The Road that Lead to SatVan

A Centre for Nature and Harmony

The Valley School Campus Bangalore India

The Road that Lead to SatVan: A Centre for Nature and Harmony

by Skanda Subramanya

“Integrated life and action is education” –  J Krishnamurthi

My journey as a teacher of biology and environmental sciences for nine years at The Valley School, Krishnamurthi Foundation India, Bangalore has been a very fulfilling one. This journey has been filled with multiple moments of epiphany and insight where I think I saw some critical connections between the crisis in the environment and a crisis within human society. I could also witness the potential of an educator and an educational space in addressing both these crises in an integrated manner. 

Experiential Education

Radical Change of Perspective

One of the most significant potential within education is its ability to create an atmosphere for a radical change in perspective. A meaningful engagement with the crisis in the society goes hand in hand with consistent radical changes in the perspective of an individual. An atmosphere that provides a space for individuals to challenge dogma becomes very essential in this respect. 

Coltan and cassiterite are minerals used in almost all the contemporary electronic devices. I have used the case study of the mining of these minerals in Africa as a part of our Environmental science course. The case study is a hard hitting one where we come to see the violent consequences of the demand that the world has created for these minerals due to the modern lifestyles. There has been an extreme amount of violence in the countries where these mines exist on the people who live in those regions. Everytime we have done this module, I have observed my students being deeply moved by it. They are able to see the dark side of commerce and globalization and how each one of us are contributing to this violence. Anyone who is concerned about Nature and the environmental crisis arrives at a point like this during their exploration. As a teacher I have had the good fortune of being in the company of many young minds that arrive at such points of contemplation. Very often this contemplation triggers deep and uncomfortable questions in the students about themselves, the world around them and the society. I noticed that our educational systems are designed in a way that it is not able to provide space and time for us to pay attention to this discomfort. The pressure is always to move on and abandon introspection. The questions that are encouraged by the system are the ones that have some academic potential in them. This might be the case because deep introspection often results in a radical change of perspective. It often leads to a critical examination of education and the education system itself.  This is often looked at as an undesirable consequence. Students have been able to recognise and point out this limitation within this system in many explicit and subtle ways. One very common feeling expressed by them is how society around them has made certain patterns look inevitable. Patterns such as going to college, choice of certain subjects and careers based on how they are an assured route to economic success and respectability. There are many examples of violence and stress experienced by students who have attempted to question these patterns.

There is a famous quote by J Krishnamurthi which says “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” I feel that the Krishnamurthi schools like The Valley School have had a great degree of freedom built into their educational system to encourage students to question dogma and the authority of established patterns. However these institutions are under constant pressure from the larger society to conform to a certain pattern and design. Krishnamurthi’s work and its influence on the people has always kept the negotiations alive and has so far never let the schools to completely conform to a prescribed  design. 

SatVan as a space can be considered as an attempt to add strength to their ongoing negotiations with the larger society. A collaborative educational space without the general limitations imposed on a school. 

A Class in progress
Classroom being built by students using locally available materials

The Dangers of Unconsciousness and Immediate Gratification

Questioning modern lifestyles and life choices has not often been an active part of the school curriculum. Human society today is plagued by a desire for lifestyles that are tilted towards unconscious and immediate gratification. My decisions are often made on the basis of short term gains. I can do this because I remain unconscious about its long term consequences. I feel that immediate gratification has found its validation and justification through a sense of arrogant and narrow rationalism. The gradual build up to this kind of narrow rationalism has happened with the emergence of a culture that has an unreasonable amount of belief in the ability of modern science and technology to solve any crisis. Our obsession with modern science and technology has resulted in a narrow and arrogant rationalism which refuses to look at the long term consequences of our actions. A few of us who are inclined to look at it are often faced by challenges within our circles. 

The Willingness to Take Consequences of What is True

Truth is timeless. A pursuit of truth accounts for both long term and short term consequences of our choices. If we are only concerned about our own narrow benefits, we might be away from the truth. We as a society seem to be mostly indulging in our own short term gains and refusing to look at the long term consequences of it. A compassionate, non judgemental space is very essential for us to acknowledge and accept our tendency to live lives driven by the fear, lust and greed of our narrow self. A compassionate space is a space that allows for multiple perspectives to co-exist with each other in a constant dialogue. Dialogue is when multiple perspectives are shared and understood without any sense of competition. Satvan as a space wishes to create an atmosphere for such a dialogue. An atmosphere for an honest acknowledgement of the state of our relationship with nature. I feel that the movement that follows this acknowledgement is a genuine self motivated movement. It is not driven by a trend, pressure or any kind of self fulfilling desire. 

The difference in our lifestyle and life choices are not necessarily an indicator of the difference in our intelligence. Our upbringing, circumstances, life experiences and narratives play a vital role in determining them. Satvan is imagined as a space where we could look at our own narratives with compassion and attention. I believe that a movement towards right action and right relationships can emerge from this kind of an observation. 

The word SatVan is derived from sanskrit words ‘Sat’ which is a common prefix that means ‘the true essence’ and ‘Van’ means ‘forest’.

The Intent

  • Satvan is a centre dedicated towards facilitating a free, self motivated and voluntary exploration of different aspects of human life and their relationship with the environment.
    • An exploration that helps in the movement towards reconnecting with the natural world. 
    • Facilitating a  journey towards greater harmony with nature. 

The intent of Satvan as a centre is to create opportunities and space for such an exploration through collaborative initiatives, research projects, workshops, long term and short term courses, online content, community engagement, festivals and retreats. 

Themes

SatVan wishes to create an atmosphere for people to undertake a self driven inquiry. To complement this journey the space will have a few themes as a starting point. The approach to these different themes would be with an intent of integration and collaboration rather than fragmentation. 

  • The relationship of human beings with their environment in the past and the consequences of this relationship on humans and their environment. Observing and appreciating the interconnectedness in nature – History and Natural History
  • Human lifestyle is a result of human behaviour. An understanding of human behaviour is necessary to understand the complexity of human lifestyle. The influence of History on Culture – Psychology and Sociology
  • The relationship between arts,culture and environment. How art can influence human behaviour? – Craft, Fine Arts, Performing Arts and literature
  • The relationship of Arts, Sciences, Culture and Human Lifestyle with Economics – Economics, Entrepreneurship and Self Reliance
  • Role of Science, technology and research in creating harmony between human beings and Nature – Science, Research and Innovation
  • Understanding the value of manual work and working with the body – Working with the land and Manual work
  • Role of Philosophy, Spirituality and Self inquiry in understanding the complexity of human behaviour and its relationship with the environment – Philosophy and Spirituality

SatVan is a Space for:

  • Any individual who would like to explore the above mentioned themes and any other themes that complement them.
  • People from the neighbourhood.
  • Students who would like to do projects that are related to these themes.
  • Teachers
  • Mature Students
  • Students taking a gap year

Please write to us at satvan@thevalleyschool.info and share your thoughts and feelings. We would be happy and excited to collaborate with you. 

