Dear Earth, are we a cancer?On 15th January 2020 by Satya
The word is so loaded with anguish and dread, I hesitate to use it. And yet, we people have been likened to a cancer on your body, dear Earth, and the metaphor makes sense. We have plundered your resources, exterminated other species, and duplicated ourselves into craziness.
I’d rather think of Others as the plunderers, and it’s all too easy for me to blame them from my position of being an ‘awakened one’. I visit the plastic free shop, I only eat plants, and I’ve sacrificed new clothes, flights and a portion of my income. It’s not rocket science. Those with gold coins pouring from their full pockets, those cloaked in climate denial, those who are complicit in the poisoning of their grandchildren’s world – why won’t they wake up too?
Cancer cells don’t intend to kill their host – they are just attending to their survival and reproduction. When I am coming from a place of compassion, I can see that this is how it often works for us too. First I need to look with honesty at my own life. I see the endless tins of meat I lug into the house for the cats, the car I drive to walk the dog in a prettier location, the times I buy things in plastic because I am tired. Small selfishnesses, but I’m lucky enough not to be running a country – my unenlightened behaviour doesn’t cast a very big shadow. If I was making decisions on the behalf of hundreds or even millions, imagine what my selfishness would do.
The parts of me that make these unethical decisions are also attending to the survival of my system. They are either unaware of the awful fall-out, or aware but frightened enough to make the decision anyway. Sometimes ‘blanking parts’ protect the awakened me from seeing the consequences of my compulsions. “We do what we can do keep the show on the road”, the different parts of me all say.
When I look again at the rich polluters I can see the size of their denial, and the equivalent size of their fear. They are 4 year old bullies, holding onto their stunted respect in a tough playground. They are hurting underneath the bravado. They are us.
Some parts of us are a cancer on you, dear Earth. And here I hope the metaphor breaks down, as it is necessary to kill cancer cells to save the body. This may be necessary, and it may be the logical end to our fear-driven selfishness – we will see.
Today I am still holding onto the hope that compassion brings. I am shining this compassion onto my own little selfishnesses, and seeing that sometimes this gives me a choice. I am shining it onto others, when I can manage it, and seeing them slowly soften under the warmth. I am remembering that courageous compassion sometimes has a sharp edge, and cuts cleanly like a sword.
Let this light shine so we can all melt into the arms of love.
Love, Satya <3