by Marie Doyon
In his 2013 book, Love Letter to the Earth, Thich Nhat Hahn paints a beautiful picture of Earth as our mother, Sun as our father, and we as their children dancing upon this planet carrying them within us. More than just an ethereal, spiritual connection, Thich Nhat Hahn points out that practically speaking “the planet we are living on has given us all the elements that make up our bodies. The water in our flesh, our bones, and all the microscopic cells inside our bodies all come from the Earth and are part of the Earth.”
The trouble is we have become alienated from our primordial ancestors through the busyness of daily life. And this unknowing separation, Thich Nhat Hahn explains, causes us great distress and loneliness. He speaks of the many virtues of the Earth—strength, stability, creativity, compassion, and nondiscrimination—and how we too may attain these virtues if we take care of ourselves and, in doing so, take care of the Earth.
For Thich Nhat Hahn, the key to returning communion with the Earth is mindfulness, and he offers several practices to cultivate this. Mindful walking. Mindful eating. Mindful breathing. These conscious practices help us to “enjoy every moment of life that’s given us to live,” and “touch Mother Earth inside our bodies.”
The book closes with 10 meditations on the Earth. His repetition is hypnotic and soothing. His message is profound, yet simple. This is not a book for speed-reading. Set aside time to mindfully read Thich Nhat Hahn’s ode to the Earth. You’ll surely find that it’s worth your while.