Do humans see ourselves as part of nature?  Or as its masters? Or plunderers? 

Matt Fox, June 30, 2021

True spirituality begins where the Bible begins—with the universe, with creation, with all that exists.  Not with the human alone but within a larger context. Thanksgiving Address – Greetings to the Natural World. Video by Dan Abrahamsson

The indigenous peoples of the Americas take for granted the sacredness of all of Creation and how humanity relating to Creation is humanity facing the powers of Spirit and the Creator. Jamake Highwater writes:

The American Indian has an entirely different view of humanity and nature from that of the Greek heritage. For primal peoples, because the landscape itself is sacred it therefore embodies a divinity that it shares with everything that is part of nature, including human beings, animals, plants, rocks… everything.

Do humans see ourselves as part of nature?  Or as its masters? Or plunderers?  The inherent sacredness of creation is attested to by Black Elk who says:

We regard all created beings as sacred and important, for everything has a wochangi, or influence, which can be given to us, through which we may gain a little more understanding if we are attentive.

We should understand well that all things are the work of the Great Spirit. We should know that he is within all things; the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains and all the four-legged animals, and the winged peoples; and even more important, we should understand that he is also above all these things and peoples.

Notice how revelation or understanding flow to humans from all beings when humans pay attention. Humans need this relationship with creation to find true peace and the center of their existence, Black Elk insists.

The Lakota phrase “Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ” (All My Relations) reflects the indigenous world view of interconnectedness with all forms of life on earth, as well as the earth and cosmos themselves. Video by Your Planet.

Peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka [the Great Spirit], and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.

Given the intrinsic value and divine presence to be found in Creation, the demise of Creation’s health and beauty represents an immense spiritual plight. An Old Omaha elder remembers his youth:

When I walked abroad I could see many forms of life, beautiful living creatures which Wakanda had placed here; and these were, after their manner, walking, flying, leaping, running playing all about.

But changes have taken place.

“Temperate rainforest clearcuts. Logging road and log truck, Burnt Mountain Access road. Western Oregon, Coast Range.” Photo by Francis Eatherington on Flickr.

Now the face of all the land is changed and sad. The living creatures are gone. I see the land desolate and I suffer an unspeakable sadness. Sometimes I wake in the night and I feel as though I should suffocate from the pressure of this awful feeling of loneliness.

Do you feel a growing sadness at the desolation of the Earth?  How can we convert that sadness to effective action and healing medicine?

One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.

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