Sincerely

Skanda Subramanya, Coordinator – SatVan

Hindu Dharma, Identity & Its Role in Global Awakening

In early March of 2020, the Global Peace Initiative of Women convened a gathering entitled ‘Hindu Dharma, Identity & its Role in Global Awakening’ on how we can reframe the conversation around Hinduism to focus it on deepening the understanding of Dharma – the upholding of universal principles of life, the foundational principle being that of love. The meeting brought together swamis and spiritual teachers, scholars of Yoga and the Vedas, along with young filmmakers, writers, educators and ecologists. 

The meeting was held at the Govardhan Eco Village, an ecological self-sustaining retreat center and spiritual community about two hours northwest in Mumbai. Radhanath Swami, a spiritual teacher in the Bhakti Yoga lineage who is originally from Chicago, had the vision to create a place for spiritual practice built around an ethos of “simple living, higher thinking”.

Radhanath Swami addressed the participants and shared the intention behind the eco village- how it was created in a spirit of devotion for the Earth and ultimately to God,  and built to encourage others to live in a spirit of gratitude for life and Mother Earth’s gifts. The eco village functions in a way that is entirely self-sufficient. Environmental engineers from top research institutes have helped the community employ sustainable practices such as water harvesting, grey water recycling, animal protection and care. It serves as a spiritual reflection of Vrindavan, a holy place of pilgrimage for devotees. More and more spiritual communities are seeking to live in greater harmony with the natural world and at Govardhan the interconnection between ecology and spirituality is a joyful and lived experience.

Spring Buds in a Time of Crisis

By Angela Fischer

Every morning, these days, we wake up to an unfolding spring, even more birds singing, new buds in the trees, more flowers blooming. And every morning we wake up to the news about the current pandemic in the world. Infection rates rising, death toll rising. More countries closing their borders, more individual restrictions in order to slow the infection rate.How do we respond? How do we respond to the birdsong, the gifts from the Earth, the beauty of life? And how do we respond to the news about the pandemic crisis? Is there something that connects both? How does this crisis affect our attitude and our spiritual practice, as it certainly affects our lives? I recently noticed that over the last few weeks I had changed my personal view every single day and realized there is and maybe must be a process, for each of us. A little ashamed about my different reactions – rather than responses, like counter-reaction to collective panic – a certain attitude emerged from a growing awareness that stayed with me: Listening, listening deeper. What are the “signs on the horizon”? What is asked from us, from me individually? Is there a deeper meaning, deeper than fear and anxiety and the attitude of “war against the virus” that we hear and sense in the world? I tried to listen to something deeper, an inner light – which is always there, whether we are aware of it or not. And others are listening too, of course, and we find out that there is a chance for us, an opportunity.

Oneness and Interconnectedness

We know, when the astronauts were seeing the planet from space for the first time, this was a shift in consciousness. There is one Earth, one planet, utterly precious. We are all interconnected on this beautiful blue marble. One destiny, one soul.But decades later we as humanity find ourselves being caught even more in a mindset of separation and domination toward the Earth, all species and each other. We would not have thought that it is, of all things, a contagious virus that becomes the space shuttle for all of us. From which we watch the planet as one organism. That teaches us that we are interconnected in ways we do not realize and have completely forgotten. Interconnected, of course, over the whole planet. Not as consumers or as global corporations, but as vulnerable human beings on a vulnerable Earth. There are two different ways to respond: We have the opportunity to decide, if we respond with love and compassion or with desires of the ego and instinctual drives, that is, with separation and division. The virus brings sickness and even death, and suffering. If we allow for the pain reaching us, instead of anxiety and despair, we will feel it in our hearts. And we are asked to respond with compassion and love. To respond with love and care requires us to witness what is happening, to face it consciously and not to ignore it. We are asked to grow up which means to be able to witness suffering and darkness without falling in collective despair and anxiety.

Awareness of the Inner World. Intuition and Inner relationship

The physical retreat and isolation which is, from a medical point of view, required from us and necessary, does not mean we are really separated.One reason of our present state of the world is that we have focused on the material world in a way that we have forgotten the immaterial, the inner worlds, and how they both, matter and spirit, belong together In other words: We as humanity have forgotten the sacred within life, within creation, within our bodies, within the body of the Earth. The light, the soul.Materialism and consumerism have eaten up and choked the sense of a nourishment for our souls and the soul of the world. It is no more part of humanities’s consciousness that we have the power and capacity to relate to the inner, invisible world and to each other, invisibly and beyond the physical plane and physical connection. As mystics we know and do experience that we can “meet in the night”. Which means, not in our physical bodies. We are not separated through space, nor through time.This inner knowing, and to live this knowing, can be awakened and affirmed in these times of quarantine. When outer borders are being closed we can begin again to open up our inner borders. And the borders we have built between the inner and outer world. We can devote ourselves again to the feminine wisdom inside of all of us that shows us how to communicate, to be in relationship to each other and to the inner worlds. Yes, we have internet (and hope it remains like this), so we luckily have non-physical possibilities to connect. So it is easy to believe that we do not need to activate intuition and our relationship to the inner worlds. Yet this does not nourish our souls in the long run, as it cannot replace meaning and light that is shared in a personal touch or smile. Also, of course, an inner connection does not “replace” a physical hug, but like a physical touch it carries love and light and gives us meaning and nourishes the soul.

For the Earth, With the Earth

You might have seen the satellite views, the before and after pictures. Clear skies over China after weeks of dealing with the Corona crisis. We have been choking the Earth with our CO2 emissions as a result of our way of life, our consumerism and materialism. The greater awareness of a “climate crisis” (which is an understatement, because it is more than a crisis) did not lead to the acceptance of the need to fundamentally change our way of life. To step back from our consumerism and ever growing economy, the so-called “freedom” to take an airplane whenever we want, and to live more simply. Green economy yes, green technology, yes, but please no change of life, no renunciation. No politician dares to speak about this, even a green one, it is just completely unpopular. But suddenly, humans are prepared to renounce this life- style. We can witness, it is possible! Even if the main cause of our willingness to step back from superficial pleasures that distract us, as bars and clubs in cities close down, and to refrain from holidays flying all over the planet, even if the cause might be fear of being contaminated and getting sick, we see and watch, for the first time, it is possible. The chance is: If we are able to transform that fear into a deeper feeling of care and love for the Earth and each other, we could be able to transition to another way of life.We have the chance to listen to the birds again, to be thankful for what the Earth is giving us. There is more space in our lives to do so, as the usual noise slows down. And if more of us can return to experiences like this, pathways could open to relate to the inner light, to the soul. We can again listen to the Earth herself.If at this moment we do not cover the Earth with a dense veil of collective fear and despair and even more growing egoism (nationalism), we can be able to listen to her voice, the voice of the Earth that at the moment is being carried by some air to breathe. It is only a very small gap, a small opportunity, a door that is open for a very short moment.

