Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Sunday 26 August 2007

Biodiversity: the happiness you can grow

There is a Chinese saying: “if you want three hours of ecstasy, try gambling. For three weeks of rapture, go traveling. For three months of bliss, get married. Build a new house and you will enjoy three years of heaven. But if you want true and lasting happiness, grow and live with trees.”

In this Buddhist country the newspapers often feature the sermon of a monk. I happen to come across the words of Phra Paisan Visalo, abbot of a forest monastery here in the Mekong river basin. Replacing ‘forest’ in his sermon with ‘biodiversity’, I immediately thought of my search for a biodiversity metaphor.

"Growing trees makes us happy not only when we see them blossom and give fruit and shade. We experience the feeling of joy from the moment we put the seeds into the soil, pour water over them and take care of the land."

"Happiness cannot be bought. It is something we have to cultivate ourselves. The same is the case with biodiversity. We have to join hands to cultivate it. That is the beginning of growing happiness by our own hands. At the same time, what is no less important is to take care of a “tree” (or other species or ecosystem?) in our own heart. When that flourishes, so will our peace of mind."

"Much of our time we keep ourselves busy with things from the outside: friends, work, TV, shopping and so on. We think these things are indispensable and we don't need to look inside. Again the same is the case with biodiversity: globalization, shopping malls, internet, it almost looks as if we can do without nature. But it does not bring us happiness. It is time start nurturing the “trees” inside and outside of us."

I wonder what the impact might be when I am in the elevator with our PM and I ask him: “what are your priorities for the happiness we can grow?”

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