As we celebrate Earth Day 2020, the interconnectedness of this world has never been more apparent. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives radically, and at this moment in time the impact on our global social and economic systems cannot yet be fully understood. We as a human collective have been forced to take a pause, reflect, reconsider, and release any and all assumptions that the way things have been is the way they will continue to be.
We may be tempted to simply endure. Instead, how might we use this moment wisely? What questions should we be considering? Instead of worrying about whether our familiar systems will grow back, are there ways we can use this challenging time as an opportunity to grow toward a healthier, brighter future?
As we consider such questions, we offer a talk given by Dr. Dan Siegel during our March 2020 Pathways to Planetary Health Symposium: Ethics in the Age of the Anthropocene. In his talk, Dr. Siegel provides a great deal of insight as to “how the human mind may be very much related to what’s happening on the planet,” emphasizing that “understanding the mind might be helpful if we want to, in a sense, reverse engineer the difficulties we’ve gotten ourselves into.”
Dr. Siegel beautifully illustrates for us how our inner life is inextricably linked with our global wellness, through a guided meditation using the Wheel of Awareness. This exercise has been clinically proven to have both personal and relational benefits, thereby increasing both individual resilience and societal altruism.
We hope that you will find the space and time to join us in this practice. If you feel moved to do so, please share in the comments below ways that this inspired you to relate differently to yourself, your communities, and our planet.