Think, for a moment, of every influential figure you know who devoted their life to calling humanity toward peace. What is the unifying reasoning they all use? Ultimately, they all allude to humanity’s interconnectedness. And the very binding of this interconnectedness is the Earth itself.
This inextricable link between our capacity to love each other and our capacity to love the earth is perennial.
War, climate crisis, political polarisation and Anthropocene-driven species loss, each is fed by the estrangement of people from people, and of people from the planet. What can return us to a relationship with life based on honouring our interdependence with each other and the Earth? Author and teacher, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee writes the answer lies in remembering “the world is not a problem to be solved; it is a living being to which we belong. The world is part of our own self and we are a part of its suffering wholeness. Until we go to the root of our image of separateness, there can be no healing. And the deepest part of our separateness from creation lies in our forgetfulness of its sacred nature, which is also our own sacred nature.”
We can nourish our and earth’s sacred nature through numerous opportunities in day-to-day life. For example, for us at St Ethelburga’s we try to ground this connection to the sacred in everything we do; we offer prayer for the Earth in our team prayer meetings. We share discussion prompts during workshops that evoke remembrance of the sacred connection between each other and the Earth. And in the simple act of routinely cleaning the centre and tending to the garden with conscious attention that is similar to the mindfulness practice.
Books such as Thich Nhat Hanh’s Art of Living, Joana Macy and Molly Brown’s Coming Back to Life, and Llewellyn Vaughan Lee’s Spiritual Ecology: 10 practices to reawaken the sacred in everyday life, are all wonderful resources sharing many life-sustaining practices. These are acts and rituals that bridge divides within and without, and tend to our bond with the earth. These practices pave pathways in our lives to a new yet timelessly essential way of being, giving way, hopefully, to a future full of regenerative possibilities.