By Chitra Gunderson
“Summer time and the living is easy…” lyrics from the song by Gershwin echo through my mind. Struggling to remember the rest of the words, I fill in with my own… “birds are singing and clouds float in blue skies, your daddy is beaming and your mommy, well she is ‘good looking’… so please little Elli, don’t cry.”
Singing in the car is a habit of mine, no one can hear my off-tune notes except me and I tolerate it for awhile. After all, it’s a long drive home to Maryland returning from a three-week vacation in Tennessee to welcome the newest member of our family, my first grandchild, Elisabeth “Elli” Surya (name of the Sun God).
Vacation went by quickly this year, pacing up and down the hall doing the baby jig with newborn Elli crying in my arms — every night 10 pm to 2 am. She finally fell asleep on my chest to Tava kara kamala… a Sanskrit mantra for protection. She picked it herself. Out of all the different mantras I sang to her, it was her favorite. When she was crying it not only calmed her — it put her to sleep. “Sleep my sweet Surya Sunshine,” I whisper softly. Yes, coveted sleep! No one was getting much of it.
Driving along, my emotions are high thinking about my new role of grandmother (it sounds so old!). At the same time the reality of a life that envelops my every waking moment keeping me caught up in the rat race to achieve financial prosperity is setting in. Re-entry from vacation is always difficult, but this year it is more grueling than previous years…the bitter sweet taste of being with family and leaving to go home leaves me happy and sad at the same time. Ahhh… Shakespeare’s famous words fit perfectly… “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
“Best of the Beatles” album distracts me as it repeatedly plays in the background. Going faster than the speed limit, time seems to be in limbo as I sing and daydream, coming to consciousness only long enough to notice other cars zooming by leaving me in the dust…
Miraculously, eleven hours and four stops later, I near our nation’s capital, District of Colombia. A large maze of towering buildings and air filled with sounds of hums, screeches, and sirens invade my vacation meditations. And I wonder, “What am I doing here? Is financial prosperity really my highest priority?”
Evaluating priorities is an important part of vacation re-entry for me. I find myself always searching for a path leading to tranquility in the middle of the chaos of our “advanced” society — not an easy task. Digging deep enough to find what it is, at the core of my heart that makes me tick and feel excited to get up in the morning … serenity, health, and peace of mind are first on my list of daily priorities, but they don’t always fit in the real world.
My mind lingers on “advanced”… We enjoy the advancement our society offers yet suffer the loss of the most basic luxuries: clean air to breathe, pure water to drink, and pesticide-free food to eat. Not only are we bombarded with developed society’s toxic pollution, in the wake of our material advancement lays jungles raped and burned to the ground — homes to wild animals, medicinal plants, and indigenous communities destroyed forever.
Meanwhile, deep in the Amazonian jungles of Peru and Brazil indigenous people pass their days harvesting wild plants, or traveling by boat to the nearest neighbor community upstream — at least a five-day trip. Sounds of drums, shaman chants, and joyful dancing fill the air. In one hut a woman paints designs on fabric and clay pots, nearby some men gather attentively listening to a radio program — the only hint of advanced technology. Living a simple yet prosperous life with family and friends, in harmony with the earth and respecting all of nature’s gifts, they have the wealth of prosperity in its most natural form.
Back at home, from amidst piles of bills and newspapers a picture catches my attention. “Urban Jungle” on the cover of the most recent New Yorker magazine portrays a faint cityscape of tall buildings and a long bridge surrounded in the forefront with monkeys, chimpanzees, and an orange-billed toucan looking on from branches of jungle trees and vines with a look that says, “Are they crazy?” How appropriate!
Our Earth planet is in crisis… global warming, terminal diseases, childhood health problems are only a few symptoms. Our advanced society offers us unlimited opportunities for enjoyment while on the path of self destruction. Now we are scrambling to undo what we have done so the earth has life and vitality for the future — for our children, for our grandchildren. My conclusion is that life is way too short to waste time in activities that center only on financial prosperity, which leave us sick with anxiety and stress.
We all have a responsibility to develop Earth Prosperity consciousness, live in
harmony with our surroundings, and offer the benefits of health and peace of
mind to future generations.
For more information about how you can take part in sustaining the prosperity of the Earth contact Chitra at (888) 310-2570.
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