Sangha for Mother Earth: A Spiritual Perspective on Healing the Planet

Explore the spiritual dimensions of environmental activism in this insightful community conversation on interconnectedness, conscious consumption, and the profound impact of individual actions. Gain valuable insights, hear diverse perspectives, and find inspiration for your own journey towards eco-conscious living. 


HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Welcome everyone and thank you so much for being here for our December Community Conversation. Today, we are going to be speaking about spirituality and environmental activism. And I think our timing for this conversation is good insofar as what's happening on the world stage is concerned. COP 28 summit has just concluded. That's the conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. And it's called COP 28, which means this is the 28th time that the United Nations has had a climate change conference. So that's good that they're sticking to it. But the fact that they've done this 28 times and gotten the results we currently have, I personally don't find that particularly reassuring. 

I thought before we speak about spiritual approaches to environmentalism and what yoga wisdom texts have to say about the issue and how to respond to what's happening with our, global environment, we should catch up on what’s going on out there, with this current conference and how did it conclude? So I looked up the conclusions and a little bit of analysis, and I thought I would share that with you first. So. In this agreement, there's an agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 C because once we get past that, then we're at some kind of extinction level heat wave.

And, you know, that's what scientists have said is like the magic number that we must avoid. So to keep it under this, this temperature rise it's going to require some deep, rapid and sustained reductions in global greenhouse emissions, which is great, except that right now those emissions are actually still rising. And the final agreement calls on countries to do things. But, you know, none of this stuff is actually binding. 

The very fact that the conference itself was held in an oil producing state and presided over by someone who has vested personal and national interests in extending the profits of the fossil fuel industry for as long as possible, didn't make people feel like they were serious about doing anything. It was agreed that transitioning away from fossil fuels, however, in energy systems, should be done in a just, orderly and equitable manner. 

This is a good thing, because it's the first time that anyone having anything to do with one of these UN climate conferences admitted that fossil fuels are actually the problem. However, the language “transitioning away” is not the same as “phasing out”. So there's a lot of meaning in exactly how these things are phrased and how much we can really expect to see, in the way of transition, based on, you know, how these things were written. “Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions as soon as possible.” 

So the idea that the inefficient stuff will go. And inefficient by some analysts is considered to be a weasel word that enables nations to pretty much do it the way they want to do it. In other words, who decides what's inefficient? 

The agreement recognizes that transitional fuels can play a role in facilitating the energy transition while ensuring energy security. That sounds great. Except that this was the big win for the fossil fuel energy. Because what do we mean by “transitional fuels”? Well, what we mean is gas. It's like liquefied natural gas, which may turn out to be an even bigger cause of global warming than coal. 

What's missing from this agreement, apparently, are commitments to fund clean energy build outs, commitments to fund preparation for vulnerable communities, for escalating impacts and recovery from disasters. In other words, nobody's putting up any money to fund all the things that really needed to be funded in order to get this done and without funding then of course, this really doesn't mean too much. 

This you probably not going to be too surprised is not how yogic spirituality looks at it. In fact, the whole framework, the whole frame of reference for this is very different when we look at spiritual wisdom texts. So I'll ask some hypothetical or not hypothetical rhetorical questions, and even offer some answers as a segue into looking at what spiritual wisdom texts in the Vedic tradition in particular have to say in terms of setting up the context for how we look at our relationship with environment.  We can ask ourselves first what's the root cause of global warming? I'll offer an answer to that. Greed.

It's plain and simple. And what's the root cause of greed? It's a false sense of proprietorship. Which now asks us to consider, well, whose world is this anyway? Is it ours to do with as we please, or does it belong to someone else? So here's a few verses from a couple of three different wisdom texts that I think recontextualize the whole issue. 

The first one comes from the Bhagavad Gita, wherein Krishna says that he is the source of everything. Everything emanates from me, Krishna. Those who are wise, whose knowledge is perfect, serve me with devotion and worship me with all their heart. And one of the ways that this devotion can be expressed is through recognition of the Supreme Being, the absolute truth as the ultimate source of everything. In other words, the idea that this material world is taking place, it comes into being and stays and operates within a spiritual context. It's not just a world unto itself. 