Solitude as a Vast Space for Light

For centuries solitude was reserved for monks and hermits, and a few people in contemporary spiritual environments. Solitude does not have a place in modern life,except for her shadow brother called loneliness. But solitude is different from loneliness. In a noisy and too busy world, we have unlearned to be in solitude, we are even afraid of it and tend to run away from it. Now countless people in the world, on the entire planet, are forced to retreat to their homes and to stay there in more or less solitude. After the first shock in the wake of something completely unusual, we can realize there is a space that opens up. There is air to breathe. Whereas the outer space is constricted, the inner space expands and widens. The heart has a chance to be listened to. The body has a chance to be listened to. So do our dreams in the night, our reflections on our lives.And if we have children and they need to stay at home, due to shut downs of schools, they too have the chance that we really listen to them. Yes, it is not easy to change our daily routine, and it is a big challenge for families, single parents especially, for people who still need to work in service to public health and services of general interest, and also a challenge for many people who are artists or self-employed to maintain their living. Those difficulties cannot just be removed. Nor can we avoid the worries about loved ones who might be sick or the grief of losing those who might die. And yet we can live our daily life now from another place inside, from that vast, spacious place that offers a certain light, a meaning of life. In solitude we have space to pray, to meditate, to sing and play, to cook our meals with love. To care for others. We can get a taste of a new (and ancient) way of life, sustainable inwardly and outwardly. We can breathe as well as the Earth can breathe. From this space that is given to us at the moment, from love and care, healing can be born. There is always an individual choice.


Angela Fischer

The Sacred Feminine for Life

Reflections on Village Life in Uganda or The Inner Dimensions of Climate Change

by Robert Kugonza

“When I try to reflect on the meaning of the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change what comes to mind are the things that are not seen, that are not the most talked about or thought of by our leaders and people. There is something more quiet and under the surface that needs to be brought into the light. Mother Earth is definitely grieving and in her grieving she reacts or retaliates to show us this grief. The floods we see today in places where they never used to occur. Droughts are lasting longer than in the past. Our forefathers — my parents, would tell us exactly the day, in a year, in a month when the rains would come and believe me they would come. Everyone prepared their seeds for planting and the next day everyone would be ready and out in their gardens sowing. I have seen the change in my lifetime. I remember the forests where we once walked to gather dry branches for the fire or the clear running river where we would go to fetch water. I will never forget the sense of community in the sharing of harvests with everyone in the village, where no one would go without squash or pumpkins. There was a harmony that existed in the community that is no longer present.” ~ Robert Kugonza, Uganda

Delegate to COP22 Marrakech, Inner Dimensions of Climate Change gathering

Green hills of Uganda

We were in touch with Robert recently and he wrote us more about life in the village. 

YES, the village indeed,  where harmony still has a place, where care, concern and love for one another still exist. Where respect for elders and good regard for the young ones are values in practice. Where you witness real passion and love in those greeting you. Where even with challenges of poverty, reduced forest cover and climate change and lesser food productivity, people still share the little they have. Where no view is obstructed by walls or enclosures, where sounds and vision travel freely, interaction is easy, even from a reasonable distance without mobile phones people will still call each other – the organic way. The birds sing, the roosters crow and the gentle rustle of the cow, her moos blending with the bleating of the goats and sheep. What harmonized music of nature you can hear.

Visiting with wise elders

Our village is a place where Mother Earth has the liberty to show all the mothered, her ability to love, to care, to provide and to sustain. But increasingly, the new generations do not know how to care for her in return. Unfortunately each passing day, especially for the young ones, they become more intoxicated and fall for the illusion of so called ‘development and modernity’, ways that are not in tandem with living harmoniously with Nature.  It saddens me and my heart bleeds seeing these trends of development and the people who are heartless in their treatment of nature and each other. All of these conditions led me to choose the name for my organization; Friends with Environment in Development (FED). Our focus and passion through FED is to making the local, regional, national and the world realize that the elders in local communities who are still with us are an incredible and incomparable rich resource.  They hold the richness of unlimited knowledge that this young generation needs to tap into before these elders depart. The elders hold a knowledge not between walls and exclusive of others, but a knowledge unlimited. They hold the wisdom of how to live in harmony with Nature – our Mother the Earth, and the knowledge of how to live with one another accommodatingly.  

To learn more of the work of Robert Kuganza or Friends with Environment in Development, you can write to him here: kugonzarobert@gmail.com

Ready for the Rains

Riddhi Shah, educator, organizer and Earth steward

GPIW meets with many young ecologists and activists out in the field restoring the damage we have collectively done to nature. It can be emotionally difficult at times for the individual and one must often draw on inner reserves of spiritual strength to continue.

Riddhi Shah wrote to us recently, exhausted and feeling defeated at the disparity she saw in one drought stricken area of India where temperatures of 45C left three villages facing severe water shortages. ‘It was stressful and exhausting trying to bring attention to local authorities’ and urging corporate leaders to put their spare money in these places. She pressed on seeking to find the local business leaders who understand the gravity and urgency of the situation, knowing that children drinking water from contaminated wells are in grave danger.

“People just don’t understand the gravity of the situation.”

Upon returning to the villages, Riddhi met with the village heads in the district. She also assembled the younger members of those communities. Since she wrote to us a month ago disheartened by what she saw, she has worked hard to understand the situation, the cultural sensitivities and now has organized a ‘super-active’ group of villagers who are working on a model project. The project aims to increase the ground water retention and raise the water table.

Men, women and children are spending every free minute digging swales, trenches, ditches and channels to collect and store rain water. It has brought together the whole community who are now planting new trees and caring for the ones that are there. A local prosperous land owner who manages a vineyard took notice of these efforts and has offered to lend support in some way. Riddhi has invited corporations to help and now has a pledge of $25,000 to support the project.

We thought you would like this story of how one young woman helped to mobilize a rural community to bring back their life giving water and forest cover again. Across the world young people are engaging in Earth repair and restoration and there are many opportunities for each us to seek them out and assist them. Commitment and devotion can bring about real change.

As part of the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change Program GPIW will be sharing more stories about young people restoring the natural world.

3 Questions with Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

How can we reconnect with our deeper selves, our essential nature?

There are many ways to reconnect with our essential nature. Any spiritual practice, prayer or meditation, that takes us beneath the surface of our daily life, beneath the clutter of the mind and the demands of the outer world, can be a place of reconnection, a place where we can rest inwardly and be nourished by the deeper roots of our being. And if we need an added ingredient to help us in this work, silence is most valuable, especially in today’s world where noise surrounds us more and more. To learn to be present in an inner and outer silence is a doorway to what is real within ourselves and in the world around us.

And as our world appears to spin more and more out of balance—temperatures and sea levels rising, species depleted—there is a pressing need to return to a this deep place, a place of belonging where real healing and transformation can take place. Returning to our essential self we may find a balance resurfacing from deep within, a balance that reconnects and restores us, and also allows us to contribute in unseen ways.

