Updated: Feb 25, 2021
One autumn day, in your weariness you lie down beneath a giant gingko to watch its golden leaves dance in the wind. As you gaze upwards, focused on nothing, you feel the movement of all the leaves at once. A gust of wind rises, and with it a music. Every leaf has become like a reed, sounded by the wind according to its own frequency. There is supreme harmony in this music of the wind that plays on the leaves. It cannot be reduced and fully understood, much like the form of the tree itself. Without explanation, you just know that you are somehow near to the Secret. You dance around a circle and suppose, while the secret sits in the center and knows (bless you, Robert Frost).
Entranced, you fall away into your dream, awake. A golden leaf is falling and you have become the size of a small spider, drifting on the back of this leaf. You land softly on the earth and make your way through the jungle of giant blades of grass. Then, you become another creature, and then another. You find yourself roaming over the earth, sometimes flying, sometimes swimming. Your frame of reference keeps switching as you enter the bodies of myriad species that inhabit the earth.
You are a bee, burying your nose into the exquisite pollen of an iris.
You are a monkey, swinging through the rainforest treetops.
You are a stallion, galloping across vast wind-blown steppes.
You are a dolphin, skipping over the surface of the sea.
You are an eagle, soaring above a mountain range.
Everywhere you go, and in whatever form, the earth is pristine and breathtaking in its beauty. Not a drop of water is defiled, and you stop to drink deeply wherever you find it. Her beauty enthralls you, endlessly.
When you regain your human form, you are of male essence, and the only feeling you can remotely compare to the feeling in your dream is the absolute rapture you have sometimes felt in the presence of your beloved’s body. She is your paradise, and you could not even conceive of anything in heaven above that would compare to her.
But your lucid dream is of the earth, in which you are now taking delight. The earth itself has become eroticized for you.
Dumbfounded, you recall how so many religions promised something better than the perfection of the earth, this most splendid of blue-green gems suspended in the blackness of space. Under the reign of these same religions, the quest to dominate nature has been served by science and industry. Several flashforward images jolt you.
Images of massive deforestation, wastelands, and landfills.
Images of vast islands of trash and dead fish floating in the oceans.
Images of your fellow man subsisting like vermin in cities of squalor.
Images of mines sending soot and pollution into the sky, defiling rain and snow.
The image of your very own mother dying from a modern disease.
You emerge from this dream knowing three things in the depth of your being.
You now know that mankind has raped the earth. He has objectified, dominated, and defiled her just as man has done to woman.
You now know that enduring change will only come when those who defile the earth become aware of their relationship to it.
Love, not law, will usher in a sustainable human civilisation.
You now know that the earth itself is the most precious of treasures, superior in every sense to anything you have called luxury and that violates her. You, the lucid dreamer, have the vision of what can and will manifest as a new reality. You are not alone, but your mastery is limited to your own life, in every moment and every movement. You know this is not impotence or passivity, but an awareness of how the small can overcome the large, how the invisible can overtake the visible, how liquid can dissolve the solid.
This is a radical departure from how we normally go about trying to change our lives and our world. For example, in a quest to save the planet, environmentalists tend to vilify the polluters and policymakers. The “bad people” may change something, but it will be out of fear or guilt, and therefore nothing will change fundamentally. When you come to love the earth, it becomes natural for you to preserve it. Our dominant civilization only sees the earth as an available resource for exploitation. Men who objectify women violate them. Men who love women are incapable of such acts. The first and most important change that must occur is a shift in perspective.
In the same way, if you try to change a personal habit because you have been told how bad it is for you, there will always remain some resistance, and the change will be both hard to maintain and less effective. If you learn to take great pleasure in a new habit that replaces the bad one (let’s say conscious deep breathing instead of smoking), then you can be sure it will stick.
There are the woes of forests being destroyed, but also the joys of gardens being planted.
There are hardships caused by the perspective of zero growth, but also new sources of bounty.
There are ravages of global warming, but also revelations of global interrelation.
We can live lighter today, and from this will come a brighter future for us and for all.