I remember the day, a few summers ago, when I stood by the GANG pond and suddenly, surprisingly, felt the soul of the Earth rise up from underneath me. She billowed out energetically, calling me, singing to me, so powerfully that I almost fainted. From that moment on, I knew, with every quivering fiber in my body, that She is not just utterly and deeply alive, but that She IS our Mother, and way more aware and mysterious than we puny humans can ever imagine.
For several years now, I have awakened in the middle of the night (somewhere between 1 and 3 AM), and often felt a powerful feeling that I can only describe as DREAD. A dread so powerful, that it threatened to overwhelm. And yet, I knew intuitively that it wasn’t mine. Somehow I was either cueing into the unconscious state of humanity as we lie sleeping, or else some kind of nasty beam from HAARP or some other mind-control device was deliberately infecting the atmosphere. Which one? I didn’t know. It hardly matters. This dread was filling the room, malignant. Since it wasn’t mine, I knew that I had only to breath my way through it; to not let “it,” this ghastly dread, catch and hold me, corrupt me with its shrinking terror.
I mention this because last night I awoke to an even more powerful, and distinctly different sensation. This time I experienced a dense cloud of tiny energetic bits and pieces, rising up from deep within the Earth and dissipating into the atmosphere. As if a subtle nuclear detonation was fissioning all over the world; as if energy, long pent up into matter was being released, in a sort of controlled “explosion.” Again, my response was to breathe my way through, to move my awareness down into the Earth with the inbreath, and up into the sky with the outbreath. To align with Earth in her healing practice. Over and over and over again.
I wonder if this fissioning will continue. It’s about time it does, if so. Earth has been trampled to the point of despair with our greed, negativity, fear, violence, and utter denial and desecration of her vast ensouled self.
As a follow-up to Vandana Shiva’s powerful request post-Paris, I offer an excerpt from this Parabola interview with a well known Sufi mystic, lineage holder, scholar and teacher, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. Via Forest.
In the last ten years or so I have been drawn very much into what I call spiritual ecology—the nature of our spiritual relationship to the Earth at this time. The Earth is going through a time of crisis. People politely call it climate change. But what I’ve come to understand is that it’s not just a physical crisis, it’s a spiritual crisis. The ancients always understood that the Earth is a living spiritual being. Just as we have a soul, the Earth has a soul, what they called the anima mundi. This is a time of possible transformation of the Earth, and also a time of crisis for the Earth. The Earth is calling to us and needs our attention. This is a moment in the destiny of the Earth.
P: You speak of voluntarily returning to the Earth, as bodhisattvas return. This flows from the particularly human feeling of compassion, which I’ve heard Buddhists define as the quivering of the heart.
LVL: That’s beautiful—the quivering of the heart.
Recently I have felt more and more what I call “the cry of the Earth.” It has evoked a deep love for the Earth, this Earth that has given me life, that has been so generous with me. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “we have to fall in love with the Earth,” and Joanna Macy, whom I deeply admire, calls it “The Work that Reconnects.” It is our love for the Earth that will help heal the Earth. We are at a pivotal moment in the destiny of the Earth and our story is the Earth’s story. Our destiny is also the Earth’s destiny. I don’t know how much the destiny of the Earth is tied up with the free will of human beings. Fifteen years ago, I was given a whole series of visions about the Earth: about the possible future of the Earth, about the Earth waking up, and about the heart of the world starting to sing—that was for me the most precious of all of the visions I was given. Suddenly, I heard the song of the soul of the world, the song of all creation. I wrote about it in my book Darkening of the Light.
It was unbelievably beautiful—the world as a magical being, as it is to meant be, waking up and transforming everything, coming alive again in a way that we can’t imagine because for so long we have forgotten it. And then I watched the dust settle over it. I watched the light starting to go out. For me this has also been played out on a world stage, symbolized by two climate change conferences. The first one was the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The world came together, all the politicians and environmentalists, to really look at the environmental future of the Earth as one human body. This is very important because the destiny of the Earth has to be about oneness, about unity. When they talked about sustainability in Rio, they meant the sustainability of the Earth as a whole. But when they came together in Copenhagen in 2009, they used the term sustainability to refer to whether the Earth could sustain our present, energy-intensive way of life.
I wonder how much free will human beings have in the spiritual destiny of the Earth. I wonder whether those of us who are called to say yes to working with the Earth can balance the very powerful forces of exploitation—forces of consumerism, multinational forces, forces of greed. We also have to say no quite categorically, that sustainability is not about supporting our consumer-driven culture, but about all of creation. When I wrote Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, I called it that because the Earth is crying and some of us have heard the cry. In his encyclical, Pope Francis talks about the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor because they go together. What is the destiny of the Earth and what is our relationship to it? Can the Earth as a living being throw off this dark magic of consumerism that is destroying it?