One of Carl Jung’s favorite stories was “The Rainmaker,” in which a world out of balance, in a time of drought and suffering, was healed not through activity, but through a rainmaker retiring to a hut in silence. Three days later the rain came and the drought was over. When he was asked how he brought the rain, he replied, “Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordnance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I am also not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao, and then naturally the rain came.”
If we are to participate creatively in these toxic times, to bring rain to a land where the inner and outer wells have run dry, first we need to be present “in another country where things are in order.” And this “other country” is not so far away, but can be found in the Earth beneath our feet, and in the space between the in-breath and the out-breath where the soul is present. But first we need to reconnect, to return to this place of balance. And the simplest way is through stillness and silence.
Silence draws us inward, away from the clutter and distractions of our outer life, to the deeper roots of our being. Here our soul nourishes us, here we can be replenished, and here we can help replenish our world. The Earth is dying from the ravages of our culture, of our materialistic nightmare which pollutes the air we breathe, the water we drink, and starves our soul from its natural connection to the sacred. In the silence we can drink deeply of the waters of life that are still pure, we can commune with the primal forces of nature, we can return to what is sacred and essential to our life and to the life of the Earth.
Here in this “other country” the air is not toxic, and the miasma of today’s world in this post-truth era is not blurring our vision. The laugher of children rings true. Stillness is here, and the seasons are in balance. Every in-breath and out-breath is sacred. The breath, the soul, the Earth and its seasons, are linked together, nourished by each other. It is a time to heal.
Sitting here beside my window I look out onto the wetlands. I watch the tides rise and fall, the sun red in the morning, sometimes breaking through the mist. Traffic may pass on the road just beneath me, the early morning milk truck, but the silence remains. As I get older I am less and less drawn to activity, more of me remains in stillness, sensing the Earth, watching the birds at my birdfeeder—I love the woodpecker with his bright red crest. Now it is springtime, apple and cherry blossoms already carpeting the ground.

How do you feel and live your connection to the Earth?

In my daily life there are two practices that help me to reconnect with the Earth and Her sacred nature, walking and prayer.
I have always loved to walk early in the morning, to sense the Earth at the beginning of a day, to feel Her pulse, Her beauty and magic, before thoughts and demands clutter my day. Waking early, I have a hot cup of tea, meditate in silence, and then, as soon as the first light comes, I walk down the hill to the road beside the wetlands where I live. Sometimes the frost is sparkling around me, sometimes the water is clouded with fog, an egret appearing white against the reeds. This is another time of silent meditation, walking, breathing, feeling the Earth. I try to be as empty as possible, just to be present in the half-light, aware of what is around me. Prayer, meditation, presence, awareness – these are just words for a practice that immerses me in a mystery we call nature. Here the sacred speaks to me in its own language, and I try to listen.
Now I live beside the wetlands, and the tidal water is part of this meeting, this communion. Other times, in other landscapes, it has been rivers and streams, the sounds of waterfowls’ wings, the dawn rising across meadows. Or in forests, a different bird chorus, animals skittering across the path, a deer and her young. Always it is a listening awareness, a deep receptivity to what is around me, an honoring of a world other than people. It is a remembrance of what is essential, elemental, and its nourishment carries me through the day. It is a return to the sacred, sensed and felt, without words or thoughts – a primal consciousness as if of the first day.
This is a practice that has been with me since my teens – when I first started to meditate I also needed to walk. It was not taught or learned, but came as a need, a way to be, an antidote to much of the world around me – a world of people and problems, demands and desires. When one foot follows the other and the day has hardly begun, it seems these demands cannot touch me, as if I am immersed in something simpler, more essential. Placing each foot on the earth is a practice, but a practice that comes from my own roots, not a book or a teacher. Later I came to hear it called “walking in a sacred manner,” and it is sacred, a return to what is sacred. But it also is deeper or more primal than any purpose. Nature speaks to me and I listen. Nature calls and something deep within me responds, and I just need to give it space. I am part of a life far greater than any ‘me’.
The Earth gives us sustenance: the air we breathe, the food we eat. She is generous in so many ways, even as we forget Her and abuse Her. But there is also this deeper nourishment, this invisible, intangible giving. My early morning walk is a communion – if I am receptive, it is a wine drunk deeply. It comes through Her landscape, moss dripping from the trees, white and pink blossoms welcoming spring, the cry of a sea bird. Those first rays of sunrise are always a blessing. I do not understand this with my mind, but my soul feels it, needs it. Once again we are back at the beginning, in that elemental world we never truly leave. Our present culture may have forgotten it, disowned it, covered it over, may pretend we no longer need this communion, but my soul and my feet know otherwise. This is the landscape of the soul as much as it is the wetlands stretching towards the ocean. But it is also any landscape we walk. A walk on city streets is made of the same elements: feet touching ground, the rhythm of walking, breathing, the same sky overhead, the wind touching the face.
I would like to say it is easy, but so often I have to remember to reconnect, to empty the clutter of the coming day from my mind, my everyday thoughts. I have to stay in a place of awareness, sense my feet, feel the air, listen. I have to remember that I am not separate but part of everything around me. I have to push aside this great myth of separation, the great untruth. We are the air we breathe, the earth we touch, the same one life, alive in so many ways. We are the Earth awakening in the early morning, just as we are the buds breaking into color in the spring. To be fully alive is to feel how we are part of this embracing mystery. My morning walk is a remembrance, a reconnection, experienced in the body and felt in the soul.
My own morning walk is in many ways a prayer. In prayer there is a meeting: I meet and bow before the One in Its many colors, sounds, and smells. Of course, many mornings I forget and take my own thoughts with me on my walk. But then I am reminded—hearing the waterfowl call across the water, glimpsing the sun through the fog—and I awake from myself and see more clearly—the colors, the sounds, the beauty, the Divine. Once more I am attuned to how “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”
I feel that there is a specially pressing need at this time to bring our heart’s witness to this natural world we live in. Our world is starving, dying from a lack of the sacred, and human beings have always been mediators between the worlds, linking matter and spirit, the visible and invisible. Our witness, our prayers, can help awaken the sacred that is within creation.
And there is another form of prayer that touches me deeply at this time of the Earth’s distress. With our own heart we can pray for the Earth, just as we pray for another person, for a sick relative or friend. It helps first to acknowledge that She is not “unfeeling matter” but a living being that has given us life, and to open our heart to Her suffering: the physical suffering we see in the dying species and polluted waters, the deeper suffering of our collective disregard for Her soul and sacred nature. And then from this depth of feeling, and a deep love for the Earth, I place the whole Earth in my heart and offer Her to God, to the Creator, to my own Beloved. It is a simple and powerful way of remembering the Earth in my prayers, an offering of love.
We each have our own way to pray, the way we cry out in our need and longing, the way we listen to the quiet voice or to the deepening silence of the Divine, the way we open our hearts to the Earth. There are so many ways to pray for and with creation, to listen within and include the Earth in our spiritual practice. Watching the simple wonder of a dawn can be a prayer in itself. Or when we hear the chorus of birds in the morning we may sense that deeper joy of life and awake to its divine nature, while at night the stars can remind us of what is infinite and eternal within us and within the world. In whatever way we are drawn to wonder or pray, what matters is always the attitude we bring to this intimate exchange: whether our prayers are heartfelt rather than just a mental repetition. It is always through the heart that our prayers are heard. Do we really feel the suffering of the Earth, sense Her need, hear the cry of the Earth? Do we feel this connection with creation, how we are a part of this beautiful and suffering being? Then our prayers are alive, a living stream that flows from our heart. Then every step, every touch, will be a prayer for the Earth, a remembrance of what is sacred. We are a part of the Earth calling to Her Creator, crying in Her time of need.

How can we create or reimagine a more compassionate world from within the current structures?