The second passage that I think is relevant. Is this one from the Sri Isopanishad, which states everything, animate or inanimate, that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord Isha. The Isopanishad …Upanishad means to sit near Isha indicates Ishvara or the Lord. So Isopanishad means knowledge by which one sits close to the supreme person. So everything animate or inanimate, that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Supreme Person. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for themselves, which are set aside as our quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong. This obviously pushes back pretty strongly on the whole greed, motivation, that we see.  At the heart of so much endeavor for economic development and in particular, the kind of industrialization and economic structures that feed large amounts of wealth to a small amount of people, and a small amount of wealth to a large amount of people. 

The third passage comes from the Srimad Bhagavatam. I'm going to share the verse and I'm also going to share the commentary. To this by my paramaguru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He has something, remarkably prescient to say about our situation. 

The verse: all these cities and villages are flourishing in all respects because the herbs and grains are in abundance. The trees are all full of fruits, the rivers are flowing, the hills are full of minerals and the oceans full of wealth. And this is all due to your glancing over them. This verse appears in a set of prayers being offered to Krishna as he is leaving the battlefield of Kurukshetra. After the Bhagavad Gita has been spoken, and I'm going to share with you the commentary to this particular verse which was written in and around 1964. And I think you'll see how this commentary is still extremely relevant today. 

“Human prosperity flourishes by natural gifts and not by gigantic industrial enterprises. The gigantic industrial enterprises are products of a godless civilization, and they cause the destruction of the noble aims of human life. The more we go on increasing such troublesome industries to squeeze out the vital energy of the human being, the more there will be unrest and dissatisfaction of the people in general, although a few only can live lavishly by exploitation. The natural gifts such as grains and vegetables, fruits, rivers, the hills of jewels and minerals, and the seas full of pearls are supplied by the order of the Supreme, and, as he desires, material nature produces them in abundance or restricts them at times.

The natural law is that the human being may take advantage of these godly gifts by nature, and satisfactorily flourish on them, without being captivated by the exploitative motive of lording it over material nature. The more we attempt to exploit material nature according to our whims of enjoyment, the more we shall become entrapped by the reactions of such exploitative attempts. If we have sufficient grains, fruits, vegetables and herbs, then what is the necessity of running a slaughterhouse and killing poor animals? A man need not kill an animal if he has sufficient grains and vegetables to eat.” 

Sidebar you'll notice that this COP 28 conference had nothing, about the animals-for-food industry that contributes so much to climate change or global warming. “The flow of rivers, the flow of river waters fertilizes the fields. And there is more than what we need. If human civilization has sufficient grains, minerals, jewels, water, milk, etc., then why should it hanker after terrible industrial enterprises at the cost of the labor of some unfortunate men?” 

I'll stop here. And ask for your comments on this juxtaposition of what we hear coming out of the United Nations conference and what we hear from devotional yoga wisdom texts. Any thoughts on what I've shared with you so far. Or let's put it another way. How are you? How are you feeling? About the state of affairs. Go ahead.

CARLA: This is Carla. Hi. Good morning everyone. it's just, a little past dawn over here in Hawaii. We've known all this since the 70s. We my particular generation  - I'm 71 now -  tried desperately for years to get this problem addressed and we were stymied the entire way. It's, it's only because you just used the word yourself greed prevailed that we have solar and wind power now. 

So I think that, knowing what the motivating force of individual, power players are we have to we have to in order to help our Earth where we live we have to be realistic we have to be really thinking very deeply in small bites, how we can like, for example, help the communities that have no jobs, help them, you know, through the influences of grants and so forth. 

So, if we unite the yogis of the world, unite with the garden clubs of the world and with our senators and everything, do we stand a chance because, frankly, I think I'm going to die, before I see substantial commitment to, taking care of the gift that we've been given. I don't mean to be a depressive person. I'm trying to think of something positive to say, but that's what I'm thinking about as you've spoken. 

