Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Our Environment Is An Integrated Whole

--by Ganoba (Dec 15, 2014)

We have a very special relationship with our environment. The sooner we realize it, the better it is for all of us.

Life as we know it came into being because of the environment. Having given birth to it, it has nurtured and supported it and provided the playground for its evolution. It continues to do so in spite of the ravages caused to it by the modern man.

The environment in our living experience appears in five principle forms, namely the earth, water, air, space and energy. These five individually and in conjunction with the others take on millions of forms. For example, earth appears as dust, sand, boulders, hills and mountains; water appears as vapour, moisture, rain, streams, brooks, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceans, snow, glaciers etc.; energy appears as heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism and so forth. Air is a subtle element and hence we can only experience it in its various forms and moods.  Space is very subtle and so we sense it when it is missing or crowded out. Together they create this wonderful universe. Similarly life has taken on zillions of forms; the amphibians, the reptiles, the worms, the bacteria, the birds and beasts, the trees, the creepers, the bushes the algae and so forth.

Because of our reductionist ways of thinking and perception, we do not see that our environment is an integrated whole. We also do not see the oneness of life. We have cut it up into meaningless and lifeless shreds. We have also missed the wonderful relationship between life and the environment. Many people, particularly the indigenous ones, see the environment as the mother, playmate, lover or companion. They respect and love it, at times even worship it. Modern man sees it as a wild beast to be tamed, domesticated, mastered and then enslaved. 

The environment, taken as a whole, is our primary resource for living, play and evolution. When we break it up it loses life and meaning. That is what has happened with money. It is not part of the natural environment. It is a creation of man. Progressively it has become more virtual and artificial. Money does not fulfill any of our needs, either of sustenance or evolution. But we have come to believe this myth. We are living with many other myths. A most pernicious one is the existence of the individual independent of the environment.

Let us identify all these modern day myths and drop them. Then we can live truly as human beings playing our rightful role in the natural scheme of things.

Ganoba, formally Ganpati Krishna Date, was a long-time participant in various Awakin Circles around the world. As with his life, his passing was equally beautiful reminder about the values of 'oneness' that he deeply stood for.  People would often seek out his wisdom, but in place of writing formal books, he preferred to share dynamically with each person -- either via FaceBook or comments on Awakin.

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On Aug 3, 2014 Ann wrote:

The third paragraph disturbs me, however it could cause one to question themselves, by saying "Do I do that?" I agree with what he said about money, though I don't think it should be demonized, but respected as what it represents at the time/in the given situation.

On Dec 12, 2014 david doane wrote:

We are part of the environment, not apart from it.  Our DNA and the DNA of a plant or animal are much more alike than different.  As Deepak Chopra says, the air is my breath, the rivers and oceans are my blood and circulation, the earth and stars are my body.  What we do to the environment we do to ourselves.  So called primitive uncivilized people knew this, and we so called advanced people don't.  Since becoming aware of this, I to some degree see the oneness of all that is almost always, and my life is fuller because of this awareness.  I'm dropping the myth that the environment is ours to conquer, control and exploit.  I'm dropping the myth of a sky god and realizing the truth of earth god.  God and heaven are within our environment and us, and we are within God and heaven.  The American Indian,various cultures, Jesus and other spiritual leaders knew this.  Brother sun and sister moon are becoming my reality.  The words human and humus are derived from the same root -- that says it all.  Our environment including us is an integrated whole, if we see it or not.

On Dec 14, 2014 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 Our environment being an integrated whole means to me it is all interconnected and deserves to be honored and respected. I've experienced the oneness of life on many occasions, but several stand out. Walking in the woods and feeling so serene and peaceful; my heart felt this expansion as my lungs breathed in the fresh air and listened to the wind softly blowing through the leaves on the trees and the sun filtered down on my face. Small animals that I could not see scurried amongst the branches and forest flow. Birds sang.
Modern day myth dropped: Time is Money. In my life Time is Love. So many of us want to be more connected to one another and to the planet and are working towards that. If you ask some children how they spell love, they will respond T-I-M-E... Also dropped busy = worthy. Just being ourselves fully with love = worthy. Hugs from my heart to yours. Kristin

On Dec 16, 2014 George Blakey wrote:

 Thank you for your comments. I agree completely, and I appreciate your reference to Deepak Chopra's words.

