So what might I contribute to the conversation on climate change, I wondered? Because I'm a big believer that you change the world one mind at a time, that change starts at a personal level, I started to wonder about our internal climate and the changes we could make there. It is true that some people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. affect huge numbers of people. But most of us, how are we likely to affect the climate of our planet? On a more personal scale, I suspect.
So what's your internal climate like? Is it filled with the heat of anger? Or do you feel the cold arctic winds of separation blowing all around you, keeping you from feeling connected to even those close to you? Perhaps the icy chill of judgement dusts you with a cool layer of frost ? And where does impatience register on the thermometer? Is it a close relative of anger, perhaps a few degrees cooler? Intolerance, hatred -- now those are the territory of wild fires scorching the internal and external landscape. The fallout is mostly devasting. Check the evening news. What's the climate there?
So while it's good to do our bit to turn lights off, drive less, consume less, buy local organic food; to shrink our ecological foot print, maybe it's good to do an internal audit as we go about our day. Sometimes the fallout on the environment comes not so much from what you do, but how you do it. If we shout at our kids to turn the lights off or insist that someone who is coughing on the bus should get off (this happened in Victoria) what climate have we contributed to? We may have contributed to climate change on some level, but is it what we were aiming for? Sometimes we forget that how we get somewhere is as important as where we get to. Have you met activists for good causes that were so strident that they turned you off, that they did a disservice to their cause? Did you empower someone today or make someone feel small? What were the ripple effects of some small action you took? Did it radiate warmth and caring that was passed on? Or when you cut someone off in traffic, did they go home and kick the cat?
So when we check the weather in the morning, maybe we don't need to turn on the weather channel or look out the window? Maybe we only need to look into our own heart to find the internal climate that we operate from. Now this is not to say we will always get it right. It's true Virginia, that floods and tornados happen, even in the inner landscape, maybe especially in that deep inner weather zone. News flash! We're human, kids, and we make lots of mistakes. But I believe it's about intention. It's about awareness. It's about working toward internal climate change that counts. So the good news is we are in control here, we can make a difference. We are omnipotent in the internal weather department.
So for me the internal climate change I'm working with these days is compassion. I'm working toward an internal warming trend. I'm thinking that the warmth of compassion will melt away those barriers and blocks and ice floes of the heart. Really we are all swimming in the same sea of tears. Compassion creates a climate where the needs of others become as important as our own.
And the cooling trend magically happens when we can see the suffering of someone that has caused our anger to rise. Maybe someone speaks rudely to you because you're not wearing your bike helmet. Later you find out that their son was killed in a bike accident while not wearing a helmet. Instantly your heart melts and you get it. Maybe you just get tired of feeling the heat of anger one day and resolve to move toward a cooler state.
So there it is, the challenge to change the inner climate. We can work on it everyday without leaving home, without buying anything, without saying a word to anyone. We can make this world a more temperate place by warming up the frosty bits and cooling down those hot spots. We can work toward a planet that does not blow itself up or self destruct from it's own rage and hatred and greed, one feeling at a time. No accords necessary, no signatures required, only an open heart and willing mind. May the winds of change blow warmly on you.