If we...can see the issues of our day—the poverty, the racism, war and injustice—and if we can use the skills and resources that we get from our training at school or on the job, and if we can really be open to being equipped by the Spirit of God, then we will be used. We must lie on our beds at night and wrestle with how we can individually and collectively bring our faith from talk to power, how we can bring our faith and works to bear on the real issues of human need. I believe that right now we are facing a most difficult time in history. We are discovering that old strategies have failed and that the new ones, or rediscovered ones, will not let us hold onto our old lifestyles.
As we walked in silence a passage from the Bhagavad Gita came to me:"We live in wisdom who see ourselves in all and all in us.We are forever free who have broken out of the ego cage of 'I and mine.' "The Bhagavad Gita described a voice within all of us that tells us each the same thing: what we want is not money, fame, or material possessions, but a world of peace, hearts filled with love, and an earth where the air and water are clean, the environment healthy.We want to rid ourselves of those unwanted habits and negative thoughts that prohibit us from living in peace with ourselves, the environment and our neighbor.
The sacred waterfall of tahe Shuar people of Ecuador is breathtaking and beautiful. Yet standing before it, looking up into the rainbow that arches through the cascading waters, the visitor is struck by a feeling that transcends the magnificence of the landscape. No matter what your religion, you cannot help but sense the spirit of this place. Its power defies any attempt to describe the euphoria by a natural phenomenon so overwhelmingly grand that its voice seems to cross all the bridges of time.
Watching these people and the way they interacted with each other, I could not help but be impressed. But there was another feeling, difficult to define. Was I possibly jealous of this Quechua family? There was no denying that I who had never known poverty or hunger felt, if not jealous, at least envy for their ability to enjoy so completely each other, their work, the meager food and homes they shared, and all that was around them. I had learned that Andean Indians often talk to nature. It is not uncommon to hear a man or woman murmur words of greeting to a bird, flower, or cloud. Such things are a part of their lives and the source of immense pleasure. Was it possible that these people knew something I did not understand? Could I learn from the Quechua what my own culture and background had failed to teach?