This from Byron Katie addresses a concern a lot of people seem to have. Once more we get to know there is another way.
OK, Katie, I like your mindspace, however… How do you factor in the mindless destruction of the very systems on the living earth that allow our species to (up until now) sustain ourselves and grow?
My dearest Marv,
Destruction of the environment, for the time being, like it or not, seems to be the way of it. If you came to love death, you'd come to love life and how everything must die, must step back in order to live and grow. If you came to understand death, you could understand the miracle of life. There is nothing unkind about the falling away of a species, or even of the earth, except for the way that you understand it, the way that you believe what you think. Do you see the apparent deterioration of your own body as terrible? Do something about it! Then, ten years later, do something about that! And later, as you notice that you're even older, that your body has deteriorated beyond anything that you could prevent, do you see it as terrible? Your body is like the earth. Take another look. Maybe the word is not destruction, it certainly isn't for me. I see everything as the natural evolution that makes way for something even sweeter than what you know reality to be at its most beautiful. I have never seen, touched, smelled, kissed, loved anything dearer than my ninety-year-old mother's flesh in the last moment she lived and the first moment she died. And still that beauty remains, in my mind, and that penetrates my heart. I looked around at her deathbed and saw what came out of it, as I looked at her grandchildren and her children and saw the beauty of the way of it that I call mother. I only relish, am excited by, and love the way of it. Because I understand death, I love it as life, and in the peace of that, great change takes place in the world around me, and the change that takes place is peace and evolution in the kindest manner. It is the place of balance that solutions are born out of. It's the place where clarity allows solutions to live and thrive. And I follow that. It feels right. That is my direction, I am nature. Where change is possible, I am all over it. It's as built in to me as love is.
P.S. Stephen thought it might be interesting for you to read the following chapter from the new book he is helping me write (tentatively called The Way if It):
The world is perfect. As you question your mind, this becomes more and more obvious. Mind changes, and as a result, the world changes. A clear mind heals everything that needs to be healed. It can never be fooled into believing that there is one speck out of order. Even the person who says, "It's a terrible world" isn't out of order. To believe that the person who says this really believes it would be the only thing out of order.
But some people take the insight that the world is perfect and make it into a concept, and then they conclude that there's no need to get involved in politics or social or environmental action. That's separation. If someone came to you and said, "I'm suffering. Please help me," would you answer, "You're perfect just the way you are" and turn away? Our heart naturally responds to people and animals in need.
Realization has no value until it's lived. I would travel to the ends of the earth for the sake of one person who is suffering. The desperate one, the hopeless one, is an unenlightened cell of my own body. It's my own body I'm talking about; the body of the world is my body. Would I let myself drown in water that doesn't exist? Would I let myself die in an imagined torture chamber? "My goodness," I think, "there's someone out there who really thinks there's a problem." I remember when I used to think there was a problem. How can I say no when that person asks for help? That would be saying no to myself. So I say yes, and I go. It's a privilege. It's more than that: it's self-love.
Of course, people are perfect just the way they are, however deeply they're suffering. But they don't realize that yet. So when I meet someone who's suffering, I don't say, "Oh, there's no problem, everything is perfect." I can see that there's never a problem, I'm available to help him see that, and to tell him what I see would be unkind. That part of my body is suffering, everything is not perfect for him, because he believes it's not. I too have been trapped in the torture chamber of the mind. I hear what he thinks he needs, I hear his sadness or despair, and I'm available. That's full-blown activism. In the presence of someone who doesn't see a problem, the problem falls away-which shows you that there isn't a problem.
People ask me, "How can you listen to all these problems, day after day, year after year? Doesn't it drain your energy?" Well, it doesn't. I've investigated my stressful thoughts, and I've seen that every single one of them is untrue. Every thought that used to look like a poisonous snake is actually a rope. I could stand over that rope for a thousand years, and never be frightened of it again. I see clearly what some people don't yet see for themselves. Everyone in the world might see that rope and run screaming the other way, and I wouldn't be afraid for them, feel sorry for them, or worry about them at all, because I realize that they're not in danger, they're absolutely not in harm's way. As they cry snake, I see only rope.
If people have a problem with other people or with the state of the world, I invite them to put their stressful thoughts on paper and question them, and to go in for the love of truth, not in order to save the world. Go in for the love of truth. Save your own world. Turn it around. In that turnaround you remain active, but there's no fear in it, no internal war. So it ceases to be war trying to teach peace. War can't teach peace. Only peace can.
I don't try to change the world-not ever. It changes by itself, and I'm a part of that change. I'm absolutely, totally a lover of what is. When people ask me for help, I say yes. We inquire, and they begin to end their suffering, and in that they begin to end the suffering of the world.
I stand in my own truth and don't presume to know what's best for the planet. Knowing that the world is perfect doesn't mean that you withdraw or stop doing what you know is right for you to do. If, for example, you're concerned about the environment, please give us all the facts. Do a whole study of it, go to graduate school if you have to, help us out. And if you talk to us clearly, without an agenda or any investment in the results, we can hear you, because you're on our level. You're not talking to us from a superior, I-know position. If you know that we're all equal, that we're all doing the best we can, you can be the most powerful activist on the planet.
Love is the power. I know only one way to be an activist who can really penetrate the human race, and that is to give the facts, to tell your experience honestly, and to love without condition. You can't do a con job on the world, even if it were for the world's own good, because your righteousness will be seen through, and then you're on a stage debating a corporate polluter, and you start pointing your finger in rage. That's what you've been hiding when you believe "I know what's best for the planet."
When you come at a corporate official blaming him for destroying the atmosphere, however valid your information is, do you think that he'll be open to what you're saying? You're threatening him with your attitude, and the facts can get lost, because you're coming from fear and righteous anger. All he'll hear is that you think he's doing it wrong, it's his fault, and he'll go into denial and resistance. But if you speak to him without stress, in total confidence that everything is just the way it should be right now, you're able to express yourself kindly, intelligently and with no fear about the future. "Here are the facts. How can the two of us make it better? Do you see another way? How do you suggest that we proceed?"
Violence teaches only violence. Stress teaches stress. If you clean up your mental environment, we'll clean up our physical one much more quickly. That's how it works. And if you do that genuinely, without violence in your heart, without anger, without pointing at corporations as the enemy, then people begin to notice. We begin to listen and notice that change through peace is possible. It has to begin with one person. If you're not the one, who is?
The world will test you in every way, so that you can realize that last little piece that's unfinished inside you. It's a perfect setup. Checkmate.