A little more than fifty years ago, astronauts first looked out the widow of their spaceship and saw the Earth from outer space, a bright blue ball suspended in the darkness. Edgar Mitchell, a NASA astronaut who landed on the moon in 1971, said this after seeing the Earth from this new vantage point
: “You develop an instant global consciousness
, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.” Suddenly, he could see the whole world as one cohesive whole, not as a collection of many disparate countries and cultures, and his consciousness was instantly elevated as a result.
Today, all of us are being called to adopt that same “global consciousness.” Humanity is facing many problems that we can only solve together, so it is time to expand our awareness beyond old definitions of race, class, nationality, and so on. For me, this means claiming the title “Earth Citizen
” as my primary identity in this world. If people join me in this, I believe we can transform our way of living on Earth. Here are some tips for developing your own Earth Citizen lifestyle:
- 1. Identify as an Earth Citizen.
This is the first, most important step to changing your consciousness in the world. Ultimately, all of us are reliant on the Earth for our lives and sustenance, yet many are still preoccupied with smaller labels, such as nationalities and other cultural identities. It is fine to be proud of your family history and your unique cultural heritage, but it is important to recognize that we all ultimately come from the same place in the universe—planet Earth.
2. Express gratitude for the Earth.
The Earth is easy to take for granted. After all, she continues giving to us whether we care for her or not. To boost your own Earth Citizen consciousness, find a specific time each day to deliver thanks to the planet and to acknowledge the gifts she gives. For example, you could make it part of your daily meditation practice, or you could make it part of a silent blessing you say to yourself before a meal.
3. Consider all living beings.
Growing up, you probably learned that you must be considerate and kind to other people. Now, we need to extend that mindset beyond just the human world. Our planet contains a big, wonderful network of life that includes many interdependent forms of life. We share this planet with them, and it is not right for us to harm them or to treat them as expendable. Learn about all the wonderful plants and animals of this world and treat them as friends on your journey through life.
4. Find joy in your life as it is right now.
Look around and feel gratitude for what you have now—your community, your friends, your health, and all the other blessings that life has brought to you. Take joy from the simple, beautiful things of life—a beautiful flower, a blue sky, or a lovely sunset, for example.
5. Live sustainably.
Most people today have the chance to buy a lot of stuff and to travel to places that their great-grandparents could never have dreamt about. This can bring wonderful experiences into our lives, but ultimately it cannot bring happiness, and our consumption patterns are harming the earth. Do what you can to reduce this impact, such as recycling, buying less unnecessary stuff, and reducing your use of petroleum products.
- 6. Develop a wide-benefit mindset.
In Korea, we have a philosophy we live by called “Hongik.” It means “living for the wide benefit of all.” In other words, we think we should live in a way that benefits everyone, not just ourselves or our immediate family. When setting your goals for life or when making important decisions, ask yourself: “How does humanity and the world benefit from my actions and choices?”
- 7. Commune with nature.
Spending some time outside in nature is very important for the health of body, mind, and soul. Studies have shown that even pictures of nature help lower our stress levels. When in nature, we can really feel our connection to the Earth, and our personal problems and worries easily drop away.
8. Expand your awareness.
Being an Earth Citizen means that you are aware of others, not just yourself. Always seek to expand your knowledge of the world, including social and environmental issues.
9. Connect to energy.
Although we may appear to be separate beings in the physical realm, we are all connected through energy. Humans are linked to each other, and we are in turn linked to other living beings, and even to the entire cosmos, through a web of energy that connects everything together as one. Earth Citizens live their lives with an awareness and an appreciation of the vast grandeur and power of the energy system that binds everything together as one.
10. Grow your soul.
Earth Citizens understand that life is a journey whose objective is continual upward evolution. Living with an intentional mindset of growth will accentuate and accelerate that growth, and it will lead to ultimate fulfillment.
Life as an Earth Citizen is a joyful one. It is a life of connecting to others and of celebrating our common identity as living beings sharing a small planet. If we find unity in our common identity as Earth Citizens, problems that seem huge will no longer seem insurmountable. You are a beautiful part of the mosaic of life on this planet, and you have more power than you realize, so please claim your true identity now. The Earth and her creation are counting on you.