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Thank you. You know, the prospect for action is something and what we can do is something I'm going to talk about a little bit later. At least, sharing some thoughts that I heard from a friend of mine who gave a TED talk on the topic of spirituality and environment and had some nice ideas about what we can do along just the kind of lines, Carla, that you were speaking of, you know, how can, yogis and religionists, find, bandwith allies in order to keep some momentum and serve the purpose of keeping us uplifted so that we are not only losing momentum, but experiencing, depression from the idea that maybe we won't live long enough to see meaningful change and what we leave to those who come after us will be pretty pretty much like a dystopian science fiction movie. Diane. Go ahead.

DIANE:  I don't want to be the other person, but having some family members who work in the oil industry, I know how hard they work to preserve the environment. How they make the leases, and they decide where they're going to drill and how they're going to drill. And it's a pretty amazing feat. And they are very, very cautious about what they do and how they do it. 

I was always not about ANWR and I fought ferociously… saying that that would not be the right thing to do, that we need to preserve these areas that are pristine. But as I've grown older and I've seen what has happened in the 50 plus years of this particular industry in this particular area my views have changed a bit because they are getting resources. 

Those resources were used for the state. They were used for education. They were used for the natives. They were used for all the people of Alaska. And everyone benefited. And. It was brought back to the community. So from that standpoint, I think we need to not just label the oil industry is being totally bad because it isn't. There are really a lot of strides that they're making with clean, clean fuels. They're really working on this stuff, um, along with solar, along with wind. But wind has its own problems. It wreaks havoc with the bird life. It wreaks havoc in other ways. 

I don't know if you've been around where they're putting up wind farms. It's like crazy. I mean, they destroy, fields with these huge, huge towers, and they changed the patterns of the birds. So I think realistically, as we move forward, I think we need to be - I know this sounds kind of far fetched - but we need to be hand in hand with the people that are in the industry and not be so antagonistic, but also to continue to work towards the common goals of the of what we are all trying to achieve. 

I know that sounds Pollyanna-ish, but from the standpoint of what I've seen and how my views have changed over the years, I think it is worth stating. So that's all.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Diane, thank you so much. I think you brought up several really important points. One, that when we talk about the fossil fuel industry, we're not just talking about, the executives and the sheiks and the people who are, making tons of money off of a work that by its very nature is destructive to the environment, but rather there are people who get into these industries, who actually want to do good, who actually want to do the right thing. And who are not just evil doers running polar bears off of their territory. 

So humanizing the oil industry, I think that's very important and you did us a big favor by making sure that we did not or we do not, take a very impersonal approach to an opaque, monolithic industry. And remember that there are human beings who also care about the future of their children and grandchildren in going about doing what they do. It brings up the question also of is it possible to do a wrong thing the right way? and what kind of tradeoffs are we interested in? 

When I proposed earlier that the root cause of industrialization is greed. What I didn't ask is, whose greed is it? It's ours. The problem is energy consumption and we are the consumers. One of the reasons the war on drugs fails over and over and over again is because the war on drugs is waged against the supply. Not the demand. If you take the demand away, you take the profit motive away. You take the profit motive away, the business disappears. 

So we have to look at our own values. And our own priorities in terms of our own energy consumption. In order to ask ourselves, what part are we playing in this? How complicit am I in the very thing I think I am opposing. And how can I simplify my life in such a way so that I can live peacefully and yet at the same time not contribute to the to the problem. Diane thank you again. 

Yasodamayi, go ahead.

YASODAMAYI: Hi, Hari. Thank you for this this really interesting topic, and thank you for Carla and for Diane. Diane, because they gave me a lot to think about. 

My thoughts were exactly what you've just said, that it's really a question of what is the consciousness behind the action, even this industry. Even the oil industry, we know that it's what do they call it, peak oil that we've passed peak oil that it's actually declining. So there actually is an end point for the use of fossil fuels on this planet, because it's not a renewable resource. It's declining. 

And so when we do come to the end of, you know, all the gas and all the oil has been taken and used and whatever burnt, if we haven't changed the consciousness of the industry or change the consciousness of the people, like you're saying, using the resources, then it'll just be the next big thing that will just be exploited. We'll be back in the same situation with just something else that's being pulled out of the earth, or, you know, or used. 

