“We know that if our heart stops beating, the flow of our life will stop, and so we cherish our heart very much. Yet we do not often take the time to notice that there are other things, outside of our bodies, that are also essential for our survival. Look at the immense light we call the sun. If it stops shining, the flow of our life will also stop, and so the sun is our second heart, our heart outside of our body. This immense “heart” gives all life on Earth the warmth necessary for existence. Plants live thanks to the sun. Leaves absorb the sun’s energy, along with carbon dioxide from the air, to produce food for the tree and the flower. In the oceans, phytoplankton process the sun’s energy to produce oxygen and nourishment for marine life. Thanks to plants, we and other animals can live.

All of us—people, animals, and plants—“consume” the sun, directly and indirectly. We cannot begin to describe all the effects of the sun, that great heart outside of our body. In fact, our body is not limited to what lies inside the boundary of our skin. Our body is much greater, much more immense. If the layer of air around our Earth disappears even for an instant, “our” life will end. There is no phenomenon in the universe that does not intimately concern us, from a pebble resting at the bottom of the ocean, to the movement of a galaxy millions of light years away.”

Thich Nhat Hanh – “The Sun My Heart”

(Parallax Press 2020)

Updated/maj. 05-07-2021

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