March 13, 2012

Ecology Is Every Step. A Meditation. ~ Joseph Emet


When I came upon the work of Joseph Emet, I instantly felt a connection. The calm peace of this meditation is a source of focus and intention for all to mindfully respect our experience on Earth.

Joseph Emet started the Mindfulness Meditation Centre because he had found the practice of mindfulness very helpful in his own life, and wanted to share it with others. Previously, he had tried other types of meditation practices at various times in his life; he was sitting with good posture, and was sure that he looked like he was meditating, but he himself did not feel very clear about what was happening. He certainly had not been getting any of the good results enthusiastically described in books on meditation.

Upon meeting Thich Nhat Hanh, he became intrigued with the practice of mindful breathing. He followed this up with an extended retreat at Plum Village, where in his spare time, he interviewed the monastics as to what exactly they were doing while seated in the meditation posture. They were kind enough to describe their own experiences for this curious and insistent visitor. He was getting a thorough grounding in Vipassana meditation as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. He felt for the first time that he had grasped what meditation was.

Some years later, on January 14, 2003, he was invited by Thich Nhat Hanh to receive the Lamp Transmission as a Dharma teacher. His Dharma name is Dwelling in Peaceful Concentration. He has been trying to live up to that name ever since.

(Adapted from the Mindfulness Meditation Centre’s website.)

~ Jill Barth

A New Approach Based on Love. A meditation by Joseph Emet of the  Mindfulness Meditation Centre.

Some time ago, I rewrote a part of the Metta Sutra to reflect the new reality of our times:

I hold the Earth and the Sky with love in my heart,
I hold the Oceans and Rivers with love in my heart,
I hold the creatures of the Earth with love in my heart,
Beings big or small, near or far, living now, or to come,
May they be happy, May they be safe,
And may their hearts be filled with joy.

photo by Jill Barth

This came out of a feeling that we now need to extend loving kindness to Earth itself as well as to its creatures, that what may have been unimaginable a long time ago is now a reality: our lack of loving kindness endangers the life and security of not only other earthlings, but of the planet herself, and of her beautiful body.

I am struck with how current ecological initiatives are so often based on fear and anxiety: fear of the future, and anxiety about an impending disaster. I keep wondering what would happen to a relationship or a marriage that was also based on fear and anxiety. . . I know that I don’t want to be in that kind of a relationship! My feelings about the environment are based on love and kindness; love for the Earth our mother, and kindness for her creatures. I cannot help thinking that something based on positive feelings is more likely to bear positive results.

We sometimes reproach people for their self-centeredness, and sometimes with good reason. I would like to propose as its opposite Earth-centeredness, instead of the more common selflessness. There is a plan of action about Earth-centeredness, and it is more likely to bring good results.

We are Earthlings like all our brother and sister creatures. We give our mother a haircut when we mow the lawn, and it is her beauty we admire when we look at a flower. We are made of the same four elements as the Earth. And we are children no longer: we are now as powerful, at least in a destructive sense, as she is.

That changes our relationship with our planet, and leaves old moralities in need of a revision.

I enjoyed a new traffic sign that appeared in parts of Québec recently; I saw it in the Gaspé region first:

It said, “Conduisons avec Amour,” with red hearts. Also, “Attention à nos enfants.” (Drive with Love. Watch for Children.)

photo by Jill Barth

But we need to show our love for our children and consideration for their future on this planet not only by not squishing them under our wheels, but also by practicing ecological driving. The safety of our children is intimately connected with the safety of our planet. And we not only need to drive with love in our hearts, but also wash dishes, cook, clean, and shower with love in our hearts. I have a strong conviction that the excessive pollution that threatens to ruin our planet comes not from things that truly add to our quality of life, but from our carelessness, wastefulness, and lack of concern (another word for love).

The Five Mindfulness Trainings are the basis for a morality for our time. They include such contemporary issues as sustainability, respect for life and mindful consumption.

Ecology Is Every Step means a willingness to bring these qualities to our everyday life in our homes, workplaces and in our society.

Copyright © 2012 by Joseph Emet. All rights reserved.



Joseph Emet founded the Mindfulness Meditation Centere, and presently coordinates and guides its activities. He has received the Lamp Transmission as a Dharma Teacher on January 15, 2003 from Thich Nhat Hanh. He has been a Fulbright Scholar, holds a Doctorate from Boston University, and is certified in Reality Therapy counseling. He is the author of A Basket of Plums, a boxed set with two CD’s of Mindfulness Songs published by Parallax Press (with a foreword by Thich Nhat Hanh). Please visit the centere’s website for more information about his work.


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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