So as you as I was listening to the other two, I was thinking it is the consciousness. We have to figure out how to have the industry, the people that are making the money from these resources figure out how to make money by helping the environment rather than destroying the environment. Because if money is the underlying incentive, if they can figure out how to make money by helping the environment, then you know that will solve the problem.

The other thing is, you have to change the consciousness of the people that are involved. As you were saying, the people that are actually using the resources, how do we change the consciousness so that it becomes power in numbers. The number of people that are saying no to this then pushes the industry that we're not making money this way. We've got to do what the people want, because that's kind of what's happening with the whole vegan thing. 

More and more people are saying no to meat or more to vegan. And so now you see Wendy's and McDonald's producing, vegan burgers when they wouldn't have done that before. And this changed the way that we live in the world, which comes back to your original quotes from the from the scriptures, Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavatam. Is that how we look at things in the world? Because it's not just our consumption of oil, it's that consumption of everything, you know, all the waste that we produce and just kind of like shifting our mind and whether it's this the whole minimalistic path that is started, but this whole idea of what do we need to live in this world and how can we live in this world with the smallest impact on it? You know, in the first place? So, yeah, I just wanted to share those things.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Thank you. Yeah. I am particularly happy to have Yasoda, here, to speak about this. She happens to be especially qualified. on this topic, I am putting the link in the chat to her project Three Leaf Farm Den and Yasodamayi.

I hope you'll come back before we're done here and just speak a little bit about it, because this, is an example of precisely what, Yasoda was talking about. The external manifestation of an internal transformation of consciousness. and I really want everyone to hear to know more about your project. 

Meanwhile returning to the idea of what to do. The distance between where we're at and where we would like to be… that's called an obstacle. And so the question arises, how do we overcome the obstacle. What's keeping us from, first of all, changing our own internal consciousness about how we live in the world in a way that is aligned with nature as opposed to in opposition to nature. How can we return to a more natural way of living? And then how can we work together, finding common cause. To live communally in a simpler, more natural way, in a way that prioritizes spiritual upliftment rather than material comfort and convenience.  

I mentioned, earlier that, there was a TED talk, just this past October, by a gentleman named Gopal Patel. I'm going to put the link to his talk in the chat for everyone, so you can copy that and grab it later. And for those of you watching the recording, you should have this, these two links in an email.

Gopal Patel is somebody who's been dealing with the issue of climate change and environmentalism, with organizations like the UN and other organizations for quite some time. So he's also very qualified to speak about this. He's an environmental activist. And in his talk he offers up a three part framework based on spiritual concepts spiritual ideas that will be helpful. 

The first is sangha: the idea of working together, finding community. So finding other groups even, you know, from different faith forums or different, socio political frames of reference, you know, finding the allies, as, as Diane indicated, finding the allies within the very industry, that we usually think of as being the environmental antagonists. Looking for community.

And then on an individual level, on a sadhana, on a personal practice level, that's the second element of the framework that we find in, Gopal Patel's TED talk. How can we look to whatever spiritual wisdom text we refer to inform our spiritual journey and connect those teachings to environmental action? We can go looking for it. You know, we can go look in whatever wisdom literature we subscribe to. And see how does that connect? We don't have to manufacture something artificial. It will be there because spiritual wisdom traditions quite naturally have a connection to thinking about the Earth. As more like a divine being and less like an inanimate object to be exploited. 

And then finally, seva, the third element of the framework that you'll hear him talk about in the Ted talk: how to show up in the world, how to be of service to the world. Every study I've ever heard of shows that when we have a sense of purpose based on service to something greater than ourselves, we find a great deal of motivation and inspiration. 

Finally there's a special feature of spiritual engagement, which he calls the big idea that can be God, that can be a metaphysical understanding of the world, a grand narrative, something bigger than ourselves. It's something that's universal. It's not constrained to a particular time place. It's something that precedes us and it will outlive us. It naturally includes being connected to nature. One of the functions. It gives us a sense of wonder about the world.

One of the functions of yoga philosophy is that it reveals to us the divine nature of the world. And when we think of the world as a divine energy, something that's coming from a divine source, then naturally we think we will more naturally think of ourselves as stewards of this divine energy of grateful recipients, of the benedictions that come from this divine energy and feel a sense of responsibility to care for it and, express gratitude for it. 

