Sunday, January 27, 2013

Diet and Right Action, Connecting the Dots: Part III

 “Looking deeply at any one thing, we see the whole cosmos”    - Thich Nhat Hahn

After a busy week and some interesting conversations with people this week, I’ve been reminded of the importance of reminding ourselves to seek mindfulness in every moment. It is a true challenge with our results- and profit-driven society, the breakneck pace we all are on. It is truly a rat race in so many ways. Where does it leave us? It comes down to a question of values and faith in many ways. We are all inter-related… we in fact all have inter-being. Do you value your health? What affect does your health and happiness have on my life and that of others? Quite a bit. We are all closely related, much more than we like to think. Our culture is incredibly individualistic and increasingly violent. How does this impact each of us? Many people only know what they have been taught in their early years and so can’t make any adjustments.

One of the benefits of a plant-based diet has been to awaken to this notion of interbeing which there is in the world around us. As mentioned in earlier posts I’ve been reading books from Zen master, Thich Nhat Hahn (Thay), for many years, and was fortunate to see him when he visited Los Angeles in 2007. He conducted a day of mindfulness and a peace walk through MacArthur Park. Later in the evening he did a lecture before a full-crowd at the Pasadena Civic Center. It was a gentle yet powerful talk, and it was the first time I had ever heard someone I truly seen as an awakened person say that our species may not survive.  Thay discussed how this is due to the increasing pace of environmental damage, climate change and resource depletion. I truly took it to heart. I had always knew that the threat of nuclear war could destroy us all, and I had recently learned that climate change could be bad, really through Al Gore’s efforts. I supposed up to that point I had never deeply, mindfully understood that humanity could be near an end, so much sooner than I’d ever thought before. When Thay speaks about Right Action, he directly speaks now to a vegan / plant-based diet as one that is the best for ourselves and our world. He is truly awake.

So from that day in 2007 to this past year, I would say I lost touch with this notion to some degree, although through the “Great Recession” as its been called over the past five years, I’d been focused more on reading mainly around the destruction in our economies, how we got there through all the bank and corporate mania and bubble-building… and people have been forgetting the fact that every year things have been getting worse for the climate. Every year more and more ecosystems and species go extinct. People in general have been very distracted, and in folly, trying to get back to the destructive "go-go-go" pace of economic growth which causes so much trouble.

Recently, Thay has been speaking very clearly about the fact that due to the latest environmental reports on climate change, our species may in fact be gone in another 100 years. It is no longer a possibility… the writing is clearly on the wall based on the track we are on. So what does this mean for us? Thay states that we should not be overwhelmed by despair. We need to understand deeply that we ARE part of the environment. This understanding can help us to change our hearts and make the needed changes to care for ourselves, each other and the planet.

The TNH Audio site has the talk, with notes, podcast and video.  The video is here below for your convenience.  Minute 10 starts the answers to the environmental questions.  I think it is a deeply important and mindful discussion... I'd recommend everyone at least listen to minutes 15:00 - 18:00 for a wake up call.

Additional Resources in Connecting the Dots

So I’d also like to also mention a few other great sources of plant-based diet nutritional wisdom I haven’t mentioned yet when connecting the dots the past couple of years. These three are on my bookshelf, and I would highly recommend them to everyone:

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. A very important book on the studies conducted by Dr. Esselstyn and how we can actually prevent and even reverse heart disease by a low/no-oil, plant-based diet. Amazing that we can take personal control over the number 1 cause of death in the West. Dr. Esselstyn is also in the important documentary "Forks Over Knives" which is on Netflix, it's highly recommended viewing.

The Starch Solution, by Dr. John McDougall. Another fantastic book which has so much hard science behind it, and goes to the next level, discussing how the traditional Western diet is having such a tragic impact on the environment. Dr. McDougall is likely the most passionate speaker out there promoting plant-based diets. I truly find him inspirational.

Last, but not definitely not least, Healthy Eating, Healthy World, by J. Morris Hicks. I first learned about Mr. Hicks through his great daily blog posts on his website. He has been blogging daily for almost 2 years straight now, and his posts have been at least a weekly part of my life for the past 6 months or so. Highly recommended reading and insights. Mr. Hicks is definitely a Big Picture guy and activist when it comes to plant-based nutrition making a difference in people's lives and he focuses on how to get the important message out to the mainstream so it can have an impact in saving the environment, and us. Again, his website has excellent information and his book is a truly comprehensive compilation of important plant-based facts and information. As reading lists go, his book is a great place to start along with The China Study.

Hoping that you all may find new inspiration for making the move towards a plant-based diet, and gain all of the rewards of health and well-being that come from it.

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