The Sustainability Mindset
Rumi, the 13th Century Persian poet, provides us with profound insight & understanding. He offers us another perspective to consider when contemplating our smallness. As Rumi describes, “you are not just a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.” We are not insignificant for being small. Rather, we are each a reflection of the larger whole. Together, we are all a part of something much, much bigger!
This is a pretty impressive revelation. For those of us concerned with climate change and sustainability, we can definitely use this motivation. Our natural world is being threatened, the environment eroded, and species are being wiped out on a massive scale.
The Daunting Task Ahead
We must fight to stop this! We can help human society to transition towards sustainability. The struggle is incredibly difficult, but we must carry on. In this context, Rumi is spot on! Each of us has the potential to effect change.
The climate crisis certainly presents an enormous challenge! The difficulties are significant and have many layers. As a result, it’s relatively easy to think that our individual contribution won’t amount to much (see also, “cynicism is a weapon“). We can’t give in to this sense of defeat.
The Future Is Worth Fighting For
There is so much you can do! Don’t just brush it off. Each of your actions accumulate. You might decide to donate to a cause, volunteer with an organization, join a protest, or simply ditch plastic disposables. When contemplating the options, it’s natural that you might hesitate. What can one person do in the face of this vast & frightening climate crisis.
We might think that our efforts can’t possibly make that much of a difference in the big picture. That’s simply untrue. Rumi reminds us that we are, each of us, a reflection of the big picture. Each of us contribute to it.
A Collection of Drops
Rumi’s message is also well expressed in the book & film Cloud Atlas (excerpt above). The main characters feel compelled to act upon their beliefs, in the hopes of realizing the change they envision.
This is captured in a brilliant line; “What is the ocean, but a multitude of drops?” It does drive the message that system change is possible! We have done it before (see A Fierce Green Fire), and we can do it again. It’s certainly worth the effort and sacrifice. People have managed to overcome incredible obstacles and tremendous hardship. At the time, it is not something many would necessarily want to undertake, but it is ultimately powerful and rewarding.
Rumi Understood The Big Picture
What I find additionally poignant about Rumi’s observation, is how timely it still is. Indeed, much of his works have not only withstood the test of time, they feel contemporary. For instance, the ocean drop quote is also complimentary to our present-day scientific understanding of the universe.
We know that Rumi was a gifted scholar. He came from a family of theologians (bio), and eventually dedicated his life to better understanding humanity and spirituality. As such, we can certainly give him credit for his profound knowledge and awareness.
Still, the depth of his understanding appears to have been centuries ahead. On a number of points Rumi seems to have really hit the nail on the head. Rumi has provided us with wisdom and insight as he attempted to make sense of this beautiful mixed up world. Thankfully, Rumi recorded his contemplations. He shared his revelations through compelling and accessible poetry. It continues to inspire.
We Are Stardust
Before space shuttles or the electron microscope, Rumi was able to make the connection that we are each a reflection of the universe. Something that has since been confirmed by physicists, astronomers, and biologists.
As it turns out, we are all made from stardust! Once again Rumi demonstrated some truly profound wisdom and recognition.🤩 Use it as motivation. Take a deep breath and think big! Believing that you can make an impact will clearly help you to realize the change that you want to see in the world!