The other thing is that from a spiritual perspective. We get a greater sense of reality. And when we have a greater sense of reality, we have a greater sense of just how small we are relative to the world of which we are a part. And so, when we realize we can't wrap our heads around it, that it's so much bigger than we are, then the idea that we can control it and rearrange it in accordance with our desires takes on a little more, a sense of ridiculousness, and that's it's not possible. 

And the reason it's not possible is because that's not what it's for. So those are some of the highlights that that I took away from his talk. And, I encourage you to check out the link, check out the talk whenever you get a chance. 

So let's stop here again and hear any thoughts or comments you might have about the framework that I've just kind of summarized from, Gopal Patel's talk and some of the characteristics of spiritual life that can be applied to thinking about the environment. Any thoughts on that or anything, that you would like to add in terms of how you connect your own spiritual life to, your relationship with the world? Shayna. Go ahead.

SHAYNA: When I'm talking about topics about environmentalism and how to make an impact as one small person, and it sometimes the discussion comes back to, well, how much is it going to matter if I use this one straw or if I throw this one plastic bottle away or these little actions when like, the world is burning down. 

And one thing that helps me to think about, and that is usually my response to that is like yeah, it is a little bit of a drop in the bucket, but like, it benefits us spiritually when we take those actions, especially if we take them from a place of like love and devotion for the creation and the creator and the divine. 

It's like even if it doesn't save the world to like, stop using plastic straws or whatever small action we're focusing on. I think it does benefit like ourselves and our spirit, you know, and then also those around us. And that can have a ripple effect. 

So I don't know if that is super relevant, but that's just something that I connect with like spiritual practice and, and environmentalism. 

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Thank you. Shayna. You're so right that doing these things. Sometimes it seems like, oh, it's just such a little thing that I'm using a paper straw instead of a plastic straw, that I'm using canvas shopping bags instead of getting another shopping bag that I'm minimizing the number, the amount of single use plastic. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. 

But these things make a difference. It may seem like a drop in the bucket relative to the big picture. But it makes a difference in our consciousness. Doing these things because they are the right thing to do without attachment to the result, knowing that the result is beyond our control, that's a really important spiritual principle for our own consciousness. And I think we can be surprised at how much of a difference it can end up making. We're just not always cognizant of the difference that that we can make even with small things. Thank you so much. Matthew. Go ahead. 

MATTHEW: I feel similarly to how Shayna feels, or I have similar feelings in that I used to be much more of an activist per se. It wasn't in this area per se, but like with the HIV AIDS, and I know at that point in my life I didn't have much of a spiritual practice, and I was really burnt out and really stressed out and really overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. I mean, this was a while back when this was a bigger sort of, visible issue in our society. 

I've noticed since trying to live by the, the yamas and niyamas, for example, that my actions I think I'm doing them for one reason, but oftentimes they have all these other positive effects that I can't predict. And just like I really don't feel like I can predict my yoga practice will lead to one particular result, I know that I see the tangible results of making changes for me, and so I blog about it on my website, on my website that I build with free and open source software. I do all of these little things and then I try and make these choices that align with those values.

And then there's just all sorts of random things that I hear people say, I blog and, you know, I make that available as an RSS feed so people don't have to use social media to see my stuff and all these little things. 

And then people will just make these comments or I'll see my mom think twice: oh, that's right, I shouldn't be using plastic in my coffee cup. And I feel like maybe all of these little things are a drop in the bucket, but I feel better and more peaceful. And then that too leads to like, seeing other changes. 

And so it's just like so big and complex. It's a little bit sometimes like that part from the Bhagavad Gita, like trying to imagine like what Krishna looks like for real. You know, it's like a little bit too much. So I feel like I can just make these choices that align with my values and continue to do that and, and, and offer those with an open hand without expectations.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Matthew. Thank you. You know, there are actually four key values that are called the Four Pillars of Dharma. They are austerity, or, like simplicity. Purity, compassion and truthfulness. And we can think about those four values, how they apply in our lives, and kind of connect the dots between them and something we can do in the world. And that's a good way to spiritualize our activism. 

