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candleThat’s a horrible world. But it’s where my second week of meditation led me. I’m not going to say anything that hasn’t been said before and I’m not sure if I’m thinking anything new but maybe I’m feeling it differently.

When I first read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation’s Edge some 25 years ago I found the notion of a conscious Gaia quite disturbing. Unlike the Gaia hypothesis which looks at the world as a single but complex system, in Asimov’s fictional Gaia, every organism contributed some level of conscious thought towards the whole in an ultimate democracy. I think I withdrew from the idea because of the element of giving up some degree of free will for the greater good. Not that I have any objections to making personal sacrifices for the sake of the greater good but I like to have the choice.

What on earth has this got to do with meditation?

Well, these are some of the rational thinking thoughts that I had when listening to this week’s meditation rather than just feeling my way through.

You are able to feel what every animal, every plant is feeling, and as time goes on in this way, so too does your expanded sense of awareness continue to grow.

We are one planet. And in the last hundred years, as communications have sped up we have little excuse for not knowing about the sweat shops that produce our clothes or the conditions in mines necessary for our latest phones. We understand that cutting down a forest on the other side of the world does affect us; we have a responsibility to everyone on this planet and to everything on this planet. Climate change has brought home that the world does act as single system on some levels, whether we want it to or not.

Meditating on this, for me, means trying to shove all these more intellectual thoughts and feel the connections, to feel the invisible tendrils that reach out from me and touch other people, the ones I know and the ones I don’t; to feel a solidarity and kinship with these strangers, to be aware of them as individual real people, not as statistics.

We’re also nothing more than lifeforms on Carl Sagan’s infamous pale blue dot. We live on a planet that is insignificant given the scale of the Universe. For all our puffed-up self-importance we do not matter and we never will.

And yet, despite my total insignificance, I am extremely important. To me, I’m quite vital and necessary, as is the planet I live on, the earth beneath my feet and all the people who help make my life what it is.

We are one planet, and it’s good to feel it rather than think it.