Excerpt From a Sunday Lesson by Rev. Cindy Wright, retired Unity minister, delivered in April 2013:
"We have come a long way in our view of Earth .... or perhaps we have come around full circle. There are some cultures, like Native American who have always seen the Earth as spiritual and deserving reverence. The rest of us are slowly catching up.
Somewhere along the line in major religions there came the idea that since God was spirit .... that meant that God could not be matter ..... and that created a separation of God and the earth ... and the earth was seen as separate and apart from God. And if the earth was not a part of God then it was not to given any attention ..... the attention should be on things of Spirit. And so for years we have neglected the earth and even abused it. But we are beginning to realize that we are not separate from the earth .. and that it in fact is FILLED with the spiritual energy of God.
There are religions that are called Pantheistic ... that believe that God is found in nature. Unity is Panentheistic ..... which means that we believe that God is in nature .... and God is also greater than and outside of nature as well.
More and more people are recognizing that the earth is not just dirt and water and trees but is an actual living organism ... and that living organism that we call GAIA is filled with Spiritual energy. Throughout history people have found themselves gravitating to power points seeking personal transformation. There are places such as Sedona Arizona for instance that is considered a place full of powerful energy.
“There is a wonderful story about the child of a rabbi who used to wander in the woods. At first his father let him wander, but over time he became concerned. The woods were dangerous. The father did not know what lurked there. He decided to discuss the matter with his child. One day he took him aside and said, ‘You know, I have noticed that each day you walk into the woods. I wonder, why do you go there?’ The boy said to his father, ‘I go there to find God.’ ‘That is a very good thing,’ the father replied gently., ‘I am glad you are searching for God. But, my child, don’t you know that God is the same everywhere?’ ‘Yes,’ the boy answered, ‘but I’m not.’
God is not any more present in any one place ... God is the same everywhere. But sometimes we are not.... and so we seek out places..... away from it all where we can feel and experience God’s presence more fully.
According to the psalmist ... places affect us. The Lord’s green pastures and still waters restore the soul. The Chinese have long observed that an individual’s well-being is influenced by location and have devised a system called Fung Shui of reading energy or chi of places to find beneficial positions for buildings and rooms.
Even as far back as biblical times certain kinds of earthly places have had spiritual meanings attached to them. Metaphysically places in the Bible represent states of consciousness. Jesus went into the desert to pray, the Desert Fathers lived in seclusion in the desert... Muhammad received his commission in a desert cave. Metaphysically the DESERT represents a place of emptiness... or a consciousness of emptiness.
Terry Tempest Williams writes: “It’s strange how deserts turn us into believers. I believe in walking in a landscape of mirages, because you learn humility. I believe in living in a land of little water because life is drawn together. And I believe in the gathering of bones as a testament to spirits that have moved on. If the desert is holy, it is because it is a forgotten place that allows us to remember the sacred. Perhaps that is why every pilgrimage to the desert is a pilgrimage to the self. There is no place to hide, and so we are found.”
MOUNTAINS have been seen as holy because they represent a rising up of consciousness. Moses went up to the top of the mountain and was presented with the Ten Commandments. Jesus took two of his disciples up to the top of a mountain and there appeared to them transfigured ....as a light body.
Mountains instill in us a sense of awe and wonder. I remember going to Yosemite and driving in at the entrance to the park, and the first thing that practically rises up to meet you is the Half Dome ... and just being stuck by how awesome it was ..... I just stood there with my mouth gapping open .... it was a profound feeling.
I had the same feeling when I went to Crystal Mountain in Washington and took the ski lift up to the top of the mountain. From the bottom you can’t see Mount Rainer because there is another mountain in front of it . ... but you go up over the top of that mountain.... which looks pretty big in and of itself ... but then you get to the top... and there right in front of you is this HUGE mountain .... and it is so beautiful and majestic and so close to you... that you are just stopped in your tracks.
It humbled me and made me feel rather small, and at the same time larger than life.