Matthew, do us all a favor, and put the URL to your blog site in the chat, and that way everyone will get the benefit from hearing. I've read Matthew's blog and I'll vouch for it. It's really nice very enlivening and inspiring. 

Tracy. Go ahead.

TRACY: Hi. How are you all?  I just wanted to say a brief. I found this community just by a Google search. I think it was yesterday and, I share that one to obviously kind of explain how I found you all. 

But I also wanted to share a little bit in alignment with what Yasoda said. You know, I very much believe that everything, whether it's the environment or anything else in our lives, is all a reflection of the level of consciousness, in which we approach it. And so I know for me, the environment specifically, it's really for me about just being out in nature and experiencing nature. Not just physically, not just mentally, but really being present with nature. And from that place, I feel like I'm continually inspired with how I can be more connected to the environment. And then from that place I will deepen my level of consciousness and then these things will arise in me.  

I've been in Virginia now for two years, and I really haven't found a community that seems to be aligned with my beliefs. So why don't I just do a simple Google search? And, you know, it's following those little bits of inspiration, which again, just sort of comes from me being fully present with myself. And I find this topic so interesting because I personally have not had any active environmentalism, for myself, but I have found that the more I go down the yogic path, the more I go down the spiritual path and exploring my own consciousness, the more, the environment and nature and the planet, is just right here. It's like, right in my face. 

And I feel like I can feel and experience that I am not separate at all. That it is me. It is the expanded version of myself. So I think the more we can kind of be in that perspective, that level of consciousness, which again, is just a slowing down, going back to doing our own work, whatever that may be for each one of us. The more that that I find myself guided not intellectually, but, spiritually and energetically to, the people, the places, the conversations that I need to be guided to.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Well, Tracy. Thank you so much. That is such a great point that the more connection we have to nature, the more we feel connected with nature, that we're a part of nature that is not something separate from us. Glenna. Go ahead.

GLENNA: When we're talking about the environment, I always think it's important to also think about environmental justice, because although we are talking about connecting to nature, which I think is important and it's important to me to connect with nature. 

But climate change and environmental issues disproportionately affect some populations more than they do others. Because when decisions are being made about where you're going to put toxic wastes or where you're going to put the next big highway that is going to increase the greenhouse gases. It's not going to be in the affluent neighborhoods over in McLean, Virginia, where that is happening. It happens in the District in communities of color primarily. 

So there are a lot of different pieces of this picture. And environmental justice is one piece of that picture. And to me, it takes me to dharma and the Gita and talking about right action. And, you know, in my perspective and in terms of my own life. I'm kind of constantly having to discern what is that right action? What is that right action that I need to be taking for me, that impacts the world and how it impacts the world and hopefully impacts in a more positive way, which includes the yamas and niyamas includes ahimsa, you know, compassion, doing less harm, non-violence, all of those kind of things. 

Because with the environmental justice issues, we are doing harm. We're doing harm to whole communities and whole populations of people. And we often don't think about that if we are not part of those communities. So I just want to call attention to that and kind of put that out as part of this discussion.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Glenna, thank you so much for doing so. Because yes, we have been speaking about the environment, but not about who gets adversely impacted the most by climate change and, the byproducts of industrialization. So thank you for bringing that up. I think that that is also a very important. 

Part of spiritualized environmental activism is recognizing the social justice element and participating in pushing back against the injustices that disadvantaged communities face when these, like you said, when these kinds of decisions are made. 

And I hope we can talk more about that in a future conversation. When we speak specifically about social justice as the main topic and environmentalism as an element of social justice. So I'm going to just kind of bookmark that for a future conversation. Glenna, thank you so much. 

Robert, before we get to you, hold on. There were just a couple of things that popped up in the chat, and I want to make sure we have some time to address these. Jill told us it's a great idea to be so open to the truth. That is in other people's wisdom texts on this topic. Because if we have the eyes to see if we can share with them what they have been unable to see, but we tend to stick with our own beliefs. 