There is a world waiting to be born, a world founded upon cooperation rather than competition, a world that honors all of life in its diversity and wonder. A compassionate world in which we return to what is simple and essential and remember the “Original Instructions” given to our ancestors and held by Indigenous Wisdom Keepers—“how to get long with all of creation.” And this world that seems so different to the broken structures of today’s divisive and exploitative culture, is not so far away. It is a world seen through the eyes, the consciousness of oneness, rather than the consciousness of separation. It is a simple shift from “me” to “we.”

Oneness holds the essential vision that we are one living, interconnected ecosystem—a living Earth that supports and nourishes all of its inhabitants. If we acknowledge and honor this simple reality, we can begin to participate in the vital work of healing our fractured and ravaged world and embrace a living unity that is our human heritage. This is the opportunity that is being offered to us, even as its dark twin is constellating the dynamics of nationalism, tribalism, isolationism, and all the other regressive forces that try to divide us.
Oneness is not a metaphysical idea but something essential and ordinary. It is in every breath, in the wing-beat of every butterfly, in every piece of garbage left on city streets. This oneness is life—life no longer experienced solely through the fragmented vision of the ego, through the distortions of our culture, but known within the heart, felt in the soul. This oneness is the heartbeat of life. It is for each of us to live and celebrate this oneness, to participate in its beauty and wonder. And through our awareness, and actions born of this awareness, we can help to reconnect our world with its original nature.
There are many ways to experience and participate in this living oneness. But if I have learned anything after half a century of spiritual practice, it is the power of love. Love comes in so many forms and expressions. There are the simple acts of loving kindness towards friends and family, members of our community, or strangers. Love reaches across boundaries, expressing what is most essential and human: what unites rather than divides. “Small things with great love,” are more potent and powerful than we realize, because they reconnect us with the spiritual roots of life and its transformative and healing energies. Because life is an expression of love, each act of love is a participation and gift to the whole.
Cooking a meal with love and care, listening to another’s troubles with an open heart, touching your lover’s body with tenderness, or going deep in prayer until you merge in love’s infinite ocean—in all these acts, we live the love that unites us. And through our loving, we nourish life in unseen ways.
And at this time of ecological crisis, as we are tearing apart the fragile web of life, there is a vital need for us to love the Earth, to bring her into our hearts and prayers. We have a spiritual as well as a physical responsibility for ‘our common home,’ and she is calling out to us, crying for our help and healing. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh:
Real change will only happen when we fall in love with our planet. Only love can show us how to live in harmony with nature and with each other and save us from the devastating effects of environmental destruction and climate change.
We need to reawaken to the power of love in the world. It is our love for the Earth that will heal what we have desecrated, that will guide us through this wasteland and help us to bring light back into our darkening world. Love links us all together in the most mysterious ways, and love can guide our hearts and hands. The central note of love is oneness. Love speaks the language of oneness, of unity rather than separation.
Love can open us to our deep participation in the life of the whole; it can teach us once again how to listen to life, feel life’s heartbeat, sense its soul. It can open us to the sacred within all of creation and can reconnect us with our primal knowing that the Divine is present in everything—in every breath, every stone, every animate and inanimate thing. In the oneness of love, everything is included, and everything is sacred.
And from there, we can begin to respond. We cannot return to the simplicity of an indigenous lifestyle, but when we let love guide us we can become more aware of the oneness of life and recognize that how we are and what we do at an individual level affects the global environment, both outer and inner. We can learn how to live in a more sustainable way, according to a deeper understanding of sustainability that rests on an acknowledgment of the sacred within creation. We can live more simply, saying no to unnecessary material things in our outer lives. We can also work inwardly to heal the spiritual imbalance in the world. Our individual conscious awareness of the sacred within creation reconnects the split between spirit and matter within our own soul, and also—because we are so much more a part of the spiritual body of the Earth than we realize—within the soul of the world.
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love draws us back to love, love uncovers love, love makes us whole, and love takes us Home. In the depths of the soul we are loved by God. This is the deepest secret of being human, the bond of love that is at the core of our being and belongs to all that exists. And the more we live this love, the more we give ourself to this mystery that is both human and divine, the more fully we participate in life as it really is, in its wonder and moment by moment revelation.
Love and care—care for each other, care for the Earth—are the simplest and most valuable human qualities. And love belongs to oneness. We know this in our human relationships, how love draws us closer, and in its most intimate moments we can experience physical union with another. It can also awaken us to the awareness that we are one human family, even as our rulers become more authoritarian, our politics more divisive. And on the deepest level, love can reconnect us with our essential unity with all of life, with the Earth herself.
The Earth is a living oneness born from love, being remade by love each instant. And we can be part of its spiritual transformation, its awakening. The Earth is waiting and needing our participation. It has been wounded by our greed and exploitation, and by our forgetfulness of its sacred nature. It needs us to remember and reconnect, to live the oneness that is our true nature. And love is the simplest key to this oneness, this remembrance. Love is the most ordinary, simplest, and most direct way to uncover what is real—the innermost secrets of life. It is at the root of all that exists, as well as in every bud breaking open at springtime, every fruit ripening in fall.
Love will remind us that we are a part of life—that we belong to each other and to this living, suffering planet. Love will reconnect us to the sacred ways known to our ancestors, as well as awaken us to new ways to be with each other and the Earth. We just need to say, “Yes,” to this mystery within our own hearts, to open to the link of love that unites us all, that is woven into the web of life. And then we will uncover the love affair that is life itself and hear the song of unity as it comes alive in our hearts and the heart of the world.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Ph.D. is a Sufi teacher and author. In recent years the focus of his writing and teaching has been on spiritual responsibility in our present time of global crisis, and an awakening global consciousness of oneness More recently he has written about the feminine, and the emerging subject of Spiritual Ecology. (www.workingwithoneness.org). He has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday, and featured on the Global Spirit Series shown on PBS. His most recent book is Including the Earth in Our Prayers.

Sacred Soil

by Shephali Patel

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Photo: Aya Okawa

The Birth of Soil

Soil is born from the cycle of life and death. Soil is about 50% air and water, 45% minerals, and 5% organic matter. Soil mineral is formed from the wearing of bedrock that is birthed from core of the earth. This weathering takes thousands of years and much of our present day agricultural soils are more than 10,000 years old. But before there was an Earth, there was just universe.

The universe was originally composed primarily of the lighter atomic elements hydrogen and helium. The rest of the heavier elements, including carbon and oxygen, were fused in the hearts of the giant floating nuclear reactors we call stars. When a massive star is dying, it becomes hotter and hotter; its pressure-fueled expansion culminating in a violent explosion, a supernova. These massive explosions blow the heavier elements in the star’s core out into space, where they are incorporated into the formation of other planets, moons, and stars. The minerals within and on the earth come from stars that died when the universe was young. All living matter on Earth is composed of this ancient debris. And stars are still dying and exploding. Every year, 40,000 tons of cosmic dust rains down upon us, erasing all validity of human-conceived borders. This cosmic dust settles everywhere, particularly in our soil. The chemical elements in the cosmic dust are taken up by plants, which are then eaten by us. Our bodies are constantly being rebuilt and nourished by dying stars.

