“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.”
— John Lubbock
A Positive Shift for Pachamama, by Conscious Contributor Paul Rendé
I was mesmerized by the mysterious emerald green water that was reflecting the glimmering rocky mountainside that towered above it. I couldn’t move from the rock on which I was sitting, as if anchored by a thousand-pound weight. The water was so unbelievably still and clean, mirroring the sky above. A few large birds of the Andean condor family glided effortlessly overhead of my perch by the lakeside. This was arguably the most peaceful I had ever felt as I was lost for hours in the serenity and grandeur of the nature in which I was immersed. I was in harmony with the land, the water, the animals, the wind that would whip intermittently and the omnipresent spirit of the Incas that had roamed these majestic Andes mountains in the Sacred Valley of Peru hundreds of years ago.
I was fully present as the palpable life force emanating from these slopes and waters washed over me and soaked me in harmonious bliss. I could feel the pulse of the land communicating with me, just as the giant Ceiba tree had done only days prior in the Amazonian jungle of Tambopata, Peru. The earth was so vibrantly alive, yet calm, and was warmly welcoming me into its fold. Fast forward two weeks and I found myself consumed with this same feeling of unity and connection as I climbed the 1200-plus narrow steps to reach the summit of the Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida) in the jungles of Northern Colombia’s Sierra Nevada mountains. I was transfixed as I stood atop the highest of 169 mountainside terraces of this ancient abandoned city. Not only did I marvel at the greatness of the architectural achievement of the Tairona people who built it, but I was immediately captivated by the energy and vibration of the dense jungle and mountains that had acted as their guardian against foreign aggression. My experiences in these remote places of South America blasted open my eyes, heart and consciousness and forged a new relationship between me and the natural world in which there was no separation and certainly no place for continued human pillaging.
Conversely, in the time since I first stepped foot in Peru just over a year ago, Mother Earth (Pachamama in the Quechua language) has become increasingly restless and enraged and has displayed her formidable power. Natural disasters have been continuously escalating: severe rains, flooding and landslides ravaged Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Peru, Colombia, China, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, successive hurricanes of unforeseen force battered the Caribbean islands and Southern United States, California was consumed by the largest wildfires in the modern history of the state, major volcanic eruptions intensified along the Ring of Fire in Indonesia, Sumatra, Japan and the Philippines and devastating earthquakes struck Iran and Mexico.
In total, these disasters claimed thousands of lives and caused unprecedented damage to the land and infrastructure of the affected areas. It has recently been revealed that Cape Town, South Africa is in imminent danger of completely running out of water caused by years of extreme drought, over development, population growth and climate change (Welch, C. (2018, February 2). “Why Cape Town Is Running Out of Water, and Who’s Next.” National Geographic. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com). As well, the Arctic is experiencing average daily temperatures that are shattering previous measurements of the last sixty years (Hannan, P. (2018, February 26). ‘Really extreme’ global weather event leaves scientists aghast. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.au). Although the aforementioned places have historically been prone to natural disasters, the frequency and intensity of these calamitous events has been steadily growing at an alarming rate.
Despite the denial of climate change by some, it is clearly evident to most that it is imperative for us to address and significantly alter our relationship with the natural world. As the indigenous Kogi tribe who live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains proclaim, we humans are offspring of a creator whom they call Aluna, or the Great Mother. They believe that their tribe are the elder brothers who are responsible for nurturing and protecting Aluna and that we, the rest of the human race or the younger brothers as they refer to us, must heed their call to reform how we treat the Great Mother or risk all of us becoming extinct. The Kogi, along with all the other indigenous people with whom I spoke, stressed the need for us to revere the natural world as our mother and to view all things physical and spiritual alike as interconnected. What we, especially in the West, lack is this symbiotic relationship with the world in which we live. Whereas many view the earth as their temporary playground and treat it as such, we need to adopt the role as honorable stewards of the land, air, seas, animals and plants. As the earth thrives so do we humans. Everything we need to subsist can be found in nature and the remaining man-made things are simply superfluous indulgences.
With each day, the environment is being savagely plundered by our ignorance, hubris and greed, and our valuation of “need” vs “want’ is greatly distorted and misunderstood. Moving forward, it is incumbent upon all of us to examine our relationship with the living, breathing world that we are so fortunately blessed to be a part of in all its majestic beauty. We can begin individually with our lifestyle choices, namely what, how much and how frequently we consume, carefully choosing our food and drinks, clothing, use of fossil fuels and methods of building and infrastructure. How we are sustainably disposing of the waste from our consumption is also of paramount importance. Our personal accountability goes hand-in-hand with the dire need for institutional innovation across the globe. We the people must affect this change by speaking passionately from the heart as well as employing the one language understood by the capitalist paradigm and that is money. We can affect the positive shift we so sorely need by amending how we live and who we support both financially and politically. Our oftentimes myopic view must widen and focus and be fed from the heart and spirit that is directly connected to our source, Pachamama.
Looking for More Earth-Related Content?
We’ve got you covered. Conscious Good has an entire pilar dedicated to Mother Earth and all of herremarkable wonders. Experience a meditation on surfing and the ocean or learn about climate change through poetry and vivid imagery. From there, you can delve deeper into the connections between various social and environmental issues. ‘Waste Enterprises’ is the story of Ashley Murray, Founder & CEO of Pivot Works and her power move of creating a sanitation revolution that will propel Africa to the forefront of human waste reuse. And if you’re thirsty for more, ‘A Thousand Suns‘ tells the story of the Gamo Highlands of the African Rift Valley and the unique worldview held by the people of the region. Conscious-minded individuals with Earth on the brain will not be disappointed.