Some Lessons Learned from the Earth Day Stories Shared

For the past few days we have been meditating on the stories shared on the on Earth Day gathering of the Order of the Sacred Earth…what lessons can we draw from these personal experiences?

“Generosity” Photo by hasib on Flickr

One lesson I see is how often we are children when we first experience mysticism as our union and communion with nature.  (This surely played a huge role in my spiritual experience early in my life and Pere Chenu’s naming of “creation spirituality” in 1968 when I was 27 years old totally awakened that experience anew for me.) 

Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he told adults to “turn and become like children” if they are to experience the kingdom/queendom of God.  Is healthy creation the same as the “kingdom of God?”  (Scripture scholar Kristal Stendahl says it is.)  Children still have their mystical natures intact.  And their capacity for wonder.  Rachel Carson wrote a whole book about that, in fact it was her last book.

The story of a man’s dedicated care for a rescued stork, which moved people around the world and raised awareness and opposition to poaching..

Another I derive from these stories: how growing up spiritually as adults often means a return to the wisdom we tasted when young.

Another lesson that stands out is how omnipresent mystical experiences are to adults when we open ourselves up to the goings on of nature all around us.   Consider the updraft of 28 hawks in the West Virginia park that sent one woman on a whole new direction.

It is also striking how teachers, books, retreats, learning can alert us to our own mystical earth experiences and the deep meaning of an Earth Day.

A woman meditates beneath an ancient kapok tree hung with ayahuasca vines in the depths of the Ecuadoran rainforest, on a retreat offered by the Pachamama Alliance to inspire earth advocacy and activism. From the Pachamama Alliance website.

It is important too how such experiences lead to action especially as adults (but not exclusively so).

Therefore we relearn how all these nature mystics are prophets-in-waiting and posed to action.

How many other mystics are out there who have not yet named themselves for what they are?  Childhood is a time for mysticism—especially in nature.  So too is adulthood.  Here lies the wisdom of Creation Spirituality.

Maybe this is one way an Order of the Sacred Earth can assist an awakening to Earth and ways to heal our rupture from the earth. 

Water protectors gather in a ceremonial circle for action against the Dakota Access pipeline. Photo by Peg Hunter on Flickr.

At this critical time in human and planetary history, what Buddhist scholar and activist Joanna Macy calls “The Great Turning,” the world does not need a new religion or even a reshuffling of our old religions. It does not need a new church either. What it needs is a new religious/spiritual Order, that is to say, a community of people from varied backgrounds of belief systems (or non-belief systems) who share a sacred vow to preserve Mother Earth and to become the best lovers (mystics) and defenders (warriors) they can be on behalf of Mother Earth. A post-denominational Order and a post-religious Order. Therefore, a Spiritual Order.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, Jen Listug, Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action, p. 4.

Banner Image: Ecstatic prayer. Photo by Taylor Ann Wright on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Focus on some of these lessons from Earth Day 2020. Which ones speak deepest to you?  What lessons would you add to those listed here?

Recommended Reading

Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug

In the midst of global fire, earthquake and flood – as species are going extinct every day and national and global economies totter – the planet doesn’t need another church or religion. What it needs is a new Order, grounded in the Wisdom traditions of both East and West, including science and indigenous. An Order of the Sacred Earth united in one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
Co-authored by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Berit Listug, with a forward by David Korten, this collection of essays by 21 spiritual visionaries including Brian Swimme, Mirabai Starr, Theodore Richards, and Kristal Parks marks the founding of the diverse and inclusive Order of the Sacred Earth, a community now evolving around the world.
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.”  ~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope.

Conversations on Aquinas: Brian Thomas Swimme

As Matthew Fox’s travels have been curtailed due to the coronavirus, he is sharing a series of conversations with revolutionary thinkers and spiritual teachers on the topics explored in his latest book, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times. In this video, he and cosmologist Brian Swimme, author of The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos and co-author of The Universe Story, have an inter-generational conversation on Thomas Aquinas and his wisdom for sacred activism today.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

7 thoughts on “Some Lessons Learned from the Earth Day Stories Shared”

