Reflecting back on the last 10 years of my life, I smile in sweet remembrance on one particular incident that nudged me on a path I never imagined. In 2000, lost and confused, I went back to school to get my master’s degree. In one class, an off-the-wall yet brilliant professor pointed me in the direction of a mindfulness retreat, where I was introduced to seated-, walking-, eating-, and nature-based meditation techniques.
I wasn’t sure what awakened in me after the retreat, but I knew something had shifted. I was no longer satisfied by the surface-level elements that held value in my life. Worthiness from a car, self-love related to money, and constant thoughts of superiority were no longer feeding me in a sustainable way. I recognized what Rabbi Hillel encapsulates so beautifully in his quote, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?”
It is the practice of meditation, hatha yoga, and other contemplative methods that empowers me to step back, observe, and make more conscious, empowered, and nourishing decisions around what I think, feel, say and do in my life. In this process of stepping back and seeing more, I awakened to my interconnected nature with others as well as the natural world. Today, I find myself infatuated with our blue planet as I recognize that its health is the prerequisite that allows me to live the life I love.
What makes this more delightful is knowing that there are many others walking this path of “greater consideration.” All of us who pause and contemplate the effects of our actions, purchases, and politics are lucky to be able to realize the ripple effects that these decisions create on our personal health, planetary well-being, and the welfare of future generations. From offsetting carbon, using recycled paper and investing in renewable energy, to supporting restaurants that use local food, growing our own veggies, and picking up trash on the street, each one of us can make a difference.
I often marvel at how so many of us are awakening and choosing this path of consideration. It’s so much easier to think about the bottom line, to gratify our wants at any cost, to buy and buy without reflection on social or environmental impacts. But it’s also important to ask ourselves, What value do we get from things and actions that are intangible, and how might these more deeply nourishes us?
Share your thoughts on what added value is brought to your life when you line up with your inner—or nature’s—intelligence.
To further your development as an eco-yogi, here are a few resources that might pique your interest:
© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.