Previously we have noted that one fights evil in many ways but one essential way, as Howard Thurman insists, is to connect to the bigger whole: To put our lives in context and therein to find what it means to be a human being. Being at home in the universe and grateful to the universe for our existence feeds our yearning to belong to the whole.
One way we can fight evil is by reconnecting to the sacred, to that which is bigger than us, to that which is holy. In a post-modern time we are invited–indeed urged–to move from text (man-made thoughts) to context—the cosmos and earth which are our home. Both are sacred, both are holy.
The Earth is bigger than us and it is holy. Lakota teacher Buck Ghosthorse taught me this years ago when he said to me: “Do you want to know how sacred water is? Go without it for three days.”
The universe is bigger than us and it is holy. As Thomas Aquinas taught eight centuries ago, “the human is not the most excellent thing in the universe—the universe is the most excellent thing.”
Thomas Berry teaches that “ecology is functional cosmology” which means that our struggle to save the earth is our contribution to the cosmos which has birthed so unique a being so full of wonderful and diverse and marvelous beings as oceans and rainforests, tigers and elephants, rivers and fishes, birds and whales, sunsets and sunrises, and humans too who can celebrate and thank, dance and make poetry, learn and study, do science and discover how old our homes, the earth and the universe are, and much more.
Of course we humans can also do science and discovery, create media and the rest, not to celebrate our existence but to destroy and control and to encourage avarice, greed, envy, war, hatred, lies, projections, fear, more hatred and more lies to feed ego projects and power-over agendas. Racism, Sexism, Adultism, Militarism, do not sleep and do not disappear but have to be addressed anew in every generation.
Lessons from the Hitler times are staring us in the face again. A Religion of Resentment and a Cult of Whoever can be alive and well in our times just as in Germany of the thirties.
Meanwhile, the earth belongs to all of us—and none. We all depend on the common air we breathe, the waters we drink, the soil that grows our food and trees and nurtures the fellow animals and birds, fishes and beasties that we inhabit this world with. It is all interconnected, it is all one “web” to use Hildegard of Bingen’s term now in vogue. We did not make it; we have arrived into it. And today it invites us to think bigger, beyond our species “narcissism” (Pope Francis’ word) to take in the whole and to operate from a love of that rather than from fear.
See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, xxiii—xx1v, xxxvi-xxxviii.
Banner image: “Night Sky.” Photographer unknown; on Pixabay.com.
Queries for Contemplation
Journey deeper into that which renders the earth sacred. Make a list of all those elements that speak to you of the sacred. Be with that list; let it wash over you in silence.
Do the same meditating on the universe. Be still with earth and universe.