by Thich Nhat Hanh/ Buddist monk, peace activist
All of us know that our beautiful green planet is in danger. Our way of walking on the Earth has a great influence on animals and plants. Yet we act as if our daily lives have nothing to do with the condition of the world. We are sleepwalkers, not knowing what we are doing or where we are heading. Whether we can wake up or not depends on whether we can walk mindfully on our Mother Earth. The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps. We have to hear the bells of mindfulness that are sounding all access our planet. We have to start learning how to live in a way that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren.
We need a kind of collective awakening. There are among men and women who are awakened, but it’s not enough; most people are still sleeping. We have constructed a system we can’t control. It imposes itself on us, and we become slaves and victims. For most of us who want have a car, a refrigerator,a television, and so on, we must sacrifice our time and our lives in exchange. We are constantly under the pressure of time. In former times, we can afford three times to drink one cup of tea, enjoying the company of our friends in a serene and spiritual atmosphere. But we can no longer afford these things.
People in China, India, Vietnam, and other developing countries are still dreaming the ‘American dream’, as if that dream were the ultimate goal of mankind-everyone has to have a car, a bank account, a cell phone, a television set of their own, In 25 years the population of China will be 1.5 billion people, and if each of them wants to drive their own car, Chinese will need 99 million barrels of oil every day. But the world production today is only 84 million barrels per day. So the American dream is not possible for the people of China, India, or Vietnam. The American dream is no longer even possible for the Americans. We can’t continue to live like this. It’s not a sustainable economy.