12/29/2011 02:10 EST | Updated 12/29/2011 02:10 EST

From Interdependence to Independence: When Did We Lose Our Connection?

Daniel Beltrá

Everything in our universe, galaxy, solar system and planet is connected by the energy that permeates all of existence. When it comes to our planet, as the saying goes "We are all in it together!" All of us are inescapably connected to and dependent on every other microbe of life here on planet Earth. It's that very complex connection that allows the millions of different life forms to coexist and thrive on this perfect little planet.

Now when I say little, what I mean is minute. In comparison to the vast expanse of the universe out there, our planet is like a single grain of sand swirling around the field of a football stadium.

Now, it's understandable that the very nature of the human mind allows us to create and contemplate an infinite amount of new possibilities. These possibilities come in the form of better clothing, longer-lasting building structures, more productive agricultural production, as well as an endless array of technological and computerized inventions.

It's the nature of our complex mind that makes it possible for us to continue to affect change in a major way on the world around us. Of the millions of life forms on this planet that exist in a delicate balance, we are the only species that have begun to live a disconnected life from the planet that gave us our birth.

We endlessly create and consume in the hopes of filling a never ending pit of emptiness growing within all of humanity. If only we understood, that the emptiness we feel is created by our conscious effort to live a disconnected life from a planet we are forever connected to, we might have a chance to change the legacy we'll leave the future generations. We are all connected. The air we breath, the water we drink and the food we eat all come from the same place. Planet Earth.

We've taken it upon ourselves to live outside of nature and because of that, we are facing some of mankind's biggest challenges.

The air we breath, the water we drink and the food we eat have all undergone radical change over the last hundred years.

Where the food we eat is concerned, we have become agricultural mad scientists. We alter the plants we eat and the soil we grow. We fill livestock with antibiotics, hormones and other cocktails of medication. We genetically modify our foods and we are successfully killing off the fish in the sea.

The oceans of planet earth are the womb of all creation, with the first lifeforms on this planet coming in the form of microscopic cellular organic life. Those simple life forms would eventually evolve into the vast diversity we see today. Of the lifeforms living in the waters of our world, relatively few have evolved to live out of the water and on land and the one animal at the very top of the proverbial food chain, which funnily enough is directly reliant on all those beneath it, chooses to chop away at the roots that nourish the tree of life.

I now live in a world where species such as orange roughy, monkfish, tuna, and halibut contain toxic mercury. Where eating salmon, flounder, and sturgeon caviar pose a possible health threat from chemical contaminants such as PCBs dioxins and pesticides.

Our only hope is that we run out of fish before we transform them all into swimming toxic waste.

So, with all major changes that need to be made here on planet Earth, I think by now we can all finally agree that "YES" changes need to made. The hard part seems to be where to begin. It's that scary first step that always seems to impede any progress when in comes to doing something new. Statements like "Change the planet, impossible!" or "I'm just one person, what can I do?" lead people to frustration and inaction.

We need to stop thinking of ourselves as individuals and begin to realize that we are all interconnected and that even our smallest action, both good and bad affect the world around us. The reality is, we don't need to change the world, we need to change the way each of us affects the world through our interconnections with it.

Don't go through life ignorant to the imprint you leave on others or the ground beneath your feet. Every time you choose the needs of the planet over your own personal needs, that compassionate energy is felt around the world like ripples across a pond.

A wise man once said, "People hate suffering, but love its causes." We need to stop worrying about the future and whining about the past, and focus on this moment. In this moment, we have the power to end the suffering we impose on ourselves and the world around us. We need to stop focusing on our own immediate gratification and direct our attention to the needs of those we affect through our actions. Just as compassion is the only productive answer to the suffering of hostility, a mindful sense of Interdependence is the only productive answer to the suffering caused from our ego-centric independence.