Ecology: Of Spirit


Mark Nepo

If you have one hour of air
and many hours to go,
you must breathe slowly.

If you have one arm’s length
and many things to care for,
you must give freely.

If you have one chance to know God
and many doubts, you must
set your heart on fire.

We are blessed.

Every day is a chance.
We have two arms
Fear wastes air.

There is a certain way of seeing into the world that happens for human beings when they allow themselves to sink into lived reality a little more deeply.  The results of that certain way of seeing become identified over time with the great spiritual traditions known to us:  The Bodhisattva’s way of compassion  extended to all beings; the Taoist’s Way unfolding naturally in all things; Jesus’ way of the Kingdom of God in the midst of us; the Lakota’s way of hearing the breath and voice of the Great Spirit in the wind.

Such an ecology of spirit sees deeply, listens and hears deeply, feels deeply, understands deeply how our actions have impact on others and others on us.  This kind of ecology understands sentience in a much broader way than humans ordinarily allow.  This kind of ecology of spirit understands that animals, of all kinds, think, feel and communicate.  This kind of ecology of spirit understands that plants and trees, of all kinds, have a consciousness, feeling and communicate.  This kind of ecology even allows that there may be a sentience and communication in minerals!  What we do and how we hold ourselves in this world has an impact on all others.  All others.

This ecology of spirit beckons us to the practice of a deep respect that we can practice and work on whichever path we trod.  Human beings depend on plant, animal and mineral life to survive. Human beings at every socio-economic level depend on each other for survival. Do we depend with respect?  Where does your water come from?  Who raised, cultivated and transported to you the food that you eat today? How much gasoline have you burned this week?  Where did the petroleum come from? Who mined it?  Where?  Who processed the crude into gasoline?  Anywhere we look in our lives we are able to find something that we take for granted that can allow us to see, hear, feel and think more deeply, to practice an ecology of spirit.

Bob Patrick

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