South American and Indian cultures. In both cultures, independently they led to the Symbol of the Swastika! From the clear air in the high mountains, of the Andes and the Himalayas these sunspot and winds...Have been well observed. Meaning what?

There is constant activity of stellar explosions and contractions in Space; these send

out Cosmic rays, which effect the earth atmosphere! They hit the oceans, warm the water, creating clouds...bringing rain... having a cooling effect!

The sun-winds interfere, directing the cosmic rays away from earth.

A study of 600 years shows beyond doubt, this interaction pattern, between cosmic rays and sun-winds; consequently a regular pattern has been shown for thousands of years. Meaning: The more sun-spots and winds... the less cosmic rays.

Less cosmic rays... temperature increases.

More cosmic rays... the temperature drops.

So Climate changes are due to sun-changes - rather than man-made - CO2

If that is so...this is the way of the universe, we need to accept, that we are not here forever....! Fast changes in climate and earth have happened before and none of these, during the last 10 000 years, can be explained by man-made Co2 rises.

In fact earlier civilizations have used the observation of sunspots and sun-winds to forecast such events. There is no doubt: "In the last 100 years temperature and amount of solar activity have shown a strong relationship. It dropped around the 1940...and rose again since 1970." But this does not take into account the recent 30% increase!!!!!

So what's it to be, man made...earth made ...or sun made...or all of it?

Realization: If we accept, it is partly due to natural event... then man gets knocked of his all mighty perch! We have believed for so long, man is in charge of Nature and can do anything he likes; that it's difficult to accept that we can't, that we are not in charge!

That there might be higher forces... beyond our ken!

And so one fraction of humanity, plays it up against another....

Some talk about the "Inconvenient Truth" ---- Others about the "Convenient Lie".

Now in ancient times, man new himself embedded in the general cosmos. In fact, the cosmos itself was often depicted as a Being and all that happened in it, was likened to what happens in a human body. According to that imagery: we humans are like so many blood-cells in the cosmic body... all doing there job, for the greater good of the body.

Now for a while human civilization has not behaved accordingly, but has done what it individually wants!

Staying in the imagery of the cosmic body, man has behaved as a blood-cell, which "does its own thing". If this happens in a human body ....we call it Cancer!

As human beings we have disregarded the greater Good, and behaved like Cancer cells; forgetting to live and work in harmony with All existence. We forgot, that we are part of one Earth, which itself is "breathing to a cosmic rhythm!" The ancient vision of Gaia, as "living earth" might be recalled, when we look at a slow motion film, where the atmosphere around our globe is seen as expanding at one end of the seasons, contracting at the other...like a regular breathing pattern!

So this globe lives and breathes as one life, one existence...and we within that! On a vastly larger scale, the earth "lives and breathes" within the whole universe ...and may be one universe in many... ad infinitum!

We forget conveniently, that man ...plays a very small part in this great scheme. The individual and his interest play a minute, undetectable small bit in it, but our ego... plays the biggest role! For our Ego, the world, ney, the universe revolves around "Me".

"I" want, "I" need ... self-interest... against "for the good of all."

We forgot that we are not only part of Nature, but we are Nature....no more important than the tree we cut down!

In the scale of things it can easily be seen, that our individual importance is a construct of our ever delusional minds!

And that is what we have to look at, when people talk about Climate Change:

There is no denying, Climate changes, It's a fact; yes! And we contribute , that's a fact !

But who tells His version of Truth and for what purpose.

Looking at the problem from the point of Yoga, we know that whatever we say or see is influenced by the patterns of our minds! Our minds produce truth according to its own mind-patterns. We know that our senses are the only way we can perceive this world and these are limited, and they are limited primarily by our ego interest!

We call it self-preservation! Making "my-life" my survival more important than yours!

So the world gets hotter, so more Africans starve... as long as we in the civilized world are OK...who cares! After all thousands die there already, and do we care? But if that can be used to manipulate minds... than yes... suddenly its important data! What hypocrisy!

The deepest tragedy roots in the fact, that we humans have forgotten our place in the universe; we have forgotten who we are, and think that we are in charge of life, that our individual small little egos can change the course of the planet! We don't see, that we humans are simply one form of the larger cosmic Existence. In Yoga we say: one expression of consciousness; of the Self!

It's the old story of the sorcerer's apprentice! We seem to know better than the Master; what ever we call HIM. How can the small self have this illusion? Only because it thinks of itself as separate as autonomous, as big important individual "I"! Who has dominion over Nature! It forgets its source and interdependence with the rest of existence.

This separateness, this illusion of the limited, isolated "I", is the Problem in the "Fear- mongering" about Global Warming! For it stops us from accepting that we are part of the Totality that is this living, breathing body, we call Earth. Separate from it we do not accept Life as it is, nature as it is....but can misuse and destroy the Planet for our own needs and greed! Wake up to the fact, that we are Nature, not part of it. Just like your hand is you...not a separate entity!

Al Gore with his acclaimed and widely popularized film "the Inconvenient Truth" shocks our mind, because our isolated little self's get worried about our own survival (or at least for the children...). He tells us (supported by great media-skills) the observations, with which we started this contemplation; and paints a grim picture with such projections, as that: a million of species of life will be extinct in the next 40 years.

