A few days before Easter, I remembered a hymn received by a beloved matriarch in the Brazilian rainforest community that was my spiritual home for 20 years. The lines that struck me were: “I must love my Mother in the heights [heaven]” and “She is our protectress and guides us on the path of salvation.” I deeply love and respect this elder, who has patiently received and supported me many times—but I suddenly saw that the beliefs presented in these lines sum up the enormous illusion that is driving the destruction of our planet. [Read more…] about What is True Salvation? Gaia’s Answer to Easter
Deep Ecology and Earth-Centered Philosophy
In the 1970s, some out-of-the-box folks in the emerging field of ecology began to ask deeper questions about how to understand and restore the land. They began wondering about humans’ authentic place in the web of life, how we lost that, and how we might get it back. This led to the radical conviction that our thinking needs to become bio-centered, not human-centered. This shift in perspective opened the door to a new, “deeper” body of science and literature, of ideas and practices, that both challenge and inspire us to claim our true place in Gaia’s web.
Undoing Our Separation from Gaia
A familiar metaphor refers to the fish not perceiving the ocean even while she swims in its all-pervasive waters. Similarly, we modern humans usually have no idea of the ubiquitous anti-Nature, anti-Earth beliefs and assumptions we “swim” in as part of the human-created world.
One of the most pernicious human supremacist ideas—reflected in science and technology, spirituality, and everyday life—is separation. We’ve been conditioned to consider ourselves separate from and external to the rest of creation. We believe we possess both the right and the ability to use and manipulate everything on Earth for human-defined ends. But even when our intentions are good, we would do well to heed what plant ecologist Frank Egler said almost 100 years ago: Nature is not only more complex than we think; it is more complex than we can ever think. [Read more…] about Undoing Our Separation from Gaia
Moving Toward Gaia Nation
As I watched the inauguration of President Joe Biden, I was filled with relief and hope. Nevertheless, I was repeatedly struck by all the unapologetic human supremacy on display that day, expressed by politicians, entertainers and preachers alike. And really, what else could I expect?! Our entire modern world rests on this conviction.
This got me thinking about what kind of nation I really want to live in. What would a nation founded with and on behalf of Gaia look like? [Read more…] about Moving Toward Gaia Nation
The Decline of the Green Heart
Our hearts have countless life-affirming capacities. When we are in the force of the heart, we want to connect, to include, to praise, and to share. We can feel compassion, generosity and joy. We sense our deep intuition and responsive discernment. We know ourselves as one with all beings, human and non-human, material and spiritual.
The heart is our true center, so it also knows about dynamic equilibrium. It has the capacity to harmonize birth and death, creation and destruction, when they are in service to Life’s irresistible unfolding.
And, when fully in our hearts, we are empowered to say “No” when it must be said: No to cruelty and aggression, to arrogance, to greed, to selfishness. [Read more…] about The Decline of the Green Heart
Gaia in the Center
A year or so ago I had a dream: I am in what seems to be a church, and the altar—the holy place that radiates spiritual force and blessings to the congregation—is in the center of the room, with space for the congregation all around it. But the “altar” is actually not a human-constructed altar—it is a vast virgin forest. In the mysterious way of dreams, an endless, verdant forest manages to also occupy a delimited area at the center of this church-like physical space. And symbolically it clearly shows that the forest is at the center of the spiritual work that takes place here.
I grew up irregularly attending the United Church of Christ until I was 10 or 11, when I lost interest. One thing I remember is the solemn layout of the church, with the pews fixed rigidly in place, lined up to face the altar and raised pulpit in front, where the minister delivered his weekly sermons. It didn’t feel much different from going to an assembly in the auditorium at school, with the authorities in front, standing above and removed from the “congregation” of us restless kids. [Read more…] about Gaia in the Center