Narrow is the boundary of "now" and "not-yet" Deep and dark it stretches like an ancient passageway no map has ever marked. One by one we walk it step by solitary step. Not hand in hand, Not side by side, But sounding the distance with our tears. Hope is the chorus sounding, "Come!" Hope is the embrace, waiting to welcome. Hope is the companion, In-Between . . .
~ Sr. Mary Frances Fleischaker, thanks to Muriel Benz
The earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth.
Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and the body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of the interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them... All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.
To honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honor the sacred is to make love possible.
We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us. Our flesh-and-bone tabernacle seems transparent as glass to the beauty about us, neither old nor young, sick or well, but immortal. I am a captive. I am bound. Love of pure unblemished Nature seems to overmaster and blur out of sight all other objects and consideration... As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers, and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.
Teach us that even as the wonder of the stars in the heavens only reveals itself in the silence of the night, so the wonder of life reveals itself in the silence of the heart. In the silence of our heart we may see the scattered leaves of all the universe bound by love.
Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.
As we walk on the earth, encouraging a sense of care and kindness, it is as if the earth itself responds — up through the soles of our feet we experience the sustaining nature of the earth... We feel ourselves participating in a calm yet joyous celebration of the earth and the life sustained by the earth.
~ from REFLECTIONS ON EVERYDAY LIFE by Paramananda
The divine feminine encourages interdependence, interconnectedness, and mutuality. Instead of dominating and controlling nature, the divine feminine represents reverence for nature's web of life. Instead of dismissing feelings and emotions, the divine feminine interprets them as a source of wisdom.
A healed relation to each other and to the earth then calls for a new consciousness, a new symbolic culture and spirituality. We need to transform our inner psyches and the way we symbolize the interrelations of men and women, humans and earth, humans and the divine, the divine and the earth. Ecological healing is a theological and psychic-spiritual process... we must see the work of eco-justice and the work of spirituality as interrelated, the inner and outer aspects of one process of conversion and transformation.
What we need are guardians — guardians committed to the middle path of mindfulness and dedicated to the enormous task of restoring and healing our ravaged planet. Guardians who have penetrated the anthropocentric notions of our civilization and who, as Aldo Leopold said, can begin to "think like a mountain" and acknowledge that we are only "plain embers of the biotic community."
~ Grove Burnett in "Spiritual Footing for Environmentalists" from A JOYFUL PATH by Thich Nhat Hanh
Every dollar you donate helps us to mail out the monthly Friends of Silence newsletter, add back issues of the newsletter to the web site, develop online courses on silence, and provide contemplative retreats at Still Point.
Friends of Silence is a 501(c)3 non-profit public benefit organization and all donations are tax deductible.
We welcome you to become a partner in our work. Thank you so much for your generosity!