My Water Creed

Stream in South Africa

I believe that our conscious only has one chance on earth.  This time is precious and will determine our “happiness” when we make our transition out of this “life”.  The word happiness does not compare to the actual feelings we will encounter in our next existence. This is a human made word that is incomplete to describe our conscious becoming one with the entire cosmic reality.  I read once to think about the happiest, most content time in your life then multiply that feeling by 1,000; now you have a glimpse into the feelings I am describing.  It is our human way to believe that the existence we are currently experiencing is the most important. This is our ego.  Our species has made the opposite of life, death, a tragic end to our current being.  In Western society it is believed that after death we no longer have a connection with the earth. We can simply leave our problems of destruction and greed behind; at least this is how we act.  However, I would like you to open your mind to the possibility that how we act, think, feel will be directly related to our next reality.  All living beings will also be with us in the next reality.  A tree will be no less important than a rabbit and a rabbit will be equal to a human.  We will all exist equally.  Earthly life is a time to practice equality among all.  Beings that do not accept this equality will struggle with their ego for eternity; they will not enter into the enlightenment and will never be perpetually one with all beings. Humans are the only species to have this struggle.

Water is used by every single being to maintain life; therefore, to be water conscious means to also be conscious of the purpose of the present life.  If we act, think and feel the importance of water for every being than we are practicing for our next life.  We are removing our ego from the equation.  Removing ego is very difficult especially in the Western modern world we live in, but we have a whole life of practice.  We must practice by conservating of our water sources, having sustainable water management, providing clean drinking water for all and having reverence for the life sustaining substance. If we can understand and protect water, than the doors will open leading all other problems to be solved. 

 The connection between water and the transcendent reality was a gradual process.  My worldview developed first from learning about mystical aspects of religions.  Buddhism and Shamanism were two religions that I can relate to the most.  I find comfort in the belief that humans can tap into another cosmic reality, either through meditation or music and dance.  This idea removes the concept that one god is on a pedestal and has power over us and opens my life to a self responsibility.  I try to practice compassion for others as well as the natural world. The thought of being connected to all beings is comforting and fulfills my need for community.  After hearing about the indigenous reflections on water at the 13 Grandmothers presentation at Cornell University in 2008, water became incorporated into my worldview.  The women spoke about how water is so vital to the natural environment; therefore, we should respect water as a spiritual substance.  They spoke with such honesty and compassion, that I was inspired to dedicate my life to water issues. The next day I added an environmental studies minor and have taken any class available to me about water.

 I used to take water for granted. I was raised to believe that water is abundant and its sole purpose was to entertain, clean and hydrate. When it came to water there were no issues; it was the one substance that brought reassurance and peace. Life is good because no matter what, everyone had water.  My parents sheltered me from the media and any issues of suffering in the world. It is no surprise that my worldview was so magical and blissful.  I was seeing the world through an imaginary lens.  Any adult never told me to turn off the sprinkler if I was not playing in it or to take a bath right after playing in the creek because all the runoff lawn fertilizers and pesticides and sewage contaminated the water. Many Americans grew up with rose colored glasses just as I did and maybe still view the world that way. 

When I grew up to understand world issues, I still didn’t have a complete worldview.  I was living in a society where we would sympathize for the starving people in Sudan, but since it wasn’t directly affecting us or close to us; the general public didn’t have to do anything about it.  This is what most adults and friends do at home. When it comes to water issues, we see water as problems for people in other countries and arid environments. In southeast Pennsylvania, there is no problem. It is abundant and cheap. No one goes looking for problems in quality of the local water sources, because that is the government’s job. No worries, someone is looking after us.   

I couldn’t have been more obtuse. Water rights are abused by authority figures all over the world. The violation of this basic need has caused 4 million to die from water related illnesses and the landscape has been deteriorated and drained.  The Onondaga Lake in New York is reported to be the most polluted Lake in the USA. This lake has spiritual significance to the Onondaga Nation, the Native Americans who have always lived in this area. They have no control over what happens to the lake.  Since the industrial revolution, the lake has been a dumping ground for municipal and industrial waste. The EPA has labeled it a superfund site because of the amount and type of pollution (nitrogen, phosphorus and ionic solutions). The first reaction to this news is, “Well that is unacceptable.” Anyone with a slight moral conscious has had the same reaction. But what next?  I believe that hearing stories of suffering and going into a paralyzed state, then removing the tragic information to ones’ black hole part of the mind is unacceptable.  We can not forget about people who live in a reality where suffering from insufficient clean water is a daily trial.

 The next conscious thought is, “What can I do?” Anyone who has ever spoken about a human rights violation has always heard this question from the audience. Why must we ask questions with no answer? Why must humans always have to be told what to do?  Every human comes from a different environment and has access to different resources.  The answer I have confidence giving is to be aware of suffering in the world; do not ever close your ears to the cry for justice from your fellow humans or the silence of a being that does not speak. Then PRACTICE keeping the information in your conscious mind so that you can base every decision you make in awareness of the worlds suffering.   Remember how you act, feel and think about water will ultimately lead to your enlightenment in the transcendent world and will give you the compassion and understanding to love all beings.

For example, I do not use plastic water bottles. There is no scenario where I think it is necessary to use them.  After learning about the quality of the water in bottled water (sometimes less than tap), how much energy is used in creating the plastic (2,000 X greater that tap), studying about the plastic waste found in the North Pacific Gyre (aka the Great Garbage Patch) and seeing the plastic waste under the homes of people in Thailand, I do not use them at all.  When I go to the airport I empty my BPA free reusable water bottle and fill it up in a sink or water fountain on the other side of security.  I am not bound to buying a plastic water bottle for $3.00.  It is easy to remember your water bottle when you are practicing conscious suffering.  It is Buddhist philosophy to be conscious of suffering to be relieved of all suffering; therefore, this practice is not at all depressing. I encourage all of any spiritual background to try.

 

My cabin in Huntingdon, PA that currently has many fruit trees planted in the empty space. Further work is needed.

 

In addition after learning about permaculture in my water management class, I plan on looking at the property that my cabin sits on to see if I can implement any earthworks.  A lot of forest was destroyed when the cabin was built on the top of the mountain; therefore, at the top of a watershed. It seems that the lack of vegetation is causing a lot of runoff consequentially, depleting the ground water. We plan on keeping this cabin for many generations, and it uses a well, so to prevent a dry well in the future we have to plan today to keep the water table high. 

My water creed is to be practice water consciousness. This was a philosophy that I discovered before taking water-management.  Because my awareness I was able to see this course as an opportunity to learn and again increase my awareness.  With the increased knowledge of water issues and solutions for water conservation I have become an example to my peers.  Some look at me like I am strange, but hopefully the seed has been planted for the beginning of their water consciousnesses. The awareness is not easy, only with practice will you make the impact you were destined to make.  The end result is eternal happiness, so it doesn’t seem strange to try.

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