Sadhguru looks at how plant life is very sensitive and supportive to creating a meditative atmosphere, and speaks of how ecological responsibility is not an obligation, once we realize we are an integrated life.
Sadhguru: Plant life is very sensitive to your emotions and thoughts – especially certain types of plants. Generally, they say the ficus variety, like the banyan tree and others in that family, are very sensitive. This is the reason why they are always chosen for meditative purposes in India, because if you do your sadhana under that tree, it creates an atmosphere, it becomes like a meditation hall by itself.
If you create the necessary energy, plants are very sensitive to it. When we were in the process of working towards the Dhyanalinga, I found that certain plant life were somehow responding and cooperating with the whole process. That was truly incredible. If you have lots of trees and lots of meditation going, it is much easier to preserve the meditative quality in that area because plants and trees retain that quality very easily. There are some trees which are even today, said to be very powerful.
There are many legends like this. They say when Gautama Buddha walked, trees bloomed out of season. It could be just a poetic expression but it could also be a fact because it is very much possible. In the Biligiriranga Hills [in Karnataka, South India], there is a tree called Dodda Sampige. It is a very large Sampangi tree which is said to be a few thousand years old. They say Agastya Muni planted this tree and there are many stories about it. Usually, the lifespan of this tree is maybe a few centuries, but this one has lasted very long. You would probably never see a Sampangi tree like this, the way it has knotted up and become so big and massive.
In this culture, there has been a tradition of preserving trees for thousands of years and treating it as an embodiment of life and wisdom. None of those aspects are well-preserved today and they are mostly gone, but the tradition has been there where people looked up to the tree to realize many things out of that.
Ecology and You
I happened to be at an Economic Summit in Europe and a very well-known professor came up to me and said, “Oh, you are that amazing tree planter?” I said, “No, I am not a tree planter.” He replied, “No, no, you planted so many million trees” “Yes, but I am not a tree planter.” Then he asked, “What do you do?” I said, “My work is to make human beings flower.” If human beings flower into a higher level of understanding, awareness and involvement with the environment in which we exist, we will see that we and the environment are not two words, they are just we. To put it extremely simply, as you breathe, what you exhale, the trees are inhaling. What the trees exhale, you are inhaling. Only one-half of the respiratory equipment is in your chest. Another half is hanging up there on the tree. If you do not take up the other half, this half will not exist by itself.
Right now we are looking at ecological concerns as an obligation to fulfill. It is not an obligation, it is our life. Somewhere we believe only we are life, and everything else is not life. This is happening because the whole experience of life is limited to the physical sensations of life. What one thinks is life is just his body, so he thinks only he is life, and the rest is not. If you are spiritually aware, then you would naturally know that everything is life. No one would have to tell you to protect the ecology. People are talking about ecological awareness today not because of overwhelming love for other creatures, but because they have begun to realize, “My life is under threat right now. If this continues, I will not live and my children will not live. We have to do something about it.” Someone has reminded you that your survival is under threat. This is a very unfortunate way of caring for other life around us.
Our lives are not separate from each other; our life is an integrated, connected life. How healthy the worms are today will determine how healthy we are tomorrow. Spirituality essentially means an all-inclusive experience. When there is an all-inclusive experience, being concerned and caring about everything around you is very natural because anyone who looks into himself, anyone who turns inward, naturally realizes that his existence and the outside existence are not different.
Editor’s Note: To read more about the state of the environment and what we can do about it, download the ebook, A Tree Can Save The World.
To get involved with Project GreenHands, Isha Foundation’s environmental initiative, visit this page.