My thanks to those who commented on my last blog (Make Time to Transition) showing readers’ appreciation for the concept of developing a “we” awareness with all life.
An essential aspect of ecospirituality is just that: becoming ever more conscious of the sacred interdependence of all creation. Our brains were wired otherwise for centuries, so it takes time and awareness to transition from thinking of everything as separate and in either-or categories that often result in unhappy hierarchies and thinking in us-them, win-lose headings. Our brains have to develop new pathways to become comfortable with the truth that, as Thich Nhat Hahn says, creation actually does more than interrelate; it “interbe” ’s.
Fortunately, this “we” mentality is becoming more common and is fostered by talks, books, articles, organizations, and heartening exchanges such as this one:
“I try to be a ‘we’ in the activities and associations I live with. You know how much I love the sea and, in respecting its purity and dealing with its violence, I have developed a “we” level of respect for it.”
St. Francis “got” the relationships within existence long ago. Various scientific and religious advances have been nudging us all toward a greater development of a “we” mentality and its resulting active care for all creation. Pope Francis laid the foundation of his first encyclical on Francis’ worldview, and he starts Chapter Four of Laudato Si’ with this paragraph, bolding by me:
“Since everything is closely interrelated, and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis, I suggest that we now consider some elements of an integral ecology, one which clearly respects its human and social dimensions.” (par. 137)
But what about the many examples of lack of respect? Daily news causes real pain to many when it documents absence of respect
. for the unborn, now and future generations;
. for infants and children from causes ranging from separation from parents to lack of clean water, shelter and nourishment;
. for those with whom we disagree or who have perhaps wronged us;
. for the “other,” the less fortunate, for those fleeing war, violence, and climate disasters;
. for air, water, soil, flora and fauna;
. for endangered species;
. for those reporting demonstrable truth;
. for the governed by autocratic or narcissistic leaders in many countries.…
Being disrespectful and belligerent toward people we judge responsible only worsens the situation, because even negative energy affords them energy — and it shows limits to our own sense of “we.” As with the benefits of grieving for extinct or endangered species, perhaps we would profit from grieving the lack of respect that saddens or enrages us.
If you agree that grieving would be helpful, you might want to use or adapt the following ritual. For a 2-sided pdf, contact email@example.com.
Grieving the Absence of “We”
BEGIN: Breathe deeply, grateful for the gift of life-giving air. Remember that we are part of our sacred interconnected creation that has existed for billions of years, and that invisible atoms connect us to everything else in the Universe. No one and no threats can endanger the continuance of the Universe Story in which we are embedded. Be grateful to know, and to be part of, this story.
READ TOGETHER: “Today, in my body I bear the story of the birth and evolution of all creation. My cells are alive with the echoes of the movement from nothingness-into-being. This is the heritage I share with every other created thing, a common ancestry of forces, particles, swirling clouds of matter and stars, unfolded within the activity of the Creator.” Toni Nash, CSJ
BRING TO MIND the news that disturbs and demonstrates denial of the truth of our unity. Allow yourself time to LAMENT, using a litany something like this one:
I treasure our planet Earth. I grieve the reluctance or refusal to act to limit human-caused climate destruction. I lament the denial or unawareness that we are all interconnected, what we do to others, including our resources, we ultimately do to ourselves. (Pause to feel the pain of this loss.)
I treasure human life. I grieve the attacks upon it by all methods of violence. I lament the denial or unawareness that we are all interconnected, what we do to others, we ultimately do to ourselves. (Pause to feel the pain of this threat.)
I treasure ….
Ishbel MacAskill, Gradh Geal Mo Chridh, 4.27 min.:
REMEMBER and be grateful for people and groups striving to help us become more aware of our “we”ness with all creation. Use a litany following a pattern something like this:
I give thanks for Deep Time Journey Network [and/or similar groups groups] because they are working for greater awareness of unity.
I give thanks for my prayer group, because discussing unity with them helps me remember that I am part of a sacred global community.
I give thanks for .…
REFLECTION TIME How can I contribute to greater global awareness of “we”ness leading to respect for all creation?
SHARING, if in a group.
LISTEN TO OR SING any song of hope. Some examples:
** Feel yourself rotating toward the Sun.
Mutual hugs and well-wishing might be appropriate!