Monday, June 29, 2009

Have You Made This Planet a Better Place Today?

After yoga today, one of the students asked me, “Have You Made the Planet a Better Place Today?” I could hear the capital letters on those words. Once upon a time, that seemed such an easy request. I could plant a garden for healthy food. I could raise children who would grow up to be good people. I could campaign for honest politicians who would do good things. I could fix up my home to be more ecological and reduce my carbon footprint. But when all of that is done, can I honestly say that the world is a better place? And today? Did I do anything today to make the world a better place? I rode my bike to work. But I could have stayed home. My children are good people, but I could have had no children. I have helped elect an honest politician. Is the world really a better place? And what have I done today? Today I left my computer on when I went out of the house. Today, I took my clothes down from the line still damp, and finished drying them in the dryer because a rainstorm came up. Today, I did nothing special. Can I hold myself to a standard of doing one good thing every day? I don’t think so.
When I think of as making the planet a better place – it’s all about changing things I think are wrong. This makes the question even more complex. Is there a way to make the planet a better place without worrying about what is wrong? Does better imply that the current state is wrong? Is the simple act of discussing a what makes a better planet, a good deed? And for that matter, how will we really know when the planet is a better place? I think the only answer I can honestly give is, “I don’t know.” Whenever I said that in class, my teachers said, “Then go find out.” I consider myself to be an avid student, but I don’t know how to do that.

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