Living Green with Garbage

    At what point in our wondrous evolution was it decided that the disposal of tons of garbage every day was an acceptable and necessary practice? Everywhere you go, there is garbage. Everything is packaged, and the package becomes garbage. Paper, cardboard, plastic, more paper, cardboard and plastic, and the volume increases every year.

    I stopped in my local drug store to buy a bottle of nasal spray to relieve my temporary dis-ease. I purchased a small, plastic bottle packaged in a box, covered with plastic wrapping. I stripped away the wrapping and created garbage. I opened the box. More garbage. I pull out the three pages of paper, folded 12 times and squashed into the box for instructions. More garbage. Then I tore off the tamper-proof plastic wrap around the child proof cap, screwed off the lid to create more garbage. Then I had to stop and take time to dispose of all the garbage, all because I needed a small amount of liquid to squirt up my nose so I could breath. Quite the metaphysical-spiritual experience!

    Growing up as a child, we would often visit my very poor grandparents in the southern hills of Alabama. They would make use of everything they had. There was very little waste and practically no garbage. They would look for the blessing in everything that was given to them. Left-over food, peelings or any cut offs was fed to the farm animals so that they could grow and become more food for us. Food was placed in jars and stored, then the jars were reused over and over. Every cardboard and every paper was reused. I may be showing my age on this one, but I remember when paper was not used only for reading pleasure in grandfather’s outdoor toilet facility.

    This world, just like our children, is not ours; it is a gift that is given to us from spirit for a short period of time. We, as temporary parents of the world, have a short period of time to share our talents and nurturing to help this gift grow to become something very beautiful and self-sustaining. Everything around us of a physical nature comes from the earth. The earth is a living, breathing loving entity. How we use its resources will determine what our child earth will grow up to be. Would you treat your child the same way you treat the earth?

    We can make a difference in "greening" the world – as an individual, in our everyday lives and activities, even if it is on a small scale. All change starts within our own hearts and souls. To make a difference on a larger scale, we create institutions.

    Successful institutions must maintain three basic foundations: a basic structure, designated moralities and connection with Spirit. The basic structure is the business, finances, policies and procedures. This foundation is needed for the institution to survive on a daily basis. Having a moral structure gives the members of the institution day-to-day instructions on how to live and empower the mission of the institution. Finally, a connection with the spirit allows people to experience on higher levels what the institution is trying to create. If you do not experience what you are creating, you have no energy to keep you motivated to help the institution grow.

    Religions are institutions that have been around for many ages. They have the basic structure of business, finance, policies and procedures. They have the moralities and teachings to help a person live from day-to-day embracing the mission of the institution. But many religions have lacked the ability to help their members connect with the spirit. Thus, many people have left religions to become "spiritual," as opposed to religious.

    Is it that people wish to be spiritual and not religious? Or is it that religion is just not helping its members to learn how to connect to spirit and experience their higher power? Many have left their religions to create spiritual institutions based on connecting with spirit, but many of these organizations have lacked the basic structure and set moralities that are needed to hold it together.

    Nearing its fifteenth year, Edge Life is an organization that has been a premier spiritual institution showing how the balance of these basic foundations can create growth and longevity. At Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, we have worked hard, through many years of trial and error, to learn how to balance all three principles to create a solid community institution.

    The same principles apply to institutions that are created to help us live green and help the world. There needs to be a basic structure and set moralities that give us instruction on how to nurture and care for our world, but we must be sure to not leave out teaching people how to feel and experience the higher connection with what they are creating, to teach them to experience every beauty of this fantastic gift, including garbage, that has been given to us for a short period of time to nurture and love.

    The next time you toss your garbage, take the time to experience where it came from and where it will go. At this point, you will have the opportunity to make a decision or create an idea that could make a change. You could have an opportunity to create an institution to implement your idea that would change the world – or you can just toss it in the can, drag the can out to the street each week for the garbage man, never knowing where it might show up next. It’s your choice.

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