Love of the Earth

“You carry Mother Earth within you,” says Thay. “She is not outside of you.”


Thich Nhat Hanh interview with Jo Confino, an executive editor of the Guardian



I am so grateful for the message of Thich Nhat Hanh who gets right to crux; the missing, fundamental principle of why so many humans do not love the Earth and thus will not sacrifice for that which they do not love.


“You carry Mother Earth within you,” says Thay. “She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. In that kind of relationship you have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change your life. Changing is not just changing the things outside of us. First of all we need the right view that transcends all notions including of being and non-being, creator and creature, mind and spirit. That kind of insight is crucial for transformation and healing.

Fear, separation, hate and anger come from the wrong view that you and the Earth are two separate entities, the Earth is only the environment. You are in the centre and you want to do something for the Earth in order for you to survive. That is a dualistic way of seeing. So to breathe in and be aware of your body and look deeply into it and realise you are the Earth and your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Not to cut the tree not to pollute the water, that is not enough.”







Killing Disease and Pain

Perhaps pain and sickness is the physical manifestation of a spiritual imbalance, an inner conflict.

Approaching this conflict with an attitude of doing harm to whatever is causing simply adds energy to the very situation that you are opposing.  What just crossed my mind is the turning of the other cheek suggested by the Christ.  And then there is the admonition about loving your enemies.  Such thoughts are so 180 degrees out from our culturally derived responses to what we dislike or hate.  Now, I’m not claiming that I could love my pain or surrender to it.  However, on some level it does have personal merit for me.

So, is there a reasonable explanation for the admonitions cited above?

The first step in healing, for oneself or another, is to accept and direct loving vibes toward the area.  Speak to it and express your understanding and sympathy for the inner conflict that has brought it forth.  Then, gently ask that this entity to move on.  Express your understanding for the entity’s need to lash out but at the same time, ask that it respects your need to thrive.  When the entity observes the depth of loving power that you are bringing to the situation it realises that it cannot feed itself any longer.  It realises that you refuse to strengthen it with your negativity.  It also realises the depth of your strength and knows that it cannot survive around your spiritual, psychic -whatever description suits – power.  What I have just said may be pure hogwash, but I very seriously stand firm on the point that fighting the dis-ease with a “kill it” intention simply leads to greater pain and suffering.



It is now 12 hours or since I wrote the text posted above.  I placed it as a comment to a posting I saw on Facebook.  Several hours later I read some sarcastic comments about my comment so removed it completely rather than get into negativity or be scorched by someone who has chronic pain and thinks I don’t have the right to speak.  As you will recall, I was careful to use the word “perhaps” in my post.  I had not read this article below this morning and now know that I am not the only person on this planet that talks to his body!



Your Cells Are Listening: How Talking To Your Body Can Help You Heal

Dec 31, 2015


By Therese Wade, MSc, Wake Up World where this was originally featured.



“Every part of your body has its own consciousness or its own soul.” These transformative words, spoken by indigenous medicine women, began my journey within to discover the extraordinary healing capacity of the human body.

When this perspective was introduced to me, I was suffering from a severe chronic pain disorder. I suddenly imagined incorporating this concept into my meditation routine. I thought: Can my body hear me? Can I talk to it to gain its cooperation in healing this condition?

That night, after reaching a state of deep calm through meditation, I inwardly engaged my body in a heartfelt conversation, with hope, but having no idea what to expect. After about one hour of this focused communication, something amazing happened. My tissues began to respond. Connective tissue pulled and stretched apart layers of scar tissue. Nerves fired and my calf muscles began to perform flexion and extension exercises independently of my conscious control. As this response continued, one of my calf muscles that had become paralyzed by the neuropathic condition — diagnosed as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy — came back to life as electric-like jolts shot through the area.

My heart pounded as I realized that the path to my freedom from this condition had finally begun. With a background in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, I knew too well how prevalent chronic pain is in this country and I wondered what the implications of this phenomenon could mean to so many others who were suffering. As I continued to make progress with my condition, I organized my approach into a system that I could teach to clients and shifted my professional focus to hypnotherapy.

When instructing my clients, I explain that a regular meditation practice is necessary to train the brain to enter alpha and theta brain wave states. While in these states, communication between the conscious mind and the physical body is dramatically enhanced. I have found that when communicating, there are three key steps to gaining the cooperation of the body:


  • Approach your body with genuine compassion, understanding that it is made up of conscious cells who experience emotions.
  • Build trust by engaging your body in positive mental conversations about your desire for the two of you to cooperate and overcome the ailment.
  • Allow changes in the conversation by using different thoughts and words that elicit spontaneous elevated emotions.


