In an essay posted on audubon.com entitled ‘What Do Birds Do For Us’, Barry Yeoman writes about a tree in the American Northwest called the white bark pine, that both humans and other animals have come to rely on.
Its large seeds feed grizzlies and black bears. The tree community provides a habitat for deer, elk and large birds. The white bark pine tree grows all the way up to the tree line, so they are effective at protecting drinking water supplies. The mountains they grow on are essentially water towers – equivalent to the water towers we see on the roofs of buildings in NYC. The tree’s roots hold the soil in place, preventing erosion, preventing avalanches; the roots of the tree are what stop the mountains from crumbling to pieces. The shade of the canopy slows down the spring snowmelt, preventing flooding from occurring.
Only one bird disperses the white bark pine tree’s seeds! One! This bird is called the Clark’s Nutcracker – a black and white winged cousin to the crow. The nutcracker has a long beak that it can use to open up the pinecones to reach its seeds. The bird either eats the seeds or stores them in the back of their throats. It then replants them, at the exact location (!) and depth (!) for the tree to reproduce.
To recap: Mountains = water towers, Trees = prevention of avalanche and flooding, protect drinking water, provide shelter & food, Birds = reproduction of trees, stops the world from ending, and Humans = benefit from all this magic, cause unnecessary destruction
So what would happen if this one bird, the Clark’s Nutcracker, disappeared?
The trees would disappear; natural disasters prevail.
This is just one example of how everything on this earth is inter-connected and inter-dependent on each other. In a lecture, Alan Watts explains the idea of how everything on the planet – humans, flowers, weeds, birds, bees; EVERYTHING – only exists because everything around it also exists. Flowers only exist because of bees, and bees only exist because of flowers.
The rainforests of South America exist because of dust storms in Africa. The temperate climate of the American Northeast exists because of the rainforest in South America, and so on and so on.
Unfortunately, as humans, we need reminders to see the big picture. Most of us only see what’s right in front of us. We don’t see the connection between tiny little bees and the fact that they pollinate 70% of the global food source. We don’t see the connection between the fruit and vegetables in the supermarket and all of the human and animal labor that brought them there: farmers, pollinators, harvesters, bundlers, truckers, etc. We don’t see the connection between Earth, Space, Heavens.
We don’t see the big picture, so then we say, “I am only one person, how does anything I do make a difference?” Multiply that apathy by the 7.7 billion human population, and we have a big issue.
So with global warming becoming a legitimate, present moment threat, what can we do?
In chapter 3 verse 21 of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that a great person leads by example, setting standards that are followed by others all across the world. We’ve explored this verse before, but as Sharon Gannon says, with repetition magic is forced to arise!
Taking action can seem overwhelming at times,
but the actions we take can be subtle,
you don’t need to force your views on others.
Maybe the person behind you in your local coffee shop sees your reusable coffee mug, in the supermarket they see your reusable shopping bags, in the bodega they see you reach for the tofu wrap, on the park bench they see your reusable utensils. Maybe they go out to get their own reusable stuff, maybe it sparks a conversation. You are playing your part, and saving the planet spreads like wildflowers.
The ?sana practice can also teach us about the inter-connectedness of it all. The alignment of T???sana / ”Mountain Seat” exists within every single other ?sana we come into during class. (See Teaching Tips) All the ?sanas have the same physical alignment, they are just shaped different. Similarly, everything on this planet, living and inanimate, are made of the same elements, we are just shaped different.
The mountain, or let’s say Earth, is also the connection between all of the other forms we come into. We come into the form of humans – warriors and sages and saints, of animals – dogs, monkeys, birds, frogs, fish, insects. We come into the form of flowers and trees. We come into the form of tools – compasses, plows, boats. The mountain (Earth) is the common factor. Everything on this planet, even what we think of as inanimate objects, comes from this earth.
The practices of yoga – physical, spiritual and philosophical – teach us how to relate and connect to everyone and everything around us in a meaningful and supportive way.
T???sana / ”Mountain Seat” is also sometimes called Samasthiti / “Equal Standing”. The alignment of the ?sana is equally balanced – front/back, side/side, top/bottom – but also, we are on equal standing with the Earth.
This Earth takes care of us – offers us food, water, shelter, a way of life, but we should take care of her just as much.
sthira-sukham-?sanam (PYS 2.46) The connection to the Earth should be steady and joyful.
Focus of the month: Our Interconnectedness and the Environment
- June 2019: The Light of Knowledge
- May 2019: Our Interconnectedness and the Environment
- April 2019: LET YOUR SOUL BE YOUR PILOT
- March 2019: Feed the Birds
- February 2019:
- January 2019: Liberation Toolkit 2019
- December 2018: All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth
- November 2018: Big Brother is Watching You
- October 2018: AI
- September 2018: It’s Not That Easy Bein’ Green
- August 2018: H2OM
- July 2018: The Magic Ten & Beyond II
- June 2018: The Magic Ten & Beyond I
- May 2018: Our Parents and Our Yoga Practice
- April 2018: Black is the True Face of Light
- March 2018: March Madness
- February 2018: With great Love, all is possible
- January 2018: Now this is yoga as I have observed it in the natural world.
- 0000: Gathering of Tribes
- October 2017: Back to Basics
- September 2017: FED UP
- August 2017: DEVOTION TO SHRI KRISHNA
- July 2017: IN THE LIGHT OF LOVE
- June 2017: PRATYAHARA: WHERE WE PUT OUR ENERGY
- May 2017: Be the change you want to see in the world.
- April 2017: Jivamukti Yoga
- March 2017: Matsyendranath, The Fish
- February 2017: Beyond Emptiness
- January 2017: Jivamukti Yoga
- December 2016: Someone to Talk To
- November 2016: What is a person?
- October 2016: Behind the Facade
- September 2016: WHAT IS THE USE?
- August 2016: Pushtimarg
- July 2016: Guru Mantra
- June 2016: Why Asana?
- May 2016: A Mother's Love
- April 2016: Creative Action
- March 2016: The Reality of the Enlightened Mind
- February 2016: The Sound of Yoga
- January 2016: Remembering Goodness
- December 2015: Wildness
- November 2015: Wildness
- September 2015: Life After Life; Reincarnation and Yoga
- August 2015: It’s Not What You Say - It’s How You Say It
- July 2015: Why We Like War
- June 2015: Flesh, Blood, Bones, Empty Space
- May 2015: What Is the Meaning of Life?
- April 2015: Forgetting and Remembering
- March 2015: Untying the Knots That Bind Us
- February 2015: Storytelling
- January 2015: Time Was, Is, and Will Be