It has been well documented that expressing gratitude is essential to happiness. In several recent books published about happiness, such as Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness and countless Oprah shows, we have been shown time and time again that giving thanks not only moves people from thinking about what they are lacking to a state of appreciation for what they have. It also just feels good. Mainstream movies like The Secret drive the point home further by explaining that our thoughts actually generate energy waves which travel outward to initiate the process of manifesting what we think into reality; positive into positive, negative into negative. We really do create our own worlds, whether we want to believe it or not.
So I’ve been thinking. Earth Day 2008 is April 22. Wouldn’t it be great if we could use gratitude to help create a better Earth? To help heal the catastrophic environmental destruction we’ve inflicted in merely a century? We know by now we humans have poisoned, pillaged, and harmed much of the planet. There can be little argument that damage has been done. But we’ve also been told it’s not too late. Let’s help undo the damage. Here is what I propose:
While there are thousands if not tens of thousands of Earth Day events planned worldwide), the one I am launching will not only be the easiest to participate in, but perhaps the most universal. It’s called “10 Minutes of Gratitude for Planet Earth”. This is what you do:
- On Earth Day April 22, 2008, at 12:00 noon in any time zone, sit quietly and for ten minutes and think of all the places, experiences, and moments of Earthly nature you have ever enjoyed, and be grateful for them.
- This event is not intended to be a central gathering in one place, but will happen everywhere virtually at twelve noon in respective time zones. People may certainly gather together in groups if they wish.
- To register your commitment to participate, click here to sign up.
Yep, that’s it. You don’t have to go anywhere, give any money, or receive any solicitations.
Okay, I understand it may sound too easy. That’s mostly because we’ve been trained to believe anything effective is difficult or complicated. Yet usually the best things in life are not just free, they’re exquisitely simple. Nonetheless, for those wishing additional information, here is how I see this working as well as some useful guidelines:
- Sit in a quiet space in which you will not be interrupted by people, electronics, or anything else.
- Ideally, site outside facing natural beauty. Look at your garden, a pond, lake, ocean, mountain, or park. If you’re city-bound, find a tree or plant and focus on it. Even look at the sky, clouds or sun. The point is to keep the Earth’s natural beauty and not a man-made creation in your vista.
- Keep your eyes open or closed as you wish.
- To begin, focus your thoughts only on your favorite moments in nature courtesy of planet Earth. These could range from a visit to a site of natural beauty like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Himalayas or the beach to a favorite sunset or sunrise you remember, a favorite hike, snorkeling or dive trip, or camping trip. Even the most urban-bound residents of New York, London, or Tokyo have seen rivers, trees, and mountains from their cities. I believe everyone will have something to focus on, even if simply the image of the patch of sky above them.
- As you focus on your mental picture(s) of the Earth’s natural beauty, feel a sense of gratitude for these experiences, thoughts and remembrances. Thank the Earth not only for your memories and experiences, but also for the sustenance in the form of food, water, air and shelter that it has provided you.
- If you wish to go beyond ten minutes of gratitude, focus your remaining time on holding a vision of a healed Earth. Picture the Amazon rain forests regrowing. See clear-running streams and rivers. Imagine beaches without a plastic bag, bottle or iota of trash visible on them. Visualize natural abundance and human existence in harmony with our planet. Do this as long as you wish.
Yes this is idealistic, but then again I’m a self-confessed incurable optimist, although not without reason. Nonetheless I can hear the doubters already thinking “what about the two-thirds of the planet’s population living in extreme poverty or wretched circumstances? They probably won’t even hear about this, or care to do it. So why bother?”
Perhaps this will convince you. Physicists tell us that according to the laws of wave mechanics, the intensity of any kind of waves that are in phase with one another is the square of the sum of the waves. So, five waves added together are twenty-five times as intense as one wave; ten waves are one hundred times as intense, etc. Since physics has also proven that thought is energy, and all energy occurs as waves, then if only 80,000 people are all thinking the same thing simultaneously, they are as powerful as the entire population of the earth (around 6.1 billion people). Since 80,000 times 80,000 equals 6,400,000, then 80,000 people all believing the same thing should be enough to change the planetary reality.
Let’s err on the safe side. Let’s make it a million people in the between now and Earth Day 2008. Please participate by signing up here and then simply marking your calendar and planning to take ten minutes of gratitude at noon on April 22. Better yet, help spread word of this event by contacting your schools, churches, and community organizations. Publish the sign-up link, or a link to this article or both on your Web sites and blogs, and please forward it to your friends and colleagues. It’s so easy to help, won’t you? I know the Earth will be glad you did.