One of the greatest hindrances to us living in harmony with our environment is that we have been convinced by society that we are a separate aspect of our environment. Because of thoughts, symbols, and concepts we think that our environment does things to us and we can either choose to be a victim or we can pound the environment into submission to our will, which has highly destructive effects.
In truth, our environment – people, animals, and all living beings – is not something to be conquered, but something to see that we are a part of. We go with our environment and are as much something that has grown from the earth as an apple grows from a tree. As an apple on a tree does not seek to control the tree, we should not be so arrogant to think that we can control the planet on which we live.
Yet we see this desire for control evident in both large and small ways. Certainly, there are many simple ways we can harness the forces within nature for highly productive purposes – energy – without causing any harm to the environment. But because we feel that the environment is something separated from us, we care very little about how our actions might negatively impact the world in which we live. We neglect to see that as we pollute the air we harm every living thing on earth. However, we continue to pollute the atmosphere because we care more for monetary profit and our own created symbolic system we call an economy, than we do about seeing life truly flourish on earth.
As we see and understand our connection to one another and to all of nature, the way in which we live within our environment changes. In one sense, we begin to see ourselves in everything else and the feeling of disconnected separateness disappears.