Alan Beat’s New Book


Some of you may remember that Alan Beat started the Smallholders online newsletter back a few years ago during the disgraceful burning of thousands of cattle and sheep here in the UK.  The newsletter was extremely informative and also served as a communications vehicle especially for those smallholders who had their land invaded by government personnel who often burned healthy cattle and sheep tested perfectly free of foot and mouth just in case!!  I think it is fair to say that Alan’s research and experience qualified him as, at least, one of the best informed farmers in the UK on the subject.


The following information contains the details of Alan’s new blog on Mother Earth News.



Here is the main reason why vaccination was prohibited:


“Currently, the World Organisation for Animal Health recognizes countries to be in one of three disease states with regard to FMD: FMD present with or without vaccination, FMD-free with vaccination, and FMD-free without vaccination.[24] Countries designated FMD-free without vaccination have the greatest access to export markets, so many developed nations, including Canada, the United States, and the UK, work hard to maintain their current status. Some countries such as Brazil and Argentina which have large beef exporting industries, practise vaccination in some areas but have other vaccination-free zones.”


These were frightening and extremely sad days for many farmers and smallholders in the UK who were victims of the decision not to vaccinate.


“Alan Beat trained as a mechanical engineer, working 20 years in the profession before making a deliberate change of lifestyle by moving to a 16-acre smallholding (homestead) with his family in 1987. He restored an historic water mill to working order, and now grinds locally grown organic wheat for demonstration and to feed his family. Alan has written a regular monthly feature in Country Smallholding magazine for the past 25 years and has contributed to a number of other UK publications on a freelance basis.”


Smallholding: A practical guide to self-sufficient living Paperback – 16 Jun 2015


Alan is an established author with six, 5 star Amazon reviews of his first book on the subject:  A Start in Smallholding.






“What the Paris Agreement does is create many jobs”


Polly Higgins

The Universe is Not About Us!

“If the view of the universe revealed to us by modern science is even approximately accurate—and, like Lovecraft, I have no doubt of this—then the entire history of our species, from its emergence sometime in the Pleistocene to its extinction at some as yet undetermined point in the future, is a brief incident on the wet film that covers the surface of a small planet circling an undistinguished star over to one side of an ordinary galaxy. Is it important, that brief incident? To us, surely—but only to us. In Lovecraft’s words, we are ‘faced by the black, unfathomable gulph of the Outside, with its forever-unexplorable orbs & its virtually certain sprinkling of utterly unknowable life-forms.’ Notice the adjectives here: unfathomable, unexplorable, unknowable. What he’s saying here, and throughout his fiction as well, is plain: the message of deep time and deep space is that the cosmos is not there for our benefit.”

John Michael Greer


One could say: The universe is not about us!



The Flutter of Space Bat Wings


Why we Fly as Little as Possible

Why we fly as little as possible



Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change

By JUSTIN GILLIS           NOV. 28, 2015


Is there anything I can do?

Fly less, drive less, waste less.


“Perhaps the biggest single thing individuals can do on their own is to take fewer airplane trips;

 just one or two fewer plane rides per year can save as much in emissions as all the other actions combined. If you want to be at the cutting edge, you can look at buying an electric or hybrid car, putting solar panels on your roof, or both.”









Living in Concept

Albert Camus on Happiness, Unhappiness, and Our Self-Imposed Prisons


“Those who prefer their principles over their happiness, they refuse to be happy outside the conditions they seem to have attached to their happiness.”


“For what gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure we have. One can no longer cheat — hide behind the hours spent at the office or at the plant (those hours we protest so loudly, which protect us so well from the pain of being alone). I have always wanted to write novels in which my heroes would say: ‘What would I do without the office?’ or again: ‘My wife has died, but fortunately I have all these orders to fill for tomorrow.’ Travel robs us of such refuge.”


I relate strongly to these insights.  As I grow older, I realise how attached I am becoming to my routines; they become habits that I cling to and begin to cherish.  They tend to cement me to the familiar where I wallow in a trough of certainty and complacency.  Why is this a problem?  Seeing only the familiar often results in not seeing or hearing at all what’s actually there.  We live in concept, we see what we know is there and hear what we know is being spoken or brought forth.  As this article says, we build walls and encase ourselves in a “self-Imposed prison.”