On Dec 16, 2014 Syd wrote:

Making money is the means by which we become self-sufficient. This quest for success takes risks and when the risks reap financial rewards it creates pshchic rewards. There is enjoyment and high feeling when we prevail in challenging situations. There is also the enjoyment of work and work offers the arena to assert ourselves, and hence to maintain the sense of self. Making deals and taking risk is not only making money, it is a way of literally making more of ourselves.

Money is the yardstick which we measure ourselves and the success in life. Above all, money is the only thing we can depend on to feel self-sufficient. It is a source of security. Money seems certain. It is the sure means to get our way. Money is like ego inflation and once it is set in motion it is difficult to stop. So what is important about money is our ego and the other side of this coin is our pride.

The balancing between money and the ego, achieving something truly great for others, is getting past the ego. Getting past the ego can actualize an objective value, achieve real peace, or help others in concrete ways. The essence of greatness is the ability to find ways to alleviate the burdens of others and making life better for everyone. Peace and prosperity creates a common immediate circle to the world. This circle is not without ego, but the ego is in service of something outside. It influence others to obtain goals which is valuable to everyone.

The bottom line making money is empowering, and I hate to say this, but God is boring. The Psalm says, "Be still and know I am God" and to me this feels like resignation and giving up. When I am still my attention shifts away from any real needs. Ironically, I lose interest, little energy or little relating, and I drift off and others drift away. So this transcending the ego may take a high state of integration and transforming everything, but I have not adjusted to this black-hole where there is no achievement or no accomplishment. This stillness is closer to despair and depression than the glory of God.

I realize I want my ego gratified and I realize there is no making any sales pitch convincing to God to do otherwise. I just want to get out of this neutral gear and shift into overdrive of self-promotion. There is something within my ego that wants to advertise myself relentlessly and even make myself better than I am. However, this arrogant and cocky high impression never works, just as money never works to measure myself with God. I, therefore, feel bored and my experience of God is like gathering a cloud, which may produce great power or merely dissipate in the next breeze. Something is missing and I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I feel the lack none the less.

I can only say because I am not making money and I am on disability I am bored with life. Everything feels like nothingness. There is nothing to believe in, nothing true or nothing valuable. The darkness is rather perverse. There is also an underlying depths and a transformation within this nothingness that offers clarity. Yet to my ego mind I cannot understand it, so I feel boredom. Maybe there is a spiritual injunction "to be in the world but not of it" only I have not grasped this inner Essence that is beyond my ego mind. 

On Dec 16, 2014 david doane wrote:

 Syd -- I don't agree with many of your statements.  And some I agree with.  I hope you don't mind my offering my reactions to your statements.  Money isn't the means by which we become self-sufficient.  Actually, none of us are or will be self-sufficient -- we just aren't -- we are interdependent.  Sometimes financial rewards result in psychic rewards, but not always.  Money is a yardstick by which we measure ourselves and our success in some situations, definitely not all.  There are different yardsticks for different frames.  Money can be a source of financial security.  Money isn't certain and isn't the sure means to get our way.  You're right that when money acquiring is set in motion it is hard to stop.  Making money can be empowering in some ways.  Being still is difficult for me too, and I think that's because I'm not very good at it yet.  I want ego gratification, too.  No doubt something is missing, for you and me and each of us.  You're not bored because you're not making money and on disability.  You're saying that there is an underlying depth and a transformation within the nothingness that offers clarity strikes me as very positive and hopeful -- don't ruin it by trying to understand. 

On Dec 16, 2014 Always wrote:

 I never appreciated and embraced my environment as an integrated whole to the extent I do now.  Six years a dog owner, I am outside more than ever.  Just tonight, we walked the high ground (too wet and too dark to walk the valley) and enjoyed the falling snow, moderate temperature and stillness of the night.  I especially like when Kobe stops to smell footprints left by the dog that walked before him. As I stand in wait of him, I can fully take in the pure beauty of all that is around me.  The world and everything in it is "a gift" and needs to be treated as such.  

