Thich Nhat Hanh:
From the outstanding new book Love Letter to the Earth
Beloved Mother of All Things
Dear Mother Earth,
I bow my head before you as I look deeply and recognize that you are present in me and that I’m a part of you. I was born from you and you are always present, offering me everything I need for my nourishment ad growth. My mother, my father, and all my ancestors are also your children. We breathe your fresh air. We drink your clear water. We eat your nourishing food. Your herbs heal us when we’re sick.
You are the Mother of all beings. I call you by the human name Mother and yet I know your mothering nature is more vast and ancient than humankind. We are just one young species of your many children. All the millions of other species who live—or have lived—on Earth are also your children. You aren’t a person, but I know you are not less than a person either. You are a living breathing being in the form of a planet.
Each species has its own language, yet as our Mother you can understand us all. That is why you can hear me today as I open my heart to you and offer you my prayer.
Dear Mother, wherever there is soil, water, rock or air, you are there, nourishing me and giving me life. You are present in every cell of my body. My physical body is your physical body, and just as the sun and stars are present in you, they are also present in me. You are not outside of me and I am not outside of you. You are more than just my environment. You are nothing less than myself.
I promise to keep the awareness alive that you are always in me, and I am always in you. I promise to be aware that your health and well-being is my own health and well-being. I know I need to keep this awareness alive in me for us both to be peaceful, happy, healthy, and strong.
Sometimes I forget. Lost in the confusions and worries of daily life, I forget that my body is your body, and sometimes even forget that I have a body at all. Unaware of the presence of my body and the beautiful planet around me and within me, I’m unable to cherish and celebrate the precious gift of life you have given me. Dear Mother, my deep wish is to wake up to the miracle of life. I promise to train myself to be present for myself, my life, and for you in every moment. I know that my true presence is the best gift I can offer to you, the one I love.
◊ While many experts point to the enormous complexity in addressing issues ranging from the destruction of ecosystems to the loss of millions of species, Thich Nhat Hanh identifies one key issue as having the potential to create a tipping point. He believes that we need to move beyond the concept of the "environment," as it leads people to experience themselves and Earth as two separate entities and to see the planet only in terms of what it can do for them. Thich Nhat Hanh deems it vital that we recognize and respond to the stress we are putting on the Earth if civilization is to survive and shows that mindfulness and a spiritual revolution are needed to protect nature and limit climate change.
Love Letter to the Earth is a hopeful book that gives us a path to follow by showing that change is possible only with the recognition that people and the planet are ultimately one and the same.
♦ See paperback edtn, 144 pp
Understanding our unbreakable connection to the abstraction we call 'the environment' really is the first step to sensible action. In that sense, this is a very practical book!
Thich Nhat Hanh makes an eloquent, uplifting, and urgent call to recognize that our health and happiness are inextricably tied to Mother Earth and to all of our kin. We need this great wisdom if we are to move from our destructive path.
John Muir wrote that ‘When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.’ In this clear-eyed, loving paean, Thich Nhat Hanh illuminates both our connection and our responsibility to the beautiful planet we call home.
—Michael Brune, executive director, Sierra Club
Thich Nhat Hanh addresses the root cause of the environmental crisis and, in doing so, offers a roadmap to an entirely new dream of the Earth.
—Wade Davis, National Geographic Society