Newsletter November 2011
Ideas on developing internal sustainability
At a recent satsang (spiritual discourse) given on a Monday evening at Anahata Yoga Retreat Swami Gyan Dharma discussed how improving and beautifying our world comes from working on our internal world. Currently much attention is given to the sustainability of our external environment, so Swami Gyan Dharma was asked his views on developing internal sustainability. This is what he shared:
Internal sustainability has got to do with your perceptions. Some of the ways we perceive things are not very sustainable. There is a law operating in this universe which is the law of cause and effect. And in short this is our way of understanding the universe, which means what you give out is what you get back. It’s a simple formula, and not at all very mystical. For example when you smile at someone, they will smile back. If you shout at someone, they may shout back or go away feeling resentful. So what you give out is what you get back. It can work in different ways, and it is not always very clear or mathematical, but this is generally how it works.
So when we talk about internal sustainability it means you need to find a way to relate to the rest of life in a positive, creative, and loving way. This way you create a good situation for yourself. And when you create a good situation for yourself then your internal life can be sustained – there are not a lot of ups and downs in it. By cultivating the qualities of awareness, kindness, wisdom, devotion etc. you will find that the world mirrors these back at you. This means you create an environment internally and externally that is very easy to exist in, that is very positive to exist in, and that is very nourishing to exist in. That to me is internal sustainability. It has a lot to do with what you think and feel, and also what you do with your actions. If you act correctly, if you think correctly, if you feel correctly then you make your own internal life sustainable externally.
Practical Tips for Sustaining the Environment
In many little ways at Anahata we try to practice awareness around using resources in order to create a sustainable natural environment. Here are some simple ideas for sustainability you can put in place around your own home.
Have a compost system for disposing of kitchen scraps, which can then be put back into the soil to provide nourishment for plant life. You could also put food scraps in a simple worm farm, such as a Bokashi bin, and use the liquid that the worms produce on your plants.
Growing vegetables to use in simple salads and meals is an excellent practice for both internal and external sustainability. You not only feel good taking care of the plants and watching them grow, you also feel good eating the fresh produce from your garden. You don’t necessarily need to dig a garden to grow vegetables. You can fill old tyres with soil, use containers, or even rip open bags of potting mix to plant vegetables.
Be aware of the cleaning products you are using around the house and washing down the drain, and consciously buy organic products without the harsh chemicals. One cleaning alterative is using vinegar and water.
You can reduce the use of electricity through solar panels. You can install solar panels for heating water, or have a wetback system at the back of your wood fire. More simply you can buy little solar panel lights to brighten pathways at night instead of using floodlights.
Of course a simple way to save on electricity is to switch things off when you are not using them, especially lights.
Remember the phrase ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ and consciously make an effort to separate items from your rubbish that can be recycled such as paper, plastics, glass, and tins so that less waste is being placed in landfills. You can also look at packaging of items and try to buy things without too much unnecessary packaging.
One way to save money is to buy food in bulk. You can order your grains etc. through Chantal Organic Wholesalers, and if your order is over $100 they will deliver for free.
Another good way of consuming less is to set up clothing swap evenings with your friends where you can recycle unwanted items and take something new home to wear. At Anahata we have a residents clothing box which is always rummaged through for jumpers in the colder weather and outdoor working clothing.