Beautiful Vision

I was happy to receive the email post on the Drala Jong Appeal – The Art of Living, posted on Monday, 19 October, 2015.  Within was the first “Visions for Drala Jong” posting in a series by Ngakma Yeshé Zértsal who lives in New Jersey.  Ngakma Yeshé Zértsal suggests, as I understand, that Drala Jong could become a Bayul or Beyul, a Hidden Land.  Such places already exist in the Himalayan regions of surrounding countries.  What a beautiful vision.  The very idea touches me deeply and I suggest that it is worth deep and serious consideration.  Perhaps, here in the UK, we might not find a valley.  Surely this will be fine.  Regardless of the ensuing harm being done to our beautiful, living and loving planet, both the source and manifestation of beauty can be found in many, many places.  I realise that some thinkers do not approve of the idea of a sacred place; a special place more sacred than others and propose that all is sacred or none is sacred.  So be it.  I find that some places almost stop my heart with the power of what I can only call beauty.  Thus, I hold to my experience of “especially sacred” places.  Drala Jong can and I hope will be such a place.


How?  Well, for instance.  I am an amateur musician and as would be expected, have some measure of talent and respect for beautiful music.  A musical instrument or a vocal cord may be scratchy, worn, dented; even rusty.  Yet in special hands or people, beautiful music can emerge.  So is the beauty held within the object or within the person?  The answer seems obvious to me.  It takes a beautiful soul expression to produce beautiful music.  Similarly, the common brick, mortar, pond, grove, flower garden, paddock, hill, vale etc., can become especially beautiful and especially sacred from the vision and loving power expressed by those who labour and concentrate the ever present, undiminished loving spirit of the Earth into their work and presence on the land.  Thank you, Ngakma Yeshé Zértsal for sharing your vision of Drala Jong.


Sky McCain

An Aro Friend

21 October, 2015

It Takes a Healthy Planet to Birth Healthy Beings

It Takes a Healthy Planet to Birth Healthy Beings


A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. ~ Max Planck


Earth is what we all have in Common ~ Wendell Berry


The other day, weeding the spot where last year’s runner beans had grown, I found a fallen bean that had started to sprout. Already there were little pink nitrogen nodules clinging to its tiny roots and the sight of them took me instantly back to my days in Australia, working to fill our thirty acres of over-grazed land with new trees. One of the important lessons I learned was that in order to ensure survival of nitrogen-hungry eucalypt species, one should first plant hundreds of fast growing but short-lived wattle trees. These take nitrogen from the air, accumulate it on their roots and release it into the soil when they die. This interdependence of living organisms, this beautiful symbiosis that we find happening everywhere we look in Nature is, according to the late Lynn Margulis, every bit as basic to life on Earth as the random genetic mutations theorised by Charles Darwin. Gaia, our planet, wastes nothing, recycles everything. Over and over we find that the waste from one organism is food for another. Interdependence is a basic law of Nature.


Organic farmers and vegetable growers know this, which is why they use methods like crop rotation, composting, companion planting and so on. It is a well-proven fact that organic growing methods and the avoidance of pesticides, GMOs, irradiation or chemical fertilisation, strengthens the health of both the soil and the crops and frequently improves yields. It is also beyond doubt that organically produced food is the healthiest option for all creatures, including humans. To be healthy we need healthy food and to grow healthy food we rely on that great bed of nurturing fertility on the Earth’s crust that we call soil. We need that soil to be healthy because we have learned a lot about how healthy plants grow out of healthy soil. We must also keep in mind that our metabolic regulatory patterns were formed from our environment as we evolved. Thus, it behoves us to study, insofar as possible, the environmental components that influenced our evolution. It is often said that we are what we eat. The nutritional value of what we put in our mouths is paramount in maintaining a healthy body and depends wholly on the quality of our environment. Yet something has gone badly wrong. What has gone wrong and why?


Humans have significantly altered the face of our planet Earth. In North America alone, the Great Plains prairie once spread across 560,000 square miles (that’s a little over twice the size of Texas!)—but less than 2% of native prairie remains today. Nearly one third of the world’s arable topsoil has been lost over the last forty years at

a rate of over ten million hectares yearly. It can take from five hundred to one thousand years to build an inch of topsoil. In many areas, desertification has destroyed topsoil permanently. During all those hours spent on my knees planting trees on those rocky hillsides I was constantly aware of how desperately thin the Australian topsoil was and how the thoughtless importation of European farming methods into such a different ecosystem had worsened the problem in the last two centuries.


As we learned from the Gaia Theory formulated by Lovelock and Margulis, Gaia has been able to regulate temperature, atmospheric content and many other factors, including soil, to stay healthy. When we fail to observe this and ignore Gaia’s modus operandi, we endanger all life. So why do most farmers continue to deplete the fertility of the soil and make it so much harder to produce healthy food?


There is no simple answer. Claiming that farmers are greedy is not a good place to start. A reasonable starting point might be with the realisation that we are strongly conditioned by our culture’s language. In our minds, ‘Nature’ and ‘Earth’ have been separated. We learn that ‘Nature’ refers to all living things outside of ourselves that the Earth is a lump of rock that we live ‘on’. Thus we grow up with the illusion that:
1. We are not part of Nature, and…
2. Although Nature is alive the Earth is not.