Deserts, mountains, oceans .... they all give us a feeling of spirituality. It is easy to see and to feel the spiritual in them. When I was in ministerial school in Missouri, I really missed the mountains and the ocean. It is so flat in Missouri. There are no mountains anyway near the vicinity of Kansas City. And no water either. Unity Village is a very spiritual place and you can feel the energy of that place, because they pray there twenty four hours a day. But I missed the ocean and the mountains….and I continue to miss them.
It is easy for us to see the spiritual in the mountains and the ocean.
More and more we are seeing how we are linked and connected together. How something as small and simple as a butterfly flapping its wings in China can have an effect on the weather in New York. We are interconnected and what happens in one place affects all places. And in fact we cannot separate ourselves from the whole... because we contain it all.
Carl Jung said: “When you look inside yourself, you see the universe and all its stars in infinity ... an infinite mystery within yourself as great as the one without.”
The mountain is within you ...... that majesty that you feel when you look at the mountain .........the strength and power and awesomeness .... that isn’t just in the outer world .. that is inside of you. The expansiveness you feel when you look out on the ocean ...... is within you .........infinity is within you. I think that’s why I love the ocean so much, because I always feel like I am looking at infinity. Even though I know there is a shore somewhere on the other side, I can’t see it and so it feels like infinity. Well that infinity is inside of me.
The beauty of the flowers and the trees are inside of us as well .... the music of the birds....... the aroma of the earth....all are inside us. We are connected with that beauty and that melody ......
Thirteenth century Sufi mystic Rumi tells this story: “A caravan of men and camels crossed a desert and reached a place where they expected to find water. Instead they found only a hole going deep into the earth. They lowered bucket after bucket into the hole, but the rope each time came back empty -- no bucket and no water. They then began to lower men into the hole, but the men, too, disappeared off the end of the rope. Finally a wise man among the party volunteered to go down into the hole in search of water.
When the wise man reached the bottom of the hole, he found himself face to face with a horrible monster. The wise man thought to himself, ‘I can’t hope to escape from this place, but I can at least remain aware of everything I am experiencing.’ The monster said to him, ‘I will let you go only if you answer my question.’ He answered, ‘Ask your question.’
The monster said, ‘Where is the best place to be?’ The wise man thought to himself, ‘I don’t want to hurt his feelings. If I name some beautiful city, he may think I’m disparaging his hometown. Or maybe this hole is the place he thinks is best.’ So to the monster he said, ‘The best place to be is wherever you feel at home -- even if it’s a hole in the ground.
The monster said, ‘You are so wise that I will not only let you go , but I will also free the foolish men who came down before you. And I will release the water in the well.”
In the old testament in Exodus we read: “And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when Jehovah saw that he had turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:2-5)
The place on which you stand is holy ground. The place on which YOU STAND is holy ground.
Yes, there may be places where the spiritual energy has built up over the years .... yet any place can be a holy place ... the place on which you stand right now ..... your home ..... your place of work .... any place on which you stand ......can be a profound and holy place and it all deserves respect and reverence.
We are evolving in consciousness, humankind is evolving, and the earth is evolving right along with us, because we are connected. As we evolve individually it affects the whole.
Some people think, “What can I do to change the world?” Well you can start by changing yourself, because when you change it affects everything around you.
Danaan Perry, who started Earthstewards, dedicated his life to raising the consciousness of healing the Earth. I would like to share with you his seven fold path for peace.
- When we are peace within our own heart we shall be at peace with everyone and with our Mother Earth.
- When we recognize that our planet itself is a living organism co-evolving with humankind we shall become worthy of stewardship.
- When we see ourselves as stewards of our planet and not as owners and masters of it there shall be lasting satisfaction from our labors.
- When we accept the concept of Right Livelihood as the basic right of all we shall have respect for one another.
- When we respect the sacredness of all life we shall be truly free.
- When we free ourselves from our attachment to our ego-personalities we shall be able to experience our Oneness.
- When we experience our Oneness—our total connectedness with all being, we shall be at peace within our hearts.
In the bible in Romans 8:19 we read: “For the Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Creation calls to us to love it to honor it and to protect it.