Harmony. It’s a beautiful word, isn’t it? Harmony makes the world go round, no, more accurately, it makes the world go right. I’m in the midst of reading His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’ book “Harmony: A New Way of Looking at the World.” Boy, what an eye opener! To be honest, HRH is preaching to the choir as far as I am concerned, but I cannot help but be impressed with his vast knowledge and deep devotion to preserving our planet and the integrity of ancient, indigenous cultures that instinctively knew just how much to take from the Earth for their use and how much to give back.
HRH posits quite convincingly that the Age of Enlightenment triggered humanity’s disconnect from Nature. Over the past few centuries, we’ve grown to believe that human beings are above the chain of being that extends from the simplest rock up to the most highly advanced sentient creatures. Somehow, we’re above all that and are free to plunder and pillage the Earth’s resources at will. Not so!
We are all interconnected in a delicate dance that flows only when all the dancers are in step. All earthly life follows the same cycle of birth, growth, decline, death and rebirth. Think about it. Your backyard garden or vegetable patch provides a prime example of the drama that plays out on a global scale with the passing of the seasons. Or, what about a not-so-obvious example: our careers. We start out new, fresh, and ambitious, grow in the knowledge of our particular profession, begin to slow down as we inch toward retirement, leave that career behind, and start the cycle anew as we enter into the next phase of our lives. Well, at least that was the plan, until the Great Recession did a lot of us in, including me. (Retirement? What’s retirement? But hopefully you catch my drift.)
I had hoped that the financial crisis would knock some sense into our culture, wake us up to the endless, unsatisfying cycle of consumption upon which our lives are based. We move from purchase to purchase, hoping to fill the void in our souls, but in the end it doesn’t work. The only people who benefit are the Chinese manufacturers who supply us with the stuff we think we need. And where do these items end up when their usefulness has been exhausted? The landfill, of course. Consumerism’s graveyard. We’ve got to slow down, people! Take a step back, look around, reconnect with Nature. That’s all you need to fill your soul. It’s been right there in front of us all along.