There are more stars in the Universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth.” – Carl Sagan
I love this quote because it beautifully illustrates the fact that as mutually small as we are, we are each undeniably part of something much greater than ourselves. As human beings, we are all inhabitants of this singular planet, yet close to 7+ billion of us create and live in our own little egocentric worlds. While going with the daily flow of work, school, and play, it becomes so easy to neglect the power that our individual existence can have on our shared community. Sure, a judgment here, a solo SUV drive there, or litter everywhere won’t pose any immediate consequences, so why should we care? As the actors of change in the world (see: Anthropocene), everything we do is building up just like a wave – one that will succumb to the pressure of gravity and eventually come crashing down.
To put that in perspective: in the last 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than all of previous history. Unfortunately, the tipping point of the wave is in our near future. We all share the same planetary home and are all in this life together. To be aware of your impact as part of the collective thoughts, feelings, and actions of an aggregate of people is to embody the definition of consciousness.
Here are my favorite 3 ways to practice daily consciousness for the purpose of improving the relationship with your own being, others, and the Earth.
“A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.” – Scott Stollg
Get down and around with biking: In contrast to maneuvering 2 tons of heavy machinery while driving, biking generates a unique level of awareness by making you feel vulnerable to elements of nature and the bustle of life around you. It facilitates a greater consciousness for your surroundings, a sense of being grounded, and the most efficient/environmentally friendly way of transportation. Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon. In addition to being a great way to exercise, to be on a bike blazing through the streets while soaking in the wind, sun, and sounds is a cathartic experience, to say the least.
Mind + Soul
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” – Albert Einstein
Cleaning up pollution of the mind through meditation: To practice inner-body and mind awareness is the purest form of consciousness. Meditation is like a plant baby. When you cultivate a seed with TLC, the more it flourishes. That awakening aligns with the energy of the Earth, bringing greater harmony into the planet. This is effect amplified even more when integrated with a regular yoga practice – a great way to start exercising full body awareness.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
You really are what you eat: It’s time to take food seriously. After all, your body is the only place you have to live. Food consciousness bridges the disconnect between where our food comes from and what ends up on our plates. From improving the health of our own bodies to that of the environment, consciously sourced (home-grown/local/organic/sustainable) food gives on every level.
- Knowledge = empowerment: Question everything you eat, read food labels, and Google ingredients you don’t know.
- Eat with low environmental impact and high nutrition: Make at least one meal a day vegan and uncooked (vitamins and enzymes are often lost with heat). Huge salads and smoothies are the best!
- Every dollar is a vote: Whenever possible, support local farmers and environmentally conscious businesses.
- Grow your own food: the only way to truly know where it came from and what’s in it.
“Consciousness, rather than being something that we have, is something that we have to participate in.” – Grant Morrison
So after you bike to your next yoga class, head on over to UT’s Concho Community Garden to participate in the practices of in food consciousness, sustainable agriculture, and environmental cooperation. Let’s grow together!
– Lily Nguyen, Director of Concho Community Garden