On Dec 16, 2014 JOY wrote:

 I read you.
in my world, however, God is Who I come home to.  Out in the world, I feel as if I am tossed in an ocean.  It matters not that I know how to swim because the body of water is too great and too deep for me to save myself without outside help.  God is my Help.
if I were in a "controlled environment" 24/7 (on the other hand) . . . Not free to use my God given mind, gifts and abilities . . . I would be less than happy.  There is little worse than someone else dictating your life.  For this reason, too, I seek God.  In Him, I live and move and can BE who He's called me to be.  Human bosses are not my favorite.  God is my Boss and today (this moment) He said, "write . . . Someone needs you". 

On Dec 17, 2014 Syd wrote:

David, I thank you deeply for being real with me and I thank you for telling me not to "ruin" my (our) transformation by trying to understand it.  From within your words I hear you saying I can no longer impose my thoughts on life.  This place seems like transcending rational thought and it moves into a level beyond comprehension, theories and symbols.  It feels like from this transformaton we become an observer or a witness.  It is learning to BE.  So I appreciate you being real with me, being concrete, and making truth a direct experience. 

Make no apology for who you are David, as your faith speaks for you, your stability and your support.    

On Dec 17, 2014 Sydf wrote:

Joy, thank you for your faith and thank you for allowing your faith to be your starting point in life.  Your faith is your value and you offer a special hope.  Thank you! 

On Dec 17, 2014 Joy wrote:


On Dec 17, 2014 salma arastu wrote:

 You are not alone in this world
You are woven like a tapestry
A million threads combined....
If a single thread is pulled
The beauty of the pattern is damaged
 If a single knot is opened
Nature’s balance is disturbed
There is a purpose for each color
Each stitch is measured
Designed with love and care
Keeping in place beauty, balance and wear
Your selfishness may cause an imbalance in the measured spaces
Rise above self, remain conscious and alert
If you ever find a thread pulled or broken
Mend it there and then
Don’t ever wait for the viewers to notice
Support each other such
That none may ever notice
Independent yet together
We create the fabric of life
You are not alone in this world
You are woven like a tapestry
With a million threads combined...

On Dec 18, 2014 Samatā wrote:

 A well written piece and a common theme to remember.

We do need to take the advice above, but remember that the main issues are the ways mind is relating to various objects.

The barter system is now seen as a more pure form of trade (than money) and engagement. But due to scarcity and greed it evolved from the basics, the essence, of giving. The US money system, once backed by gold, is another further step away from pure giving. Yet it is here and it will not go away as long as greed and scarcity prevail (both mindsets). We can't just do away with them, just as we can't do away with hatred and greed. Even in our own minds we have not this capacity, so how do we wish it upon others?

We need to dig in, and get to work on the very factors that have created these issues. Namely our own greed, ignorance, etc. and stop blaming systems that are generated by the very qualities we posses. Understanding that if greed itself were eradicated then whatever was left would function more purely be it political systems or money.

So enough talking a reading and playing these intellectual games. Sit still, focus on your breath, observe the chaos of your own body and mind until equanimity develops. Once this is solid then with a balanced mind change the world as a firm example.

In metta,

On Dec 18, 2014 me wrote:

 Truth is most beautiful . . . Thank you for sharing!  
In metta, no one alone, we are all connected.  

On Dec 19, 2014 Dilip Shah wrote:

 I wanted to share a comment about this week's guest speaker Awakin gathering with Rev. Heng Sure. His stories of being at gunpoint at several points during his bowing pilgrimage made me think about the source of gun violence. Americans value and respect power, and guns can offer a false sense of power and security. From my view as a Jain, homicide is never justified. It was rewarding to hear about how these two monastics continued to wish people well, no matter how much violence or power people tried to hold over them. 

On Jan 18, 2015 Catherine Peyreaud wrote:

 when I was in the middle of a tropical and primary forest with the chief of an indigenous community showing me the interconnection between each plant, flowers, fruits, animals, insects, and trees and the impact of the moon, the sun, the rain,etc..I realized how much I was part of a whole, that I couldn't live without the Nature, I felt totally in fusion with the Universe... such an abondance of wealth!! what else do I need?... this experience helps me quite a lot to remain aware of the "present moment", to "savor" the moment, to thank the Divine for its generosity. It makes me feel happy also gives me strength to pursue my modest daily acts to be the change I wish to see in the paying more attention to others needs, by diving more and more into gift economy...and I receive so much, so much love....