The Life of Soil

Soil is a living entity. It is composed of a thin skin over the surface of the earth called the pedosphere. The pedosphere exists as the interface of:

  • lithosphere (Earth crust and upper mantle)
  • atmosphere (air in and above soil)
  • hydrosphere (water below, in, and above soil)
  • biosphere (living organisms)

The pedosphere can exist only when there is dynamic interconnection among all forms of life and its supporting mediums. Soil, the pedosphere, is a revolving sphere at the heart of interlaced cycles of life.

Soil is not just a living body, but also a place. Soil is a physical meeting place for the key processes that support life. It is a physical place where we can experience living interconnection. Within the 50% of air and water and 45% of mineral that comprises soil, lives the 5% of organic matter in various stages of death–living, dead, and very dead. All three are inextricably linked in a biogeochemical process of nutrient and element cycling across land, sea, and air; where everything is transformed, consumed, and shared all at once. The consumption and excretion of the dead frees up nutrients and molecules needed to fuel life. Communication and sharing among plant, microbes, and fungi manages and moves these elements. This is the foundation for all ecosystem health. The process requires such a diversity and density of life that there can be over a billion living organisms in just one teaspoon of soil–only a small fraction of which we have identified. These billion organisms and plant parts are part of the only 20% of organic matter that is alive.

To be able to understand the existence of soil is to understand that so much precision, symbiosis, and harmony goes into supporting just 1% of the solid living earth. That understanding is a call to remembrance– that we are loved like that.

The Death of Soil


With one spray of noxious pesticide, one extra pound of synthetic fertilizer, and another round of unrelenting tillage, we can unintentionally wipe out all future hopes for joy, health, and the tiny friends we have co-evolved with for millennia.

We are loved like that. And there we go, 93% stardust and magic, walking around both alien and native at once, in constant calculation of what belongs. Building walls and guns against what doesn’t. And many times what doesn’t belong are the living beings we don’t understand and can’t see. The grace that moves invisibly through our lives. When we breathe in the soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae, serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain increase. The bacteria makes us feel calm and happy. That pleasing sweet, metallic scent of the earth after it rains is released by soil actinobacteria. Seventy-eight percent of the top 150 prescription drugs in the U.S. and 70% of all new drugs are derived from plants and soil-dwelling microfauna. With one spray of noxious pesticide, one extra pound of synthetic fertilizer, and another round of unrelenting tillage, we can unintentionally wipe out all future hopes for joy, health, and the tiny friends we have co-evolved with for millennia.

Most of the times, what doesn’t belong are living beings we can see and don’t want to understand. Our soil is soaked through with the blood of the wolves that scared us but kept rivers and forests healthy. The soil is glutted with the murdered bodies of entire civilizations of people who knew it first and best. Only to have its insides then persistently gutted to resurrect the dead in their ghostly forms of coal and oil. Scientists say that more carbon resides in the soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined. Soil is all skin, thin and naked, absorbing our sins. Yet, despite the abuse, she is still holding her breath for us while we are stuck in this deranged wetiko dream. But you can’t hold your breath for long, when the air is being stamped out of you. Under that dark skin I can hear a muffled “I can’t breathe” that pushes through the sidewalks and reverberates in the streets.

The Soul of Soil

The soil teaches that we are loved. And also where we fail in loving back. When I first learned to read the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit, I learned to read it in two weeks and by the third week the pages in the brand-new book began to inexplicably disintegrate without being touched, and the book immediately looked like it was over one-hundred years old. The tiny pieces of pages would fall into the ground whenever I picked it up or carried it in my bag. Even tightly wrapped in its cloth covering. Pieces so tiny and thin that they would disappear into the ground and become part of it so that I couldn’t find them again. This is how I first realized that the Word lives in the soil.

Every day I go to the farm and take my familiar position. Kneeling down on one knee, head bowed down to work, I run my fingers through the dirt, combing through its pages. The wisdom of the soil starts with what I can see and then speaks to me about the Mystery that I can’t see with my eyes. Transplanting young plants, I follow their roots as they are embraced and gently clothed in soil. I know that though I cannot see it there is an orbit of bacteria and fungi protecting and communing with the plant. There are thin strands of mycorrhizae with fingers gently wrapped around plant roots, radiating out into all directions to forage for nutrients and relay messages that these roots cannot quite stretch far enough to reach. The unfolding drama of the living attracts more life –nematodes and protozoa, which then attract other nematodes and arthropods, which call out larger invertebrates, etc. Orbits expanding out like ripples in the water. The echo of the infinite taking shape. Beyond the field, the trees sport roots wrapped in mycelium connecting and communicating with the entire forest through an organic internet far more effective, intricate, and complex than our own–making all things whole and together even as they stand separate. I am again reminded that our salvation and spirituality lies in our interconnection. And that I am both whole already and at the same time always in a state of becoming whole by learning how to revere what is holy. The soil is calling for me to reimagine how I pray and love back–together, connected, sharing.

Next to the row of new transplants, an uncovered row of planted seeds looks like a mala unhooked and laid down on the ground. The cultivation of my devotion and awareness has always belonged inside the soil. So does my redemption. When I pull my hands from the dirt, they are stained in life, death, sacrifice, happiness, and healing. The compost is where I begin to take real responsibility for my existence and actions on this planet. I mark my penance with the work of my hands, turning and spinning that garbage until I help make medicine. Help, because it’s not me making anything. I am just learning from the masters; from that 1% of living, moving soil. It is their living and dying and love-making that produces a heat that transforms garbage into black gold. These tiny, unseen, unloved beings possess the power of alchemy. To make it truly medicine for all, the decomposing organic matter has to rest at a continuous temperature of at least 131º F for a minimum of three days at the core of the pile. So, even in this pile of trash and cast-offs, it is deep in the heart that the transformation and healing takes place. I have to make sure every square centimeter gets to spend some time resting in the cocoon of its own heart. Only then can it be applied to the open wounds of the earth and taken in through the open wounds of mouth, eyes, nose, ears, and skin. Composting works hand-in-hand with time. The time it takes to hopefully learn that in order to heal my insides, I have to be able to heal what is outside of me too. And to heal what is outside of me, I need to learn how to heal myself.


Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

The Word follows me inside, embedded into the creases of my fingers. Writing organic matter on the board, scribbling it into my notes, seeing it in books–the words organic matter inevitably morph into OM. All of existence conspired to culminate and begin in OM. In a world where the OM is stripped away what do we have left?

The gift of our lives comes up through the core of the earth and, bursting forth from the core of stars, right into the blazing core of our souls, if we let it. Which means all ground is sacred ground no matter what or where. It is we humans who decide when it is not sacred when we choose to desecrate it. When something is sacred we don’t want to or need to trade it in for a Plan B on Mars or carbon credits. We will protect and sacrifice for this home that is living body, place, teacher, and sanctuary. A temple to pour our love, suffering, gratitude, and remorse into. A place where we learn to breathe together again and slowly open our eyes to all of our gifts and their fundamental nature. That they are grace and miracle and love in a more-than-human world. That they cannot be possessed and that their value increases with how much we cherish them and offer them to others. That our greatest contribution as a species is to humbly know everything as Gift and, with dignity, surrender, and awe to practice upholding “sacredness” so that we are not complicit in stripping away the OM of the world.

