Thursday, April 22, 2010

One With the Earth

What do you know for sure? Sometimes I find it worthwhile to seek answers to things I don’t know, like what came before the Big Bang and what comes after death. These musings keep me humble and curious, knocking at the door of mystery. You could say that questions without answers bring you down to earth, sometimes with a thud. But I don’t lose much sleep over those questions, and I rarely engage in arguments about them.

Spiritual traditions prefer questions to answers. They hint at the deep wisdom that resides within each person and within the earth. Jesus said “look to the patterns of nature to find the wisdom of life’s cycles.” The Hindu Vedas offer this wisdom,
“If there was something in the air
If there was something in the wind
If there was something in the trees or bushes
That could be pronounced and once was overheard by
Let this Sacred Knowledge be returned to us again."

The knowledge that spirituality nurtures is intuitive. It’s a different type of knowing to our conditioned deductive thinking that over thinks every situation and overlays every moment with fear and judgment. Intuition is spontaneous and effortless. Once you remove the impediments, it flows naturally. You feel your way forward, with the vision unfolding as you take each step. The end game is not clear, but it doesn’t need to be clear. It makes sense as you go. You are at one with the situation. There is rarely a right or wrong decision. You roll with the circumstances. You are always becoming with each evolving experience. This is part of the sacred knowledge of the earth.

The early Christians had a word for this type of intuitive knowledge- “gnosis”. Gnosis is the inner knowledge of who you are at your essence. Liberation is a present moment peace that this inner knowledge knows what is essential. It doesn’t strive after unanswerable questions or a far away heaven. It is a here and now engagement with what really matters. Islam has a similar wisdom in the word “Jihad”. It is a word that has been hijacked to mean violent uprising, but actually indicates the inner struggle for clarity and peace in the midst of uncertainty. It’s ironic really. True Jihad has nothing to protect or defend.

At its core, Islam is a peace loving tradition. It even discourages pointless arguments about unanswerable questions. The word “Zannah” in the Qu’ran describes theological speculation that is self indulgent and divisive. Treating people right is more important than being right. This wisdom is at the heart of all spiritual traditions, even though later followers get very edgy about diversity.

So on Earth Day, I am brought back to what I know for sure, what questions lead me to live more fully, and what questions are better left alone. Earth Day reminds me that living in harmony with the earth is a core value that most of us agree on. The earth draws me inward to intuition. My intuition calls me to focus on what we share in common and know for sure.

We may differ on how we got here and the exact process of evolution. We share in common that we are here now. We may differ on where we are heading and if there is an end point. But we are here now. And living here and now with the earth is one thing we know for sure and we all share in common.

By all means have an opinion about wind or solar power, but either way agree that we need to spin the inner turbines of greater mindfulness. Argue the case for underwater gulf stream power or nuclear power, but either way agree that we need to harness the creative energies of humanity for more peaceful existence. Drive a hybrid car or an electric car, but either way agree that we need a passionate drive to care for the earth.

Seed of Gratitude for the Earth
Surround yourself with the beauty of nature. Allow her beauty to warm your heart and feed your deepest hunger for connection and peace. Thank the earth for holding the weight of the world on her shoulders. Feel her strength supporting your existence and filling your body with healing powers. Commit to using her gifts to support others.

Say to yourself: I am so grateful for the earth and all she provides. I am in awe of her beauty.

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