Posts tagged earthen spirituality
“You carry Mother Earth within you,” says Thay. “She is not outside of you.”
Thich Nhat Hanh interview with Jo Confino, an executive editor of the Guardian
I am so grateful for the message of Thich Nhat Hanh who gets right to crux; the missing, fundamental principle of why so many humans do not love the Earth and thus will not sacrifice for that which they do not love.
“You carry Mother Earth within you,” says Thay. “She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. In that kind of relationship you have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change your life. Changing is not just changing the things outside of us. First of all we need the right view that transcends all notions including of being and non-being, creator and creature, mind and spirit. That kind of insight is crucial for transformation and healing.
Fear, separation, hate and anger come from the wrong view that you and the Earth are two separate entities, the Earth is only the environment. You are in the centre and you want to do something for the Earth in order for you to survive. That is a dualistic way of seeing. So to breathe in and be aware of your body and look deeply into it and realise you are the Earth and your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Not to cut the tree not to pollute the water, that is not enough.”
“The life of a warrior cannot possibly be cold and lonely and without feelings, because it is based on his affection, his devotion, his dedication to his beloved… The Earth knows that he loves it, and it bestows on him its care. That’s why his life is filled to the brim and his state, wherever he’ll be, will be plentiful. He roams on the paths of his love… This Earth… Only if one loves this Earth with unbending passion, can one release one’s sadness. A warrior is always joyful, because his love is unalterable and his beloved, the Earth, embraces him and bestows upon him inconceivable gifts. The sadness belongs only to those who hate the very thing that gives shelter to their beings. This lovely Being, which is alive to its last recesses and understands every feeling, soothed me, it cured me of my pains, and finally when I had fully understood my love for it, it taught me freedom. Only the love for this splendorous Being can give freedom to a warrior’s spirit; and freedom is joy, efficiency, and abandon in the face of any odds.”
Tales of Power Carlos Castenada
This is the fourth book in the series and was published in 1974. Carlos Castaneda was a mystic and the content and style of his descriptions of Don Juan’s teachings in no way detract from the value of his ideas. We tend to like those ideas that fall in line with our present beliefs. His stories about Don Juan and the experiences he describes hold great value to me. After all, who decides what truth
I also think it is safe to say that Carlos was not influenced by Lovelock and Margulis. At the time of Castaneda’s 4th book preparation, the Gaia Hypothesis had not been published. Even if it had, Lovelock and Margulis did not describe Gaia as “a living Being” They spoke of the Earth as, I paraphrase, acting as if it was a living organism. I suspect they were not game to venture that far from mainstream science. I do respect their desire to publish within the confines of what would be interpreted as “sound science”.
“Looking for consciousness in the world is a bit like studying a movie, looking for the source of its light. Nowhere would we find it. The light is not in the movie. The movie is made of light.”
The Reality of Consciousness by Peter Russell http://www.peterrussell.com/Odds/RealityConsc.pdf
Similarly, one cannot find “the self” because what we are is not a thing “out there” to be found. We are what we are looking for. Also, there is nobody doing the looking for again there is only “the seeing, the hearing, the sensing, etc.” and nobody doing it. Many call this unity consciousness. I call it being lived by Earth or Gaia. All we can detect is the consciousness of Gaia. Cosmic consciousness is too far removed and may be set aside as pure speculation and most probably unknowable. Gaia consciousness can be known and realised because it is we; there is no other.
Excerpt from Greenspirit Chair’s Report 2014
In the midst of so much activity it is useful to remind ourselves of what we are which gives us our special identity. As Ian’s report points out our primary attraction is our spirituality. We come from many traditions and none but what unites us is that we find spiritual nourishment in our connection with creation, which is as Berry says ‘our primary revelation’. He word ‘God’ has been too often hijacked by narrow religion which has restricted and diminished the divine presence that surrounds us and gives everything life. In Greenspirit our vision encompasses all that is, from the tiniest particle to the greatest galaxy and we glimpse the truth that even the least blade of grass is a presence of inexpressible love. And these glimpses are enough to make us fall in love with creation.