It is somehow easier to see that the Mystery lives in everything when you are nose to ground. So I go back outside. I kneel once more, putting hand to ground so that it is soil pressed against soil in prayer. We live in holy times.

This essay was originally printed in Parabola Magazine, Fall 2017

Re-Discovering Mata Sita and Her Relevance Today

Sita Image 1

By Dena Merriam

Sita is a beloved figure for Hindus around the world, as well as for non-Hindus throughout Southeast Asia. But the message of her life extends beyond these audiences and bears universal import, particularly relevant for the modern age when a new understanding of feminine wisdom and leadership is needed, and when we are facing an unprecedented ecological crisis. Mata Sita and Sri Ram were instrumental in setting the foundation for a new civilization during a time of transition from one era, or yuga, to another. We stand at a similar time in history, where we are experiencing the passing of one era and intuitively feel the birthing of another, as yet unknown. One thing seems certain, however, that the new society we are striving for must be ecologically-based. There is great value in looking to lessons of the past in order to move forward.

During Sita’s time on earth, humanity was beginning to shift from a nature-based way of life toward greater material development. Many concepts were implanted in the collective mind at that time that guided the subsequent development of human civilization. We have now reached the pinnacle of this development and are reaping the results of our abuse of earth’s resources—its land, water, and air. To survive as a human community, we will need to incorporate into our lives a new-found appreciation, respect, and love for the natural world, a love that was exemplified in the life of Mata Sita.

Looking back to the time when humanity was beginning to divorce itself from nature and to cultivate more of a separate, individual identity will help us understand the pitfalls of this separateness in consciousness. Seeing ourselves as disconnected from nature has given mankind the false impression that we can control nature and recklessly deplete it, discounting the rights of other life forms and ignoring our interdependent relationship.

One cannot go backward in time, nor would one want to. The goal is to incorporate the wisdom and knowledge of the past into the developments and scientific advances of today. We can learn again how to care for and love the earth and all her communities of life.  There is much that Mata Sita can teach us if we invoke her. She and Sri Ram are living presences, not just historical figures, still very much engaged with the lives of those who turn to them. During the life journey of Mata Sita and Sri Ram, each assumed roles that were different but equal in importance. Neither could achieve their life’s mission without the other. Their lives exemplify a balance of the masculine and feminine qualities and energies, despite how patriarchal forces have tried to shape the Ramayana narrative to suit later social norms.  If we recapture something of life during the higher ages we can see the story with new eyes and perceive the inner dynamic that drove the outer narrative. Remembering the harmony that existed during the higher ages will help us re-calibrate our society so that it honors the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine, both of which are needed to help restore balance to our society and to the earth.

 

The Dream, the Warning and COP 24

Whales were very much on my mind.  I had just returned from a dialogue in Japan that included a discussion on the impact of pollution and climate change on the communities of life in the oceans and was preparing to go to Poland for the United Nations Climate Conference. I had also just read an article on how the US administration had just approved the use of sonic cannons to find oil and gas reserves in the Atlantic, up and down the coast, a devastating decision for marine life.  My heart ached for what these animals would now have to endure.

While on route to Poland, I had a dream, one of those dreams that is more vision than dream.  I saw myself standing by the window in my Manhattan apartment looking out over the East River when I saw a beautiful large whale quietly and speedily swim up the river until it stopped just in front of my building and stared up at me.  All I could do was whisper, “I see you.  I hear you.”

This was the dream that followed me to Poland and haunted me as I walked through the hallways of the conference wondering how to bring the voices of the ocean into a meeting that would help determine whether life in the ocean lived or died.  There was one session on oceans, which I did attend, but sadly it made no mention of the whales, the dolphins and other marine life.  The main message to come out of that panel of marine experts was that the scientific organizations studying the oceans are now cooperating, whereas they had previously been working in their own silos.  Well, a good first step, but the audience was not satisfied.  When a member of the audience pressed them on why more action was not being taken, the response was that action will only come from the bottom up, not from the top down.  The UN can do its studies, bring the best scientific minds and data to the fore, present the predictive models, and then — and then, if the governments don’t act, there is not much more these officials can do. All they can do is warn, which is what the United Nations Secretary General just did when he flew to Poland to try to encourage some progress.  If we don’t act, we are on a suicidal mission, he said.   At the same time, UN officials continue to appeal to civil society, which is why they let so many of us into these annual climate conferences.  Again and again we are encouraged to pressure our governments toward concrete and meaningful action.  In the US, for the time being, that means at the local level – our state and city governments that are part of the “we’re still in” movement.

A few months ago, I attended the Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and there much time was devoted to oceans.  The presenters shared that too little attention and funding has been applied to researching the oceans, and in fact we understand very little about them — not very comforting.  But one thing was made clear —  the oceans determine the climate.  If the oceans die, we die.  Human life depends on the health of the oceans, and the oceans now are not very healthy.

So there was the dream, and the warning, and the positives and negatives of COP 24.  Whatever is decided at the end of this climate conference, we will know that the responsibility partially rests on our shoulders.  We must speak now not only for the human species, but for all who inhabit our precious planet.

I will remember the whale who appeared and appealed to me.  I will continue to see and to listen.

Dena Merriam

 

 

Unity: The Eagle and the Condor

Message from the Kogi

by Emma Szymanski

This past March, the Global Peace Initiative of Women organized a five-day retreat in Costa Rica with 20 young ecologists and environmental activists from different regions of the United States. Mentors from various spiritual and indigenous traditions guided the program in exploring the convergence of spirituality and ecology, as well as the intersectionality that must be taken up in addressing the multifaceted, global crises beyond climate change. Participants met to discuss the shifts in consciousness and relation to the Earth through a long-eschewed spiritual lens, in the context of the environmental movement in the United States.

This was one gathering in a series of meetings (see highlights of last year’s Costa Rica gathering here) with young people around the world that GPIW has organized over the last few years. This initiative grounds its efforts and expression in the idea of Mother Earth’s essential sacredness, as well as in the cultivation of inner wisdom or self-awareness as a means of healing and restoring bonds with both the natural world.

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Participants of the “Inner Dimensions of Climate Change” retreat — opening day at the Earth Charter International headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Earth’s biodiversity, including the cultural diversity and vitality of the global human community, manifests as incomprehensibly complex systems in motion. These systems are fundamentally deserving of respect, care, and awe. Reciprocity and mutual flourishing, two elements often found among coexisting species and communities in the natural world, in a way represent the crossing of thresholds that embody any healthy living system. En route to transformation, may we first and foremost seek the paths toward harmony and shared prosperity by learning to face inward—not selfishly, but instead as liminal beings whose inner dimensions illuminate a collective source of wisdom, so often unseen and inaccessible in today’s world of distractions and artificiality.

We were honored to be joined by Pacha K’anchay, a young Kogi leader who traveled from the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Colombia to deliver his people’s message. Trained in the teachings of community elders, Pacha kindly imparted profound wisdom unto the group on the opening evening. His words, and those of Mindahi Munoz, a resident scholar at the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, are translated into both English and Spanish below. As you read, consider how you yourself might recognize the animate, dynamic essence of the natural world. Perhaps you may let that energetic force flood your individual mind, if only for a few moments, as one living, beating, breathing being among innumerable others.