He does everything possible to install fear and worry in us! Fear is the instrument of manipulation! Not of education. Yes, and there are... at the end, like a trailer, suggestions what to do: such using energy-efficient light-bulbs, drive less, recycle, use less hot water, avoid excessive packaging; plant a tree etc. These suggestions are powerless....doomed, as he says himself... to being ignored. Why? Because fear...only creates the desire for self-preservation. When scarcity of food is announced, one rushes and buys and hordes...until the shelves are empty! "Me" and mine are important! Fear reinforces, the greed, which contributes vastly to those 30 % of Global warming, which man is responsible for.

If the 1st realisation about Global warming is ---

- the need to accept, man is not in charge; our ego must give up its aspiration of dominance;

the 2nd. Point of realisation, is:

- fear and worry about a doomsday future, can not propel people into changing habits, on the contrary it reinforces them and creates greed!

It is to these two important points that Yoga urges a different perspective:

Accept, see clearly, that the world is as it is! Climate change has happened and will happen, again ... who is man in his arrogance that he thinks we "can live forever". Individual or as a race...we are part of nature...nature always changes, it rises and falls!

Then there are dinosaurs, then there are not....

Then there are humans...than there are not... but because we have such identification with our physical body....we get frightened by this thought.

If we realise that we are not the physical body, but that ....which works through the physical body ... as the yogic tradition, and many philosophies and religions have it .... Then there is no fear! Without fear, but with understanding we are motivated to do the right thing...for the good of all!!!

(So long as we think of ourselves as separate, as individual bodies ... we will look after Nr. 1 first!). Meaning , unless we change our minds...i.e. our wants for physical body comfort...regardless of the costs to others or Nature - the 30% of our contribution to Climate Change will rise! Nothing will change, unless our minds change!

What is this change needed? We need to see, that we are not individual beings, but that we are Nature itself. Or even deeper, that we are consciousness expressing as Nature ....

Changing our behaviour is not enough, we will have forgotten it by tomorrow! No! Fundamental mind-patterns have to change; we need to realise who/what we are!

..... we are Nature! ..... We are all forms of one consciousness.

For that, we have to be aware, of our own projections, our own limitations, our own mind-patterns, our habits our bodies, our attitudes , our behaviour patterns and .....

let them go! Huston Smith, portraits Buddha in the following conversation:

"Are you God?" they asked the Buddha.

"No" he replied.

"Are you an angel, then?" " No"

"A Saint?" "NO"

"Then what are you?"

The Buddha replied: "I am awake".

To be awake to the Truth, of one Life, one Self....one consciousness,...one Light....one interdependent Reality..... has as a consequence, totally different behaviour.

We might not like every one, but we will honour them and look upon everyone and everything in creation as an embodiment of THAT.

And if we do, then how can we grab more than our share of resources; how can we misuse energy, how can we be angry and jealous of what others have or not, how can we manipulate other people or issues for our own gain... for our own desires?

We cannot!

Once we learn to respect ourselves and others and other life-forms different behaviour flows from there. We still need to chop would for the fire, but plant a tree in its place!

Once we see our interdependence, the Self in everything....everything flows from there; .

It is this paradigm shift of consciousness in mankind, that has to happen, in order to prevent catastrophic scales of Global warming,

... for that, we need to keep a cool head and accept it ....

...and work out how not to make it worse.

There is a scripture called the Ashtavakra Gita; which gives four points that help:

1) It says: Don't identify with your body, he makes you into a slave and creates constant new desires.

2): in the thoughtless mind (Meditation), you discover the light behind the mind as the same as the light behind the universe. Hence everything is everything else. Since we are the world, we contribute to making a wonderful paradise, or a wonderful hell....

3): See the world as it is, and not as you like to project it; the ego-self- is not your true nature; recognise your own desires, - for what they are.

4 ): Keep calm, stay cool in whatever life throws at you... then you can see the play of life ..... as it is, and don't make it worth by your own emotional terrorism.

How did that saying of the 70th. go: You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf!

The preoccupation with the wave... shifts to the beauty of the ocean. Once you see the beauty of the ocean...you would not want to spoil it and destroy it!

Every Wave is already ocean; You need to become aware that you are the ocean!

You are, every human is... Divine power of life, the ultimate Self....if we destroy

Life, we destroy our selves! There is only one message: become aware who you are! Tukaram (Indian sage) sings: "Even though I have this body,

I have come to realize,

That it's not just a body, it is the house of God.

And in this house of God,

Though they say he is formless, His power abides."

The same power is in everybody and everything!

That's the important 3rd. realisation, hence everything and everybody deserves the same respect, needs to honoured because there is only One earth, One Nature, One Life, One Self! Creation is the manifestation of that Self, that Consciousness, God, light...that immutable constant behind all! Remember...

Every Yogic path is meant for gaining this knowledge. We purify our bodies, we meditate, we inquire, do jappa - only to this end, to recognise the absolute Self as our original nature, from there - our attitude to "Global warming" will be different! I.e.

Accepting what is, and living in such a way as not to harm self or others, or indeed any facet of nature, for " The Divine is in Everything"

"There is nothing, that is not Shiva"

Ohm Tat Sat

Randall

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