Many of us talk about how deeply we feel connected to Nature. But this doesn’t go far enough. Our observations that we are ‘connected’ to the Earth are valid, but connectedness paints a fairly dim image of our relationship to Gaia and obscures its fundamental truth. In fact, we, Nature and Earth are all one and the same. The truth is that we do not just live ON Gaia, we ARE Gaia.


Consider a tree. We use our thinking function to subdivide a tree into parts such as leaves, trunk and roots. But referring to the leaves, for instance, does not negate the fact that the leaves are the tree. The trunk and roots are also the tree. To say that the leaves are connected to the tree obscures the fact that the leaves are the tree. To say that my hand or arm is connected to me obscures the fact that all my parts are me.


We see ourselves as advanced, self-organising living beings and most of us also consider ourselves to be conscious beings. Yet although we are entirely dependent on Gaia for our health and survival and our very existence, we often fail to appreciate that our planet itself is a living, self-organising organism, even more so than we are. We need to recognise that the wondrous beauty, diversity, and life-supporting qualities of Gaia are not due to dumb luck or the result of random shakes of cosmic dice. Gaia has a development and maintenance system that we must examine from the realisation that using machine-checking instruments to probe what we view as dead matter will inevitably result in further destructive behaviour. The carbon cycle is a good example of one of the many ways in which our planet exhibits self-organizing and self-sustaining behaviour. By interfering with that, we have created problems that at best will stretch Gaia’s healing abilities to the utmost and at worst could totally change the shape of life as we know it.


A further obstacle to working in a way that is healing for us and all life forms and the planet is our anthropocentric outlook which sanctions governments to treat Gaia like a vast cookie tin with a label on the top that says “for humans only”. We are egocentric and not ecocentric in our outlook on land use. Again, our use of words such as ‘resources’, or phrases like ‘ecosystem services’ constantly reinforces the view that Gaia is simply a source of wealth for humans only.


Once we truly understand that we are the Earth, that the Earth is a living, conscious being and that it is NOT all about us; we will surely recognise that our health and Gaia’s health are not just connected but utterly intertwined, joined and interdependent. They are one and the same. Our healing and the wellbeing of all life are dependent on Gaia’s healing. Neither we nor any other living organism can be healthy unless Gaia is healthy.


So what can we individuals do? So much of the environmental destruction we read about is caused by forces beyond our ability to influence. However, taking an interest and supporting the production of clean local food is a realisable goal for every single one of us. The higher the demand for organic, locally grown food, the more the market will respond and the more the farming sector will be encouraged to turn to decentralized and diversified farming practices that naturally boost soil health and farm resilience. These include: crop rotations, cover crops, reducing tillage where it makes sense, and building local food systems. We all need to encourage our local food stores to accept nutritious locally produced food.


Recently, a food survey conducted by Oklahoma State University found that: more than three-quarters of the consumers polled said adopting a more ‘natural’ agricultural production system—that includes additional local, organic and unprocessed foods—would be most effective at addressing the future food challenges rather than adopting a more ‘technological’ agricultural system.  Science, New Series, Vol. 267, No. 5201(Feb. 24, 1995) 1117 – 1123.


And we can plant seeds. Even if it is just a container on the windowsill or a planter on a balcony, we can all grow something to eat. This year, I shall plant my runner beans in a different spot to maximise the health of the soil in my garden. Knowing that the more local my food is to my bioregion the lower its carbon footprint, I shall be shopping once again at the farmers market. Every little helps when you want to become a healthy planet.

Sky McCain

June, 2015








Films that can Inspire Change

“For the continued survival of life on Earth it is our mission to improve wildlife conservation and environmental protection through the education of the public and those with political power. We are in a period of man-made mass extinction, with rates already many thousands of times the base-extinction-rate, and greenhouse gas emissions continuing to increase despite decades of warnings about climate change. Film-making whether it be for cinema, television or the web is a powerful tool for education and can inspire change. The Wildeye Conservation Film Festival aims to seek ways to utilise this inspirational tool for maximum power in effectively educating and motivating audiences.

The vision for the annual Wildeye Conservation Film Festival is to not only provide an empowering forum for film-makers, web/broadcasters and conservation organisations to discuss better practices for conservation-related productions, but also to celebrate, and bring larger audiences to, those films which make a difference.”


The Festival Directors are Piers Warren, founder of Wildeye and & Jason Peters, editor of this newsletter! We really hope that past students, members and subscribers/followers etc will get behind us and the festival aims. It’s Time To Focus!!