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Ten Minutes of Gratitude for Planet Earth

It has been well documented that expressing gratitude is essential to happiness. In several recent books published about happiness, such as Sonja Lyubomirsky's "The How of Happiness" and countless Oprah shows, we have been shown time and time again that giving thanks not only moves people from thinking about what they are lacking to a state of appreciation for what they have. It also just feels good. Mainstream movies like The Secret drive the point home further by explaining that our thoughts actually generate energy waves which travel outward to initiate the process of manifesting what we think into reality; positive into positive, negative into negative. We really do create our own reality, whether we want to believe it or not.

So I've been thinking. Earth Day 2008 is April 22. Wouldn't it be great if we could use gratitude to help create a better Earth and make ourselves happier in the process? To heal the catastrophic environmental destruction we've inflicted in merely a century? We know by now we humans have poisoned, pillaged, and harmed much of the planet. There can be little argument that damage has been done. But we've also been told it's not too late.

Let's help undo the damage. Let's show the Earth, a living planetary organism, how grateful we are for all it gives us. Let's see what happens when we do the opposite of what we usually do with the Earth ' take it for granted ' and instead express our gratitude at large.

Here is what I propose: While there are thousands if not tens of thousands of Earth Day events planned worldwide (see http://ww2.earthday.net/~earthday/node/80), the one I am launching will not only be the easiest to participate in, but perhaps the most universal. It's called "10 Minutes of Gratitude for Planet Earth". This is what you do: On Earth Day April 22, 2008 at 12:00 noon in any time zone, sit quietly and for ten minutes focus your attention on all the places, experiences, and moments of Earthly nature you have ever enjoyed, and be grateful for them.

Yep, that's it. You don't have to go anywhere, donate to a cause, or volunteer your time. Okay, I understand it sounds too easy. That's mostly because we've been conditioned to believe anything effective is difficult or complicated.

Yet usually the best things in life are not just free, they're exquisitely simple. Nonetheless, for those wishing additional information, here is how I see this working as well as some useful guidelines: 1. Sit in a quiet space in which you will not be interrupted by people, electronics, or anything else. 2. Ideally, sit outside facing nature. Look at your garden, a pond, lake, ocean, mountain or park.

If you're city-bound, find a tree or plant and focus on it. Even look at the sky, clouds or sun. The point is to keep the Earth's natural beauty and not a man-made creation in your vista. 3. Keep your eyes open or closed as you wish.

4. To begin, focus your thoughts only on your favorite moments in nature courtesy of planet Earth. These could range from a visit to a site of natural beauty like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, or the beach to a favorite sunset or sunrise you remember.

Even the most urban-bound residents of New York, London, or Tokyo have seen rivers, trees, and mountains from their cities. I believe everyone will have something they can focus on, even if simply a patch of sky above them. 5.

As you focus on the Earth's natural beauty, feel a sense of gratitude for the natural experiences, adventures and remembrances you have. Thank the Earth not only for your memories and experiences, but also for the sustenance in the form of food, water, air and shelter that it has provided you. 6.

If you wish to go beyond ten minutes of gratitude, focus your remaining time on holding a vision of a healed Earth. Picture the Amazon rain forests re-growing. See clear-running streams and rivers.

Imagine beaches without a plastic bag, bottle or piece of trash on them. Visualize natural abundance and human existence in harmony with our planet. Do this as long as you wish. Yes this is idealistic, but then again I'm a self-confessed optimist, although not without reason.

Nonetheless I can hear the doubters already thinking "what about the two-thirds of the planet's population living in extreme poverty or wretched circumstances? They won't even hear about this, or care to do it. So why bother?" This message is not for them; they're too busy trying to survive. This is for you.

What will YOU do? Will you participate? Perhaps this will convince you. Physicists tell us that according to the laws of wave mechanics, the intensity of any kind of waves that are in phase with one another is the square of the sum of the waves. So, five waves together are twenty-five times as intense as one wave; ten waves are one hundred times as intense, etc. Since physics has also proven that thought is energy, and all energy occurs as waves, then if only 80,000 people are all thinking the same thing simultaneously, they are as powerful as the entire population of the earth (around 6.1 billion people). Since 80,000 times 80,000 equals 6,400,000,000, then 80,000 people all believing the same thing should be enough to change the planetary reality.

Let's err on the safe side. Let's make it a million people and see what happens. Please participate by simply marking your calendar and planning to give ten minutes of gratitude at noon on April 22.

It certainly won't cause any harm, and hopefully it will do a world of good. Better yet, help spread word of this event by contacting your schools, churches, and community organizations. Link to this article on your Web sites and blogs, or forward it to your friends and colleagues. It's so easy to help, won't you? I know the Earth will be glad you did. Copyright (c) 2008 Karen Talavera.

Karen Talavera is a writer who expresses her opinions and reflections on present-day happenings and transformative experiences. Her articles explore social and political issues, personal growth, and spirituality. Through her writing she seeks to elevate social consciousness and generate change toward a more harmonious life on Earth. To read more from Karen, visit http://worldwidesoundoff.blogspot.com .

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