This is a true fact. I have seen in the Mormon tradition, they have a belief to eat meat sparingly, but have yet to meet a vegetarian Mormon. I also have yet to “convince” a member of that church that there is environmental and spiritual benefits to taking it seriously. This was also something that came up with the Green Muslims and the discussion about Islam and not the Green Muslims specifically, but the discussion of Islam and environment, recognizing that meat eating is actually part of, you know, Muslim religion. But how you deal with that, is very different from massive industrialized slaughterhouses.

Shayna: also land justice, returning control of lands to native tribes and leaders. Yes. Give Oklahoma back. better yet, give the Carolinas back. Krista to everyone: I think more needs to be done about the world's reliance on livestock, as this is a huge issue with regard to climate change and never seems to be talked about. Yeah, even Al Gore can't bring himself to talk about that inconvenient truth. We are not at a point yet where we have an alternative way for most people to fuel their cars and heat their homes, but there are alternatives to meat. Very, very good point. 

All right. Thank you very much for sharing that and for typing things in the chat. And, looks like, Robert disappeared. All right, all right. I'm sorry. Robert, if you watch this, I'm sorry if you had a hard out at 1:00, and then I did not get to your question. I want to come back to Yasoda for just a moment before we close out altogether. you should. You can you just tell us a little bit about Three Leaf Farmden before we sign off?

YASODA MAYI: Well, thank you for giving me the opportunity. This has been such an amazing chance to be in sangha with other like-minded people. Um, you said just after we talked about the Gopal, TED talk that, um, changing our internal consciousness, um, in a way that aligns with nature. And that's exactly what Three Leaf Farmdan is actually trying to do, is doing.  

We have the opportunity to have, um, some land here in central Pennsylvania where we focus on three areas restorative agriculture. Not just restoring, not just working with the Earth in a way that keeps the earth vital and alive. But it also helps us with our healing, putting our hands in the soil, breathing the aroma of the earth, grounding ourselves in the sunlight. It heals us in so many different ways that this is an opportunity for people to connect back with the Earth. 

We also work in community. Community living. When people come here, they have the opportunity to see what it's like to live in a spiritual community on a larger scale. What does it mean to offer seva to others? We help other people with their gardens. We help with a food distribution program that goes on in this, in this area. So these are opportunities for people to understand what it's actually like to live in community and to be with people that you're not necessarily would normally have chosen to be with, but that you're living in community with them. So somehow the other that level of compassion and tolerance and patience is also nurtured and then spiritual enlightenment, because none of this happens without raising the consciousness.

Raising the consciousness of how we deal with the earth, how we deal with other people and how we deal with ourselves, and making the time, just as you would make the time to learn a new language, or make the time to learn a new skill that taking the time to nurture your spiritual connectedness to whatever you want to give the name to the universe, to God, to Krishna, and also to understand that you that on a spiritual path, you're not on this path by yourself, that you're with, you're in sangha with other like minded people. 

And how does that help you develop your own spirituality? So those three things are there. And then from an offshoot of Three Leaf and is also the Heal Thyself to Healthy Self initiative, which works with building resilience in communities of color, communities of low economic resources to help them, use whatever they can, especially herbal medicine to strengthen themselves so that if. So that they can, face the challenges that they are facing in the world a little bit stronger. 

So those are some of the things that Three Leaf Farmden are doing, and you're all welcome to get in contact with me directly. Come down and see what we're doing here in central PA, find out more about the programs, join the Green Circle sustainable giving program. And you know and give me some feedback.

HARI-KIRTANA DAS: Yasoda, thank you so much. Um, yeah. I've been to Yasoda's place, and it's really, really beautiful. Wonderful. Far out project, so I wholeheartedly encourage you to check it out. All right. We are at the end of our allotted time for today. Thank you so much for being here. Next month. January's community conversation. We're going to talk about real magic versus magical thinking, and how we make a distinction between those two things. I look forward to seeing you then. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your holiday season. Be well and I will see you soon.

Community Conversations is a free monthly study online group with Hari-kirtana das for people who take pleasure in keeping company with fellow travelers on the path to higher knowledge, deeper understanding, and a more meaningful sense of connection to the world.

Conversations take place at noon on the second Wednesday of every month.  Sign up here: https://hari-kirtana.com/community-conversations/