Thursday, April 22, 2010

We Are The Rocks Dancing...

This is a line from Thinking Like a Mountain, Towards a Council of All Beings, written by John Seed, Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming, and the "father" of the Deep Ecology Movement, Arne Naess. It is a book about ritual and prayer and healing, not only for an ailing planet but for the ailing soul, because those of us who care deeply about our planet's environmental well-being and mourn the loss of wild habitat and the extinction of species due to human folly and ignorance often endure despair and a loss of hope.

It is also a call to move beyond just thinking about nature and to start feeling what it must be like to be another species. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it," said the Harper Lee character, Atticus Finch.

Well, this takes it a step further, shall we say. We are asked to put ourselves into the skin of "the others" with whom we share this planet; for example, the Swift Fox, the Bowhead Whale, the Peary Caribou, the Mountain Plover, the Lake Erie Water Snake and the Leatherback Turtle, as well as howler monkeys, hummingbirds, bottle-nosed dolphins, curlews and condors, yes, even the lichen, the weeds, the leaves and the rocks.

"In Geneva, the international tally of endangered species, kept up to date in loose leaf volumes, is becoming too heavy to lift. Where do we now record the passing of life? What funerals or farewells are appropriate?"

If we can inhabit their world in our imagination for only a few moments, perhaps we can feel reconnected to something bigger—and grander—than ourselves. We need to leave our human egos at the proverbial door.

"I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots. And am stuccoed with quadrupeds and birds all over" wrote Whitman.

The premise of Deep Ecology is that we are not isolated from nature but very much a part of it. In fact, we are Nature. One and indivisible from it. We're just another mammal here on Planet Earth.

Modern man has suffered a serious disconnect from this fact, this reality. The very real effect of this disconnect is the environmental crisis in which we find ourselves. We have big brains and wield the power, and so we have dominated the earth, but we have behaved with such careless disregard and ignorance that now even we are in peril. The Native way has been the wisest, perhaps, as their spirituality and cosmology have remained deeply respectful and connected to the earth.

Deep Ecology is not just about recycling, reusing and reducing, although these are important activities that deep ecologists engage in. Deep Ecology is about changing one's entire attitude and way of perceiving the world. It is about re-connecting with the world and realizing our role in the great scheme of things. It's about recognizing that we are not separate beings, divorced from nature.

Now, humankind is just as threatened by imminent extinction as the other species. We are just one more species that will not make it if we fail to be wise, right now, at this point in time. So given that we have this consciousness, which is surely itself a product of nature, having emerged and evolved according to the same laws as everything else, we must now use it to make a lasting change, a change that will save our planet, ourselves.

Only we can do this. Yes, we must use our intellects to do the practical work that needs to be done. And there is much work to be done. But today, on Earth Day, feel the connectedness in your bones...

Don't just say, "I am protecting the rainforest."

Be the rainforest.

Awaken your mