A few years ago, on a late summer’s day, I was hiking in the nearby mountains. The multitude of wildflowers that had been blooming all summer were now going to seed, and all the seed-eating birds were taking full advantage. At the edge of a meadow, I caught sight of some gawky young house finches. They were flying around, sampling seeds and displaying the general goofiness typical of recently-fledged birds. Suddenly one of them left its perch and flew briskly toward a tall, upright flower stalk crowned with a big puffy seed head. When it landed, the entire stalk bent over to the ground, and the surprised bird literally fell off, upside down onto the grass. Flailing its little wings, it righted itself and indignantly flew away. And I practically fell on the ground too, from laughing so hard. [Read more…] about Our Kids’ Green Hearts
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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
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
What attitudes and practices can we cultivate in ourselves that will help us attune to our Gaia-nature? (Remembering that we already know deep within us that we belong to Gaia’s Green World.)
My sense is that the people reading this already lead a spiritual life of some kind. But let’s do a quick check to make sure our existing beliefs and practices are attuned with Gaia as well as they could be. (Read my previous posts to flesh out these ideas.)
Does your path/liturgy/doctrine focus solely on the direction Up, and disregard or even denigrate the direction Down? Hmmm…some adjustment may be called for here. [Read more…] about Gaia-Centered Spiritual Practices—Part I
A few posts ago I presented the idea that we can choose to go with Gaia’s grain, and therefore, against the grain of the currently dominant human-created world. We can attune ourselves with Gaia’s fundamental principles, which, right from the start, are in a totally different dimension from human-centeredness. The latter assumes that human beings are separate from and superior to the rest of creation. Gaia-centered thought begins by assuming that human beings, like all beings, exist within Gaia’s vast web and are interconnected with all physical and spiritual life on Earth. Therefore, if we study Gaia’s rhythms and patterns, we can get clues about ways to start going with Her grain.
One important clue is the circle, and its wilder sister, the spiral. We know that Nature works in circles and ever-returning cycles: the cycle of a day, of the seasons, the moon in a month, the sun in a year, and the ceaselessly-repeating cycle of Life, from birth to growth, to maturity, decline and death, followed by regeneration and rebirth. [Read more…] about Going With Gaia’s Grain–Part II