Sunday Messages

This Week’s Message

The Natural Way

Many ancient people believed that Mother Earth was a living being. She provided everything they needed: food, clothing, shelter, beauty. The people lived in harmony with nature, taking only what they needed and being grateful. Humans were a part of this vast sustaining and loving ecosystem. They did not own Mother Earth; they were a part of her. And the world was believed to be feminine. Then a new idea appeared that men were sovereigns over the earth. Humans began hoarding the treasures of the earth, locking up the food, putting guards around the land, jealously withholding the resources from each other, and turning away from sustainability.

Mother Earth was no longer viewed as a living being, but as a vast treasure house where the strongest and most powerful could take whatever they wanted, whether they needed it or not, and deplete the very things which give us life. This is still today’s world; the world that we live in. In the past years, oil is the prize we fight about. Who is the strongest? Who will hold all the oil in the world? It is a foolish prize to say the least, when it will soon be depleted and there are few plans for sustainability, although some people are raising the alarm, and some are listening. People are also fighting over parcels of land. Who owns and has the right to live in this valley, on this mountain? And if that isn’t enough, we fight about intangibles such as a person’s beliefs. You can’t live on this piece of land if you don’t believe the same as I do. We have conquered Mother Earth into submission and now we want to conquer each other’s thoughts and actions. And there is a danger that we will take these ideas out to the stars.

In the 1960s Dr. James Lovelock, a NASA scientist remembered that Mother Earth is a living being. He announced his theory that the earth is a complex entity involving multiple systems and self-regulates conditions to support life. He called this new concept of earth – Gaia, the living earth. This “new” idea was adopted by some and ridiculed by others as a “neo-Pagan New Age religion.” After 30 years of ridicule, Dr. Lovelock finally stated that his theory did not “intend to assume that the earth’s self-regulation is purposeful or involves foresight or planning by the biota.” In other words, Mother Earth did not have consciousness after all, but operated as a lower life form through instinct. I believe his first theory was closer to the Truth. Gaia is a planetary consciousness. Our extremely limited consciousness, when we are in human form, cannot yet see this reality, but we can sense it with our inner knowing.

This inner knowing is the natural way, the foundation of wisdom. We can access this wisdom when we learn to listen to our inner spiritual selves. Remember that our connection to God is not through our minds, but through our hearts. The connection goes mind to heart to spirit. We could say that the natural way of living is heart and soul living.

Mother Earth, Gaia, is alive and conscious. Take that in for a moment. Mother Earth, Gaia, is alive and conscious. How does that change the way you live on Mother Earth? It affects everything you do, say, and think. People today who are more conscious of what is happening to Gaia may not realize that sustainability and preservation are part of the natural way, the way of our ancestors.

For example, it is not natural to take all the fruits from the trees or plants, destroying the seeds of the next generations. It is not natural to hunt a species to extinction. We need each and every part of the diversity of life on our planet. And we need to take care of Mother Earth by taking care of the part of Mother Earth we live on. The natural way is the spirit-filled way of living, honoring each and every part of Creation and allowing each to grow and prosper. For what happens to you happens to me. What happens to Mother Earth happens to all of us. We are all part of the One Life, the Natural Life.

Zen Buddhists have a practice of mindfulness that helps us live the natural way. It is called – Zazen. One way to describe Zazen is “stop, look, listen, and feel.” Adam Kahn says that practicing Zazen is like the feeling of our solar plexus, our emotional heart center, opening up like a camera lens. When we are worrying, anxious, fretting, fidgeting about something, our solar plexus lens closes down. When we practice mindfulness, our heart center opens up. This is a great analogy of how this works. When our heart center is open, we can hear the Voice of Spirit, feel the directing spiritual force, and know what to do or say. We live the Natural Way.

One of my favorite modern philosophers, Alan Watts wrote about mindfulness in Tao: The Watercourse Way.

“You are asked — temporarily, of course — to lay aside all your philosophical, religious, and political opinions, and to become almost like an infant, knowing nothing. Nothing, that is, except what you actually hear, see, feel, and smell. Take it that you are not going anywhere but here, and that there never was, is, or will be, any other time than now. Simply be aware of what actually is, without giving it names and without judging it, for you are now feeling out reality itself instead of ideas and opinions about it.”

And this is the same thing that Eckhart Tolle points out to pay attention to the present moment and to be mindful.

When we are mindful, we move back into the Natural Way of living. We realize that our bodies are sending us messages about our senses in ways we may not have ever paid attention to before; our thoughts (the voices in our heads) may not be accurate or helpful and are really just translations of the greater Truth; and that our emotions are perhaps not appropriate to the situation. In mindfulness, we notice these, stop judging them as right or wrong, loosen our attachments to them all, release them and, remembering who we really are - realize happiness. We strengthen our connection to the Peace and Presence of God.

The Tree of Life is a wonderful picture of how we grow on Gaia. Our roots are firmly anchored into the soil, our trunks grow strong in the middle, and our branches reach for the heavens. The tree is used in many cultures to illustrate our existence. We honor the trees for their wisdom and their caring.

This is an example of how the Tree of Life is used. This is a Tree of Contemplative Practices from The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. This picture is a great illustration of how we can use mindfulness in different ways to heal Gaia, our Mother the Earth, and walk the Natural Way. For whenever we think, speak, act and feel in mindfulness, we are sending out healing energy. Whenever we are in our Center of Peace, we are also sending that peace out into the world to touch other people and the Earth herself. We are strengthening our connection with Mother Earth and with the Creator. The stronger the connection, the faster the healing.

Coming from a practice of mindfulness, we can make new decisions based on the real Truth, and bring our vision for Gaia, our living Mother Earth, into alignment with harmony and balance. So, remember, to practice Zazen and stay in your Center of Peace: take three deep breaths, step aside, stop, look, listen and feel with no attachments and no judgments. Be in the nothingness of the present moment and release what you know is not true about you and the world. Practice mindfulness as much as you can for yourself and for Gaia. Namaste.

Let us pray. Divine Creator of the Universe, we give thanks that we can practice mindfulness staying in the present moment and radiating peace to our Mother Earth to help her and ourselves return to harmony and balance, which is our divine state of being. Thank you for helping us to be a part of the healing of Gaia. Amen. And it is so. Pau.