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.
Our hearts belong to Gaia. Just as She gave us bodies that can stand upright, and minds that can look into the future, She gave us green hearts—hearts that ground us in the capacity to know ourselves as part of Gaia’s green web. Our hearts naturally vibrate with Gaia’s forces and rhythms, which power the land and waters, the plants and creatures: the entire, interconnected, inclusive reality of which we humans are a part.
One of the alarming casualties of these times is that humanity seems to be losing many organic heart-capacities. The heart is weakening in the face of ongoing indoctrination by the human-created world, which insists that humans are both separate and superior. The heart-powers of unity and kindness are declining. The heart’s ability to resonate with any being, from a caterpillar or a beech tree, to a watershed or the entire ocean, is becoming increasingly obscured. Even the ability to empathize with other humans is weakening, as fear and contempt toward those of other countries, races or genders are coming to drive both personal relationships and social policy.
We would rightly be worried if our heart were found to have a physical problem—a weak artery or an abnormal rhythm—and we would immediately take steps to heal this, with the concerned assistance of our doctor. Yet the deep and obvious problems humans are having with their spiritual hearts—vilifying those of other races and religions, routinely expressing contempt for women and girls, willfully mistreating the land and non-human creatures in the name of profit and even for entertainment—are dismissed as unimportant, and, indeed, often seem to be supported by the modern culture.
There is a big difference between these corrosive emotions and actions, and the everyday growth, death and rebirth of Gaia’s natural systems. True, carnivores large and small are ruthlessly hunting and eating other animals, and herbivores are busy all day biting off grasses and saplings, and sometimes even felling trees. But they do this simply to live, not with cruelty or ill will. Every member of an ecosystem, from a bee to a hawk, from a patch of moss to a huge pine or oak, is involved in supporting Gaia’s balanced, abundant wholeness. Each one has its place.
Today’s dominant human world, to the contrary, neither envisions nor creates a place for most humans, leaving them in poverty while a few are rich beyond comprehension. And the idea that we all belong to and depend on the natural world is steadfastly ignored in favor of ever-increasing consumption. Modern people’s hearts might temporarily go out to a well-publicized beached whale or sick sea lion. But their organic, heart-based discernment of the ways their everyday actions and values affect the biosphere has shrunk to practically nothing—in contrast to the reality of indigenous people, including our own ancestors, whose entire lives were organized around harmonizing with the land where they lived.
Nurturing our green hearts is an ongoing necessity, like birds continually preening their feathers. If we don’t “preen” our green hearts regularly, they get clogged and weak. Eventually our connection to the divinity contained in and expressed through Mother Gaia, and thus through ourselves, withers away. Then our hearts get on the wrong track, desperately driving us to get love and emotional nourishment from toxic human relationships and from acquiring external “stuff” whose production depends on wrecking the land and exploiting workers.
Now is the time for all of us to focus on proactively nurturing the true green reality of our hearts, and our children’s hearts as well. Stay tuned next week for some ways to do this.