New Year. New You. Be Green.
Pujya Swamiji’s Evergreen New Year’s Blessing
Dear Divine Souls,
At this beautiful time of New Year, as we say goodbye to 2017 and usher in 2018, let us pledge to give birth to a New Dream and inspire us to live green, more eco-friendly lives, in every moment and in every minute of our lives.
This past year, it seems that each day when we see the news, it has been filled with the tragedy of violence, terrorism, polluted air and water, desiccated waterways, and soil contaminated by chemicals and toxins.
We may feel despair and dismay at this news, due to our perceived lack of ability to effect real change, due to our perceived helplessness and futility in this vast universe and due to our perceived isolation in the world. I say “perceived” because that is exactly the problem: an error in our perception. God has graced us all with a very special, unique and significant role to play in this world, and we are neither helpless nor futile. Our unique role is also seamlessly intertwined and interconnected with every other living being. Let me share a story with you: A famous orchestra was rehearsing in New York City before a major performance. This orchestra was one of the largest, most complex symphonies ever to play together. Hundreds and hundreds of musicians and singers came together under the leadership of one of the world’s most renowned conductors.
This orchestra played as part of a famous ballet. As the music played, the dancers danced a drama of great beauty. One night, the piccolo (a very small instrument you play with your mouth) player thought to himself, “What difference do I make anyway? I’m the smallest instrument here; my music is so soft you can barely here it in an empty room, let alone as part of a huge orchestra. What’s the point of practicing all the time, rehearsing all the time, working so hard, just to be another useless part of this orchestra?” So he decided to stop playing. The musician held the piccolo close to his mouth, so it would look like he was still playing. But, he did not play his instrument.Within moments the dance became confused; ballerinas who had danced the same ballet night after night suddenly lost their step. The audience could sense something was amiss and grew restless in their seats. The conductor immediately shouted, “Where is the piccolo?”
We, too, may feel like the small piccolo at times, small and voiceless in a great ocean of other instruments, all of which seem more powerful than we are. However, each of us has been given a unique and significant role to play in the ballet of life. We may not be able to hear the sound of our own instrument, and thus we think we are insignificant. But, God, the great Conductor, hears all, sees all and knows all. He has put us in His orchestra and He is depending upon us to play our part. Hence, even in global challenges of climate change and terrorism we each have a very real and significant role to play. The choices we make in our everyday life impact the kind of world we are building now and for the future. Hence, living “green” reminds us to live like Mother Nature, interconnected, alive, growing, changing and sharing with one another. There is a beautiful example we can take from the Redwood forest:
The Redwood forests in California are hundreds of years old. These gorgeous and often times mammoth trees grow hundreds of feet tall, so you would assume that their roots must be deeply rooted into the ground in order to support such huge, strong growth. Yet, the roots of the redwood tree are actually not deep at all. Rather, their support comes from the fact that they are interconnected with the roots of the trees around them. In this way, the entire forest is held up by every tree being connected to those next to it. A signal from one tree can pass through an entire large forest by the intricate network of interlinking roots.This is the same in our lives. When we feel we are isolated and alone in this world, when we feel our actions don’t matter, we don’t realize that every action, every choice and even every thought is connected, deeply to the world in which we live. Our own actions, choices and habits are the seeds which create our world.
So at this time of the New Year, let us resolve to bring into our lives the strong connection of the Redwood Trees. Let us realize that our own growth and our own roots are sustaining and nourishing the community and the world around us. Living a more eco-friendly “green” life, making choices of what to eat, buy and wear based not merely on our desires but on our interlinked family across the world, being vegetarian, choosing compassion, service and love — these choices are the most natural outcome of our own essence.
Let us all have renewed faith, renewed vigor and renewed enthusiasm for our invaluable, irreplaceable role in the beautiful dance of life. Let us vow to play our instrument (whatever we have been given) with as much devotion, commitment and zeal as we can. We are all crucial parts of God’s orchestra and He is listening with as much attention to the small piccolo as to the huge tuba. No matter what our role may be in the orchestra, we can be a source of inspiration and love for those around us, co-creating with the Divine Conductor, a symphony for the whole world of love, peace and consciousness.
With love and blessings,
In service of God and humanity,
Swami Chidanand Saraswati