  1. Avatar

    My love of nature started at the early age of two. I remember standing in front of the big wooden rocking chair by the window, waiting for my older sisters to notice me and realize that I wanted to be picked up and put on the chair so I could look out the window at the beautiful sky, fields, trees, and greenery that extended up the hill miles away, and take it all in for as long as I wanted to. No words were spoken, none were needed.
    Then my father, a lover of nature, would take the family out in his truck every Sunday to a different area of the woods, teach us about the growing plants all around, find a place where we could lie down, let the sun shine down on us through the trees, and silently take in all the beauty and glory of the world around us. We would then joyously eat lunch, lie back and relax for a while, then go home, refreshed and contented. What a beautiful memory! I felt we were truly family then!
    That love of nature never left me, inspired me to create my own garden as soon as I had my own home, and lives with me still.
    I never thought of these lovely experiences as being “mystical,” but I guess they were!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Vivian,
      Your story of wanting to be in nature since you were a child creates a touching scene. Children have a large capacity for mysticism, as you did when you were young. A young millennial leader in my hometown of Pittsburgh told me that she took her baby outside when he turned 3 months to touch his feet to the soil and let himfeel the sweet against his face – so he would remember his true home. What a wise young mother! – Like your sisters and father taking you out into nature while you were still young and could feel the connection. Thank you for telling your lovely story.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar
    Margaret Rose Hess

    Thank you so much for today’s very moving message. I was privileged to grow up in a rural part of a sparsely populated state, where mother nature’s abundance was freely given to all, young and old, rich and poor alike. I know now that I was blessed beyond words to have had that experience; it was like a magical dream. When I read Rachel Carson I was shocked out of complacency into wakefulness. What touches me deepest is the suffering of non-human creatures (birds, animals, insects, fishes) and the suffering and loss of innocence of human children. I recently watched a powerful but very disturbing environmental documentary, ending with Rachel Carson’s words from 1962, that could be added to the lessons from today’s meditation: “Humankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before, to prove its maturity and mastery – not of nature, but of itself”.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Thank you, Margaret for sharing your thoughts. Rachel Carson did shock many people into looking at the way we were treating Earth, my father included. She had such important warnings to share at a time when we all took the earth for granted and could never have conceived of what is at risk today. Human consciousness about the sacredness of creation matures slowly. I hope we wil mature in time.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    I gave my parents Rachel Carson’s “The Sense of Wonder” years ago, and now it is mine. My parents, especially my Dad, showed us by example to treasure Nature. We did lots of hiking, and I wasn’t always happy to be hauled up (sweating and swatting bugs) MANY of our local mountains. It took awhile, but I learned to treasure those memories, and I then my husband and I did the same with our children, who carry on the tradition. I was blessed!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Elaine,
      Thank you for sharing how the love of nature has been passed through the generations in your family. You are truly blessed. As I read your comment, I thought of how most children these days have a nature deficiency. They may notice a few trees in their yard or at a park, but don’t have a sense of forest. And the safety in taking a walk in the woods freely, just to feel surrounded by their rooted cousins, has been long gone. One surprising benefit of the corona pandemic is that families are going out into the woods together and the parks are filled with people (in masks and gloves). Perhaps there will be a change of heart as the weeks roll on.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  4. Matthew Fox

    The following heartfelt comment came from a young man in Russia who asked that his name be withheld. I am therefore posting it on his behalf.
    Hello, Mr. Fox!

    I am writing from Russia where I live in the Siberia region! I just read all these remarkable stories of the awakening of people to the life of Mother-Earth and the sense of the Sacred in our DM-s — and I want to share with You some pieces from my own story of it!

    I think it subconsciously started in my childhood when I was in hikes to Khakassia and mountains of Altai, where there are lots of ancient sacred places, and I had a kind of mystical experiences there. So, my religious feelings in a deep meaning started there. Nature herself of course also did (and still do) very big impact on me, especially in the garden of my grandmother and in our trips to places like Altai.

    What was also life-changing in a time of my childhood is animated movies “Balto” (especially the second part, where there is a lot of Animistic Native American Religion takes place and miraculous music) and “The Lion King”, these are wonderful! I’m convinced that they are real treasures of the American and world’s culture.

    My story is long and full of many fantastic people and events, I just mention one — Thor Heyerdahl and his books, especially “In the Footsteps of Adam” and “Fatu-Hiva: Back to Nature” (wikipedia writes that he was an atheist, but it’s not true), which changed and developed my view at the time.

    And of course You and Rupert Sheldrake are changing my worldview (and life) as well in a very expending way! Partly because of you both I finally awake consciously.

    Recently I saw a new Australian movie “Storm Boy”, which is amazing! Very touching and soulful, and wise. In touch with the Earth! I may recommend it to You, I believe, You gonna love it!

    Thank You, Farther Matthew! Mother-Nature bless You!

    With love and respect,
    From soul,
    (name kept anonymous)

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: