Sunday, July 13, 2014

Conserving is Good Housekeeping

Conservation is the foresighted utilization, preservation, and/or renewal of forest, waters, lands and minerals, for the greatest good of the greatest number for the longest time.  Gifford Pinchot

Ecology comes from the Greek work oikos meaning household.   Future prosperity is all about good housekeeping. A new environmental seed is sprouting that will uncover a cloak of darkness that befalls us now.  There is a silent war where increased consumption represents a form of terror.  Can we excel science and politics recapture the 11 billion tons of resources yearly Americans use, not including nuclear and hazardous waste? The renewal of the American spirit will happen when we demonstrate that recapturing resources illustrate that that non-violence works.   

Let’s celebrate things that support life.  Clean renewable energy, efficient transportation, non-toxic production and measures that protect of our forests, oceans, grasslands and wetlands are all ways that will liberate us. As we show greater respect for people, places and things, we will feel better about our future.

David Orr cites that what is missing is love to engage the many polarized organizations to champion a relationship emulating the compassion of Greek God of nature, Pan.  Our ultimate question is when and how will religious and spiritual groups going to awaken a significant amount of humans toward collective action.  Can we as human invest in making our tomorrow more promising?  Finally we will need to pray together not on each other and ask for divine forgiveness since we may have trespassed upon something more grave then our final resting place.

The late Harvard Scientist and world expert, Stephen Jay Gould remarked that this battle to save the environment requires… forging an emotional/spiritual bond between nature and ourselves.

below is from U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program

"We join with the earth and with each other
To bring new life to the land
To restore the waters
To refresh the air

We join with the earth and with each other
To renew the forests
To care for the plants
To protect the creatures

We join with the earth and with each other
To celebrate the seas
To rejoice in the sunlight
To sing the songs of the stars

We join with the earth and with each other
To recreate the human community
To promote justice and peace
To remember our children

We join with the earth and with each other. We join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving memory: for the healing of the earth and the renewal of all life."

    


*David Orr, “For Love of Life,” Conservation Biology. December 1992, pg 486

Friday, July 04, 2014

Touch the Earth is Great Medicine

For the last few weeks I have explored sitting with my bare feet touching the soil. Feeling the soft earth beneath my feet renews my soul. When I venture outside and discover the wonder of the universe, I feel a greater whole and less pain. Such visits into the wild both refreshes and rejuvenates my spirit. A journey into a forest under a canopy of trees or to a local watershed provides me with a growing sense of well being

John Muir once said, "By going outward, I am going in."As I become more intimate with my earth, I feel closer to my beloved home. Never has there been more people, anxiety and stress. This is why  I explore greater ways to mend my soul. Healing occurs for me when I become more intimate with nature. I find a greater self when I go outside my personal ego story.

Insights come to me from many non-ordinary experiences when I am in nature. I transcend ordinary perceptual boundaries. Being in nature connects me to the spirit of being. Otherwise, it is easy for me to get lost in a culture of affluence and effluence. Just the simple act of digging into the ground and doing yard work while surrounded by the woods around my home does much to lessen my anxiety.

Today  July 4th, on A3, a Washington Post article titled, "Between Solitude and Electric Shocks, Some Prefer the Latter," reports that humans want distraction because they hate to be alone with their thoughts.  A University of Virginia study by  Dr. Timothy Wilson finds that when mind-wandering becomes the goal people prefer negative stimulation to boredom.  Instead of reflexive behavior many participants would electric shock themselves by choice.

Instead of harming myself,  I go outside to be less identified with my painful thoughts. I find refuge in outdoors with a simple exercise where I  listen to the subtle sounds of the woods. Whether it is the wind going through the trees, or the birds chirping—these and many other reminders awaken me to magical moments of being here on the earth. Nature is my ultimate teacher. I am a part of nature; it is truly who I am. I am not separate, but rather a part of this world in which all things are tied together by air, water, soil and flesh.

My pilgrimage is to seek silence and stillness. I know it is hard work to quiet my mind. Also I have to be careful what I expose to it.  However, aligning myself to greater harmony allows me some quiet sanity. Today's media truly may burden my soul.  Yet when I remember of  being with not against  what arises in my psyche I expand greater possibilities of my happiness.

My mind grows quiet in tranquil woods. I am comforted by this form of unconditional surrender. Yes, I am constantly challenged seeing the earth's destruction and despair. Yet, when I embrace the maladies of the world as being just a part of my own impermanent life, I gain a sense of inner renewal. And how I face death awakens my life with the realization when when one passes another thing arises.

Balance comes to me when I go beyond my thinking mind, and  I venture further into the universe. For whatever happens in the future, I can make the best out of the present by appreciating the simple here and now.

Meaning in my life comes from nature. Time spent outside is like an electric plug that recharges my spiritual battery connected to this planet. Consciousness arises all around me and within me, allowing me to experience the web of life, and to see how all that I relate to is so closely interconnected. As I breathe in and out, I know that this Universal Life Force, which ties all things together just as a spider weaves its web, interconnects all things.

At any moment I am susceptible to inattentiveness—and then at such time, something great is lost from my world. But if I listen deeply, I can hear my soul calling. It invites me to visit a forest, or walk along a sandy shore—find a place of calm in the wild. When I remember that I am not a separate being, that indeed I am part of the interconnectedness of life, then my feverishness subsides. No need for an electric shock.

This expanded awareness awakens in me the question of how I can skillfully respect the sacredness of nature and its "wildness." Sacred observing provides me with grace, and a feeling of harmony. Any way I touch this earth is I find the best medicine.