I have tried to share the best that I have learned from my teachers through my own experience. This multi-year discipline of weekly essays has done what I set out to do. I started them because it was not hard to sense a dark time was heading our way. It laid a burden on me to speak out against its madness while there was time. I’ve had my say and now I will be taking my first break since they began. Posts will no longer be every Wednesday. A Mindful Ecology book will be available shortly.
It is with a grateful heart that, looking back, the work is not too discordant with my convictions and manages to say what was important for me to share – with you. The number of readers and subscribers grew far beyond my expectations. I did no marketing, this grew by word of mouth or the fortuitous click. Some of you have been with me from very early on and traveled the whole way, it is for your benefit these essays were structured as they were. I still suggest they should be read from the beginning. Many of you picked us up along the way, drawn perhaps to a particular subject of interest, and for you I hope the context proved interesting as well. The other group I watched arrive came as the discussion turned to issues of child abuse. While these essays were written Oscar nominated movies touching on child abuse moved from Spotlight to Three Billboards, the dark child is indeed having its say.
To each and every one of you, however you happened to make it to Mindful Ecology, thank you. Thank you for your time; these essays have been challenging, some quite long for the world dominated by the Internet, tweeting twinkle text, and smart-phones. Thank you for your attention; rational words are the means by which humans communicate to share experience and knowledge directly with one another. By reading we share our spirits, communing within one another in conversations unbound by time and space. This is the context we will live in all our days so it makes very good sense to seek out the best reading. I am honored that you have let me be a small part of your conversation with the ideas of our times. Above all this though, Thank You for caring enough about the state of the earth to be willing to contemplate it reverently, even when it hurts. Contemplation, meditation, sitting extremely still in the silence, thinking like a mountain, listening – this is the supreme gift.
A mind attuned to reality, giving it a long, loving look, is a mind at prayer.
The wrinkles on my hand remind me to say thank you. The smile on those around me whom I love reminds me to say yes. This life we people have, it really is something special. It is possible to live with a set of values that are not related to the money monotheism that is all the rage today. Look and See what is really right in front of you; do it and you will find the infinite value of each individual. This is where the infinite and the finite kiss. Normally we suffer vertigo because the beauty is so overwhelming. But we can train in compassion and thereby honor our own heart, the one and only one we were given directly. As we honor our heart, our emotionally rational conscience, the light of faith, hope, and love is en-kindled. This light is the One light, born of our creation in this vast, ancient evolution by which reality unfolds, “all that is, seen and unseen.” No place for horns on a rabbit. No place for superstition. Look and See the true value of the person right in front of you; how the vast cosmos is aware of itself in his or her eyes. In the Other you are confronted with a consciousness traveling its own path through life’s joys and sorrows, one every bit as real and precious to them as yours is to you. Here we tread on sacred ground.
The mystery that made my multi-dimensional existence is one I will trust. That same profundity we encounter most directly through our emotions, that we exist at all, that we exist in bodies that love strawberries and give us fields of flesh by which we intimately explore our love, that profundity that is capable of creating the stars, oceans, and most amazingly for me, my beloved – that one mystery I find trustworthy beyond anything human or mortal. We can discipline ourselves to the real, become its students, become its adult children. This is to love life. This is to know the mystery that made us really does have our best interests at heart, even though we were born vulnerable, mortal, and prone to such horrific evil. Religion is not supernatural in the sense of something unconnected to anything I am. It is not outside the only loves I have ever known. And those loves have always and everywhere been relationships with individuals, very particular people. Some I meet only in my mind’s eye but for all of them, when I am most in my right point of view, my heart sighs.
Traumatize the individual, torture the individual, deceive the individual, and you will suffer the consequences. It is how we are made. Both the victim and perpetrator will leave the incident with wounds for life. We want security but have freedom instead, as the Grand Inquisitor understood. Our pursuit of power and wealth cannot deliver the security those beholden to them think they will. Our true freedom is a choice that takes place in the will. It is most profoundly real in the interpersonal interactions we have with one another. Other hands gave us our birth, other hands will bury us. Our conscience is formed, in part, by the work of other hands and we, if we are wise, will learn to answer to it. How can we escape who we are?
The alternative to money monotheism is to put people first. The economy should serve man, not man the economy. As long as there remains a large population excluded from the fruits of the earth, their cry in the night will give us no peace. Why is it we sit sipping our coffee and clicking away on our iPhones, while a few thousand miles away children are knee deep in our high-tech toxic waste, pulling apart circuit boards, screens, and keyboards? You don’t need me to tell you what injustice looks like. Another laundry list is not going to do a damn bit of good. We know what putting people first would mean. We know that it is simply wrong to expect magic from our religions, yet here we are again. Whether it is the the magic money religion or the magic religion religion, these magicians are not to be trusted. The Bible made subservient to the flag, desecrates both. The work of human hands turned against the living earth, desecrates both.
This is a wonderful creation we have the opportunity to participate in. Not a particularly long opportunity at eighty or ninety years if we are lucky, but long enough because there is time enough for love, to crib science fiction. But to speak the truth with no fiction at all is simple: the body is the temple; the heart is the living holy of holies; the God with which we have to do is the God of the living, not the dead. These are the inner secrets revealed for all the world to see a long, long time ago, even before Egypt’s first tales of the ancient war. The God who loved us into existence does not need our human sacrifices, but we do. Be careful out there.