This beautifully expressed in an extract from the book, ‘Epiphany in the Beans’ in our last magazine. As she felt the happiness that made her ‘ ‘laugh out loud’ working in her garden, Robin Kimmerer writes, ‘I knew with a certainty as warm and clear as the September sunshine, the land loves us back’.
In Greenspirit, we have moved on from trying to save the Earth just by campaigning and action, though of course these matter. Our greatest strength is in our spiritual journey, finding the awareness that ‘the land loves us back’. Every time we make this loving connection with creation, we bless it, healing begins and what is more we raise this connection with everyone, [on the hundredth monkey principle]. As long as our green convictions remain ideas in our heads they alone will not change the world. But when enough of us reclaim our identity with and immersion in creation, it becomes our sacred community. Then it is impossible to harm it and profound healing happens.
Are we Guardians of the Planet?
1. one who looks after, protects, or defends: the guardian of public morals.
Darkening of the Light
Witnessing the End of an Era
by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
In the Introduction to Darkening of the Light by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, we find:
“But this gift of light was also a test for humanity…and has forgotten our ancient purpose as guardians of the planet.”
Not only do I have no idea who or what religion, spirituality or movement decided that we have this ancient purpose. It certainly was not Jewish or Christian. According to Genesis, God has given us the planet to have dominion over. I am aware of my ignorance and will try to find out.
We just cannot have it both ways. Either we see the oneness, the non-dual in our beingness as the Earth, or we see the duality as we, creatures of the Earth protecting the other that we choose to call Earth. The bark is the tree, there is not the bark and the tree as a duality. Yes, our language allows us to split and divide, carve up things so that we can speak of the tree roots, the tree bark, tree limbs, tree leaves, but still without these what we call parts, what we observe wouldn’t be a tree. It is our thinking function that gets hung up on dichotomys. Our science rips living things apart and then pronounces on what “it is.”
Guardianship may have ancient beginnings, but our science supports a non-dual understanding of how we are in the world. Even to see ourselves as IN a world out there is to err.
There is no duality, no “out there” and “in here.” As Vadim Zeland has said, the world is a mirror of your attitude towards it. The Gnostic text The Gospel of St. Thomas that didn’t make the cut by the early “holy” fathers of the church, remarks something like: When the inner becomes as the outer, there is the Kingdom of God. Another biblical source says that the Kingdom of God is within you. [Luke 17:21] So, we may see that actually, the world is also within you, not “out there.” So, if there is no “out there” and “out there” is really within us and we are “within” the planet both physically and spirituality, then what we have is oneness, true oneness. From the perspective of planets, stars and galaxies, they are not “out there” either, so they are a oneness. From here it is not too far out for those who speak of oneness with the Universe.
Now this is my thinking function rattling on. How do I feel? Can I sense oneness in my everyday interaction with what I think of as out there? Well, since I cannot and do not want to part with my mate and buddy, the thinking function, I’ll just call it a both/and and leave it for now as I set forth for my daily bread walking among the birds, insects, grass, trees, bushes, clouds and feeling joyful knowing that I know and I am known.
Can A Few Monks Save the Cardamom Forest?
By Luke Duggleby May 16, 2013
“Cambodia’s forests were once described by the World Bank as the country’s “most developmentally important resource”, but according to the international group Global Witness, by 2009 these rich forests had been largely degraded by unrestricted logging, the valuable timber sold off by the political elite for quick, private profits.”
Who gave humans who govern countries the right to pillage and destroy precious trees?
The mind desires this,
And grieves for that.
It embraces one thing,
And spurns another.
Now it feels anger,
In this way you are bound.
But when the mind desires nothing
And grieves for nothing,
When it is without joy or anger
And, grasping nothing,
Turns nothing away. . .
Then you are free.
When the mind is attracted
To anything it senses,
You are bound.
When there is no attraction,
You are free.
Where there is no I,
You are free.
Where there is I,
You are bound.
It is easy.
Turn nothing away.
~ Ashtavakra Gita (8.1-4)
This is really the essence of Advaita. Another beautiful expression is within the Hsin Hsin Ming. You can find a copy on the WWW. I understand that this sounds like a plea to be joyless; however, perhaps joy and pleasure are not the same. Also, perhaps the word “mind” may not accurately capture the non-duality message. It is the thinking function that discriminates and fuels the judgement that in the end results in pain and suffering. The message is based on the fact that there are NO dualities, just the Dao, just the moment.
All this is clearly expressed in the wonderful treasure which is the Hsin Hsin Ming. It may take you years of pondering, re-reading, looking at again, asking the universe for understanding – all that before you begin to “get it.” Then perhaps you’ll lose it again and at one and the same time know and despair that you don’t know, don’t understand. What might help or maybe put you over the edge of being able to relate is that you cannot “know” yourself, the Dao simply because it does not exist as an object. You cannot separate it – you- out in an effort to “know” it because you are it. You are a person looking for eyes to see. I must put in a word for the late Jean Klein. If you can obtain any of his books of dialogues, you may find that his clarity may tip you over the edge with the “oh, now I get it” moment. Oh there is so much that lies around the fringe of Advaita. Some say that you “get it” when you quit looking. Others, like The Maharshi tell us that our impediment is thinking that we can’t find “it” when actually we are what we seek.
Lastly, you will never know why you either care about these ideas or just can’t be bothered. “It” either calls you relentlessly until you don’t feel the need to “be bothered” or will always sound just too weird and you will never “be bothered.” Either way, you may rest assured, in my not so humble opinion, that there is no separate “you” inside your head looking out onto a separate world.
Working in harmony with our higher self [Earth] is our biggest challenge.
Will we be the species that causes earth to resemble the moon?
Don’t think it can’t happen.
This Category, *Pagan Ethics, contains a series of posts that are a commentary on a book – Living with Honour – written by Emma Restall Orr. My interest in Pagan ethics emerges out of a need to capture in words the attitudes and behaviour that might manifest out of a person’s love of Gaia and dedication to an Earthen Spirituality. Emma’s beautiful book, which I at first eagerly skimmed, then read slowly and carefully and now enjoy re-reading has stimulated my thinking and inspired the comments in these posts. I obviously highly recommend the book and hope that my commentary serves the spirit of *Pagan Ethics and challenges the reader to examine their attitudes and world view toward a greater reverence for our place within and among the life of Gaia. As my one-time friend Wolf says, may Gaia bless.
Thinking Like a Planet
“I think we tap a tremendous reservoir of power and strength when we allow that we’re entirely born of this breathing planet and that we really are nothing other than parts of Earth. That our real flesh is this immense spherical metabolism that envelopes us, that the deep, dense energy of the Earth is pulsing into us all the time. When we think of ourselves as not just earthly beings, but as Earth then we have all that wildness and all that power surging through us to meet whatever challenges come up. It doesn’t make it easy by any means. But it alters the way we feel.”
Last post, [Post5] I talked about fear; fear of the unknown and the fear kindled by some religions over who does and who does not get to go to heaven. In addition to fear, there seems to have been a general discontent that’s settled over the western world. Many would ascribe it to a separation and alienation from Nature. There is a lot of evidence that in the Neolithic period [in the Eastern Mediterranean, from about 10,000 to 3300 B.C.] the Goddess religion was most prevalent. At first glance, one might just assume that people worshipped a female rather than a male God such as Ahura Mazda the lord of light and wisdom in Zoroasterism from Persia. However, the Goddess may have been an expression of Earth energy. Thankfully, the Goddess beliefs have survived. As Starhawk says:
“Goddess religion is not based on belief, in history, in archaeology, in any Great Goddess past or present. Our spirituality is based on experience, on a direct relationship with the cycles of birth, growth, death and regeneration in nature and in human lives. We see the complex interwoven web of life as sacred, which is to say, real and important, worth protecting, worth taking a stand for. At a time when every major ecosystem on the planet is under assault, calling nature sacred is a radical act because it threatens the overriding value of profit that allows us to despoil the basic life support systems of the earth. And at a time when women still live with the daily threat of violence and the realities of inequality and abuse, it is an equally radical act to envision deity as female and assert the sacred nature of female (and male) sexuality and bodies.”
Moving on to my point, sky god religions over the last 5,000 years have all preached love; love of the God firstly, [remember the 1st commandment] then love of others. They have failed. They have failed to provide a story that  Provides an inalienable, experiential, bonding to our undeniable source, the living Earth.  It is the Earth, as mother, that binds humans and all living things to her bosom. Now, this may sound too far out for many. But please, hold on a second. It sounds farfetched mainly because even though our recent scientific discoveries allow us to appreciate the creative genius of Earth, our traditional, culturally blessed world view is anchored in reductionism and materialism. Many of us feel the love of the earth, but that spirit has been attributed as coming from out there somewhere and being intangible, out there somewhere becomes a concept. Somehow many people accept this story without evidence allowing their wishful thinking to be known as faith. Our major religious educators are well aware of the effects of early childhood conditioning plus have become adept at preying on the inner fears of people estranged from Earth energy.
As David Abram and others attest, we are the Earth and are sustained by Earth energy. We can experience this in many ways. For instance, look at what we call beauty. The beauty of sunrise and sunset, mountains, forest, the seas and the manifest fecundity of thousands of beautiful plants, animals and insects. Gaia has a vast, sustaining circulation system which transports warmth and food through the oceans, moisture through winds, cycles such as the carbon cycle that over time sequesters carbon from airborne CO2. Also, as Gaia Theory reveals, Gaia maintains a stable, until lately, average temperature of 12C that sustains life. Vast numbers of people love Nature and many can convincingly describe how these loving feelings came about as they describe their experience of Nature. Tragically, many, especially those encapsulated in huge monstrous cities where Earth energy is diminished by concrete, bitumen and smog, are unable to sense beauty I speak of. I must look to others to speak where I do not have the talent. We have among us today those who can and do speak poetically and lovingly of the Earth.
In the words of a native Sioux, Ohiyesa:
“There were no temples or shrines among us save those of nature. Being a natural man, the Indian was intensely poetical. He would deem it sacrilege to build a house for Him who may be met face to face in the mysterious, shadowy aisles of the primeval forest, or on the sunlit bosom of virgin prairies, upon dizzy spires and pinnacles of naked rock, and yonder in the jeweled vault of the night sky! He who enrobes Himself in filmy veils of cloud, there on the rim of the visible world where our Great-Grandfather Sun kindles his evening camp-fire, He who rides upon the rigorous wind of the north, or breathes forth His spirit upon aromatic southern airs, whose war-canoe is launched upon majestic rivers and inland seas – He needs no lesser cathedral!”
Paula Gunn Allen speaks profoundly:
“We are the land. To the best of my understanding, that is the fundamental idea that permeates American Indian life; the land (Mother) and the people (mothers) are the same. As Luther Standing Bear has said of his Lakota people, “We are of the soil and the soil is of us.” The Earth is the source and being of the people and we are equally the being of the Earth. The land is not really a place separate from ourselves, where we act out the drama of our isolate destinies… The Earth is not merely a source of survival, distant from the creatures it nourishes and from the spirit that breathes in us, nor is it to be considered an inert resource on which we draw in order to keep our ideological self-functioning… Rather for the American Indians… the Earth is being, as all creatures are also being: aware, palpable, intelligent, and alive… Many non-Indians believe that human beings possess the only form of intelligence in phenomenal existence (often in any form of existence). The more abstractionist and less intellectually vain Indian sees human intelligence as rising out of the very nature of being, which is of necessity intelligent in and of itself.”
“The earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth. They live in the four directions, north, east, south, and west.
Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of the interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.
To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves become the standards by which our acts, our economics, our laws, and our purposes must be judged. No one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy.
All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can insure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call Spirit flourish in its full diversity.
To honour the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honour the sacred is to make love possible.
To this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. To this we dedicate our lives.”
From: Starhawk. The Fifth Sacred Thing (Bantam, 1993)
We can only begin to understand who we are and our purpose in life from the perspective of our place within the earth. When we see ourselves, as David Abram says – “When we think of ourselves as not just earthly beings, but as Earth then we have all that wildness and all that power surging through us to meet whatever challenges come up.” – we will find the immense joy of being. We must learn to think like a planet.