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Top row, from left to right: Mindahi Bastida, Pacha K’anchay, and Geraldine Patrick.

“Eagle and Condor”

English

Pacha K’anchay:

From the lands of Central America, where the beaks of the condor and the eagle unite, we meet here, offering a tribute to the ancient and ancestral peoples who walked on this land.

Which today, as spirits, provide food and are the nature of this land. They are the songs of birds, and they still live in the sounds of our waters, and they still have a community.

And this spirit has allowed many beings to learn, to unite in knowledge, and today, there are many ways of wanting to join with nature.

We are here to make a call to the conscience and to the heart of all human beings, so that we can once again synchronize our heart with that of Mother Earth’s.

From the things that are real, from forgiving the person next to us, and from understanding the time in which we find ourselves, it is time to unify ourselves among our peoples.

It is time for nations to understand that millenary wisdom was left on Earth for humanity to uphold herself.

And we were given forms of thought so that in each territory there would be peace and balance and harmony among the beings that live there.

From the heart, we send a message to all the beings that can see this message, that from your heart you may feel the need for a transformation, to protect life, to unify with nature.

Many today have spiritual faculties, and the thought is growing; others, from the reason and with scientific faculties, can aide so that nature, our Mother Earth, continues and lives for a long time.

From our heart we have come here to give thanks for life, to unify ourselves with the essence of thought.

We are in the time of prophecies where the Sun sends his messages and the Earth manifests her changes.

We are in the time of birth pains, moving towards a time in which we reconnect with our interior.

The prophecies of our ancestors are fulfilled today. The prophecies were told so that today, we who are alive in this historic moment, may again synchronize ourselves with the Earth and with the Universe.

From the peoples of South America of the lands of the condor, from the people of the eagle.

We also lift up unity to Tibet, the Himalayas, to the great territories found all over the planet to unify ourselves in the heart of Mother Earth for life.

This is how, here today, in nature, among family and among the hearts of the people, we send to you, from our heart, all the strength to unify ourselves in this web of life.

From the heart of the lands of the eagle and the condor, Abyayala, in the center of what is now called Costa Rica, we raise this call to the unity of the peoples for life. HAYAYA

Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz:

Greetings! We greet you with our hearts from the lands of the central highlands of Mexico, here in Costa Rica.

I greet my KJUADA, Pacha K’anchay. Eagle and condor, here in these millenary lands.

The time of our voice has come, our time has come.

Nothing and no one will speak for us any more, nor will they sit to discuss what they will do with our peoples, with our territories.

The dawn is approaching, the birds are saying so. The quetzal will return to these lands and to others.

We also want to greet the distant lands: the dragon and the Phoenix, because one day we will join them, also.

We send this message because we all have something to contribute.

Human beings have created the problem, and now we are going to create the solution, together, in a process of unification where we learn ‘to be’ in this ‘collective way of being’.

In the ‘way of being’ from which we departed many times over the past seven thousand years.

The dawn is approaching, and we are in a process of transition. We are here for the new dawn.

MOXINGUINTINI KJUADA MOXINGUINTINI KJU. KJAMADI. Onward with everything, with life, for the life, and for life.

Español

Pacha K’anchay:

Desde las tierras de Centroamérica, donde se unen el pico del cóndor y del águila, nos encontramos aquí ofreciéndole un tributo a los pueblos milenarios y ancestrales que caminaron por acá.

Que hoy, como espíritus, brindan alimento y son la naturaleza de esta tierra. Que son los cantos de las aves, y que aún viven en los sonidos de nuestras aguas, y aún tienen comunidad.

Y ese espíritu ha permitido que muchos seres aprendan, que se unan en conocimiento, y hoy aparecen muchas formas de querer unirse más a la naturaleza.

Estamos aquí para hacerle un llamado a la conciencia y al corazón de todos los seres humanos, para que podamos nuevamente sincronizar nuestro corazón con el de la Madre Tierra.

Desde lo real, desde perdonar al que tenemos al lado, y desde comprender el tiempo en el que nos encontramos, es el momento de unificarnos entre pueblos.

Es el momento de que las naciones comprendan que la sabiduría milenaria se dejó en la tierra para que se sostuviera la humanidad.

Y se nos dejaron formas de pensamiento para que en cada territorio hubiera paz y equilibrio y armonía entre los seres que ahí están.

De corazón enviamos un mensaje a todos los seres que puedan observar este mensaje, de que de corazón sientan la necesidad de una transformación, de proteger la vida, de unificarnos con la naturaleza.

Muchos hoy día tienen facultades espirituales y el pensamiento va creciendo; otros desde la razón, con las facultades científicas, pueden aportar a que la naturaleza, nuestra Madre Tierra, continúe y perviva en el tiempo.

De corazón aquí hemos venido a agradecer por la vida, a unificarnos con la esencia del pensamiento.

Estamos en los tiempos de las profecías en donde el Sol envía sus mensajes y la Tierra se manifiesta con sus cambios.

Estamos en el tiempo de dolor de parto hacia un tiempo en donde estamos volviendo a conectarnos con nuestro interior.

Las profecías de nuestros ancestros hoy se cumplen. Se dijeron para que hoy nosotros, que vivimos este momento histórico, podamos sincronizarnos nuevamente con la Tierra y el Universo.

Desde los pueblos de Sudamérica de las tierras del cóndor, desde los pueblos del águila.

También elevamos la unidad hacia el Tíbet, el Himalaya, hacia los grandes territorios que se encuentran en todo el planeta para unificarnos en el corazón de la Madre Tierra por la vida.

Es así, como hoy aquí, en esta naturaleza, entre la familia, entre el corazón de los pueblos, les enviamos a ustedes, desde nuestro corazón, toda la fuerza para unificarnos en este tejido de vida.

Desde el corazón de las tierras del águila y el cóndor, el Abyayala, en todo el centro de que hoy llaman Costa Rica, elevamos este llamado hasta la unidad de los pueblos por la vida. HAYAYA

Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz:

Saludo! Les saludamos con el corazón desde las tierras del altiplano central de México aquí desde Tepantí, desde Costa Rica.

Saludo a mi KJUADA, Pacha K’anchay. Águila y cóndor, aquí en estas tierras milenarias.

Ha llegado el tiempo de nuestra voz, el tiempo nuestro.

Ya nada ni nadie hablará por nosotros ni se sentarán a discutir qué harán con nuestros pueblos, con los territorios.

Ya se acerca la alborada, los pájaros están mencionando. El quetzal volverá por estas tierras y por otras.

También queremos saludar a las tierras lejanas: al dragón y al Fénix, porque un día nos uniremos también con ellos.

Enviamos este mensaje porque todos tenemos algo que aportar.

Los seres humanos ahora hemos creado el problema y ahora vamos a crear la solución, juntos, en un proceso de unificación donde nosotros estamos aprendiendo a ‘ser’ en este ‘ser colectivo’.

En ese ‘ser’ que muchas veces se desvió desde hace siete mil años.

Ya se acerca la alborada, y estamos en un proceso de transición. Estamos por el nuevo amanecer.

MOXINGUINTINI KJUADA MOXINGUINTINI KJU. KJAMADI. Adelante con todo, con la vida, para la vida, y por la vida.