Spiritual Ecology (Part 1)
Reason calls humanity at this last minute to restore the environmental balance to planet Earth; deeper than that, the awakened inner realization is that as we tune-out responsibility for earth caretaking, we limit our power to expand our consciousness while we are yet on this plane.
Through our genetic inheritance, our biological ancestry and our biomagnetic field, we are indeed interlaced, interfaced with the lower kingdoms: the mineral, vegetable, animal, and with all mankind. It is not for lack of media coverage of what our high-tech lifestyles are doing to the forests, the air, the all-pervading life of this planet and its species, but rather the thoughtless habits of civilized man to waste, ignore and destroy that which he does not relate to consciously.
Spiritual ecology is the inner relationship that brings home to the higher mind of each being that when we become indifferent to lower forms of life, we also submerge into the unconscious a part of our divine inheritance. Just as we have our needs, so does the planet. Each of us is responsible for our comer of this earth and for educating by modeling to our young our duty and concern for honoring other habitats that must be restored; protecting the reproduction of species who have always shared Mother Earth with us but now are on the brink of extinction. The relation between all of earth's organisms and the spirit which is the seat of man's moral and religious nature call upon all awakened mankind to take responsibility for saving our planet. We must begin by seeing ourselves as spiritual stewards of our individual and collective environments, then renouncing old concepts of man as superior to the other forms of life on earth. We are in truth all related to "the all-pervading life in Space", as we read in the Sufi prayer, Nayaz.
On The Edge
We are now on the brink! "How the human species will treat life on earth so as to shape the greatest of legacies, good or bad, for all time to come, will be settled during the next hundred years," Harvard scientist Edward O. Wilson warns us. Spiritual stewardship accepts that all forms of life have the moral right to exist side by side in the divine balance of nature. Ignoring individual free choice to guide, guard and nurture other life forms with which we share the planet is self-destructive. Pir Vilayat puts it well, "When this alienation from our cosmic roots, the power that moves the universe and keeps it all in balance, is displaced by this self-styled assertiveness, counterproductive and self-destructive, wreaking havoc on the planet by violating her sanctity, nature restores the divine harmony by opening its consciousness to the emergence of the voice of Mother Earth calling her children back to rededicate themselves to their original motivation that got lost to view." Then one must make a covenant with Earth and all her creatures, pledging to serve her even as she serves us in mutual respect.
Every tree uprooted or cut from the forests must be reseeded, we must listen again to the song of the whales, the cooing of the wind, the magnetic recharging of our magnetic field through the soles of our feet, the awareness of the habitat of other endangered species that we plow under or trample down. Discovering new and exciting insights into the behavior and genetics of sea mammals can awaken us to the strong parallels land animals have with us. So many of our old conditioned views about wolves and other wild animals can be re-patterned and taught to the next generation, the new stewards. The practice of setting the gaze at the infinity of space can make us aware of the ozone layer, the aura of our planet, waving, expanding and contracting even as our own auras do. Have we destroyed its perimeters? Earth Stewardship.
Spiritual ecology accepts the premise that spirit is the moral basis for all of life in its many kingdoms and forms to exist side by side, maintaining the divine balance the Creator intended. This view puts every man in the special space of being the steward of his particular environment. To serve in this capacity demands that each must make a voluntary sacrifice. Products like aerosol sprays and other advanced technological products and their byproducts which pollute air and water and eventually disturb the ozone layer must be eliminated.
Every freeway in America soon outgrows its projected capacity, leaving on its perimeters erosion of the land. We must demand contouring and planting of more trees on such lands by taking responsibility upon ourselves to see that it is done. In the oceans, the seals, tortoises and turtles need our protection to protect their nesting sites and journey back to their natural habitats. If one lives near a beach, there are many ways in which we can guide children to be a part of this renewal and preservation of our shores and tidelands.
As we consume more and more junk foods, we clutter our highways with tons of disposable paper and plastic toxic wastes. Recycling of cola cans and soda bottles is a rewarding task for any child or adult turned on to it. Planting of grass and wildflowers is another meaningful and discovering project to renew the mantle of earth. Visiting wildlife preserves and becoming a bird watcher enables one to connect with eagles and hawks and to learn their ways and instincts. Love for other kingdoms and recognition of how much we can learn and master from their element will build an ethic of being a protector instead of a thoughtless destroyer of other forms of life. By observation and attunement to the habits of endangered species like the little prairie foxes, the sea turtles, butterflies and the long-toed tiny lizards, we can all aid in conserving and renewing these species.
The inner rewards of feeding a pelican whose beak has been cruelly sawed-off by a competitive fisherman, or washing the oil slick from a seabird grounded by man's "accidents" and isolated thinking, or spending part of our time on the beach cleaning up and bagging trash and garbage of plastic so strangling to sea creatures can be the most healing experience one could ever have.In body, mind and spirit as we connect with the elements and the lower kingdoms of nature, man unwittingly heals his own spirit and reconnects with the "all-pervading life in Space" to which the Sufi prayer Nayaz tunes us.
There Is Hope
Taking time to introduce children to the wonder of the unity of all life on planet earth may be the catalyst that can make this new generation turn around our headlong race to the brink. Population experts predict that the 1 billion population, that took the last hundred years [prior to 1989] to expand to that figure, will increase to five billion in the next 100 years. We cannot afford to destroy the precious legacy that we have. As we connect with the magnetic pole of the earth's magnetic field through the soles of our feet, the rhythm of breath between all kingdoms, the rays of the sun and the rivers within our ocean currents, it is possible to awaken higher mind through contemplation and meditation to that state in which we realize we are all One.
Instinctively, children know this, but the exemplars pattern fears in them which in turn make them destroyers through ignorance. If we take time to introduce the children to the unity of all life on planet Earth, we may be, just may be, making them the generation to turn around the race. The awakened steward of planet Earth will then understand the wisdom teaching that because we are one with the entire universe, we cannot destroy any part of the whole without destroying ourselves in the process. (publ.1989)
Beloved Lord, Almighy God,
Through the rays of the sun
Through the waves of the air
Through the all-pervading life in space
Pufify and revivify us, and we pray
Heal our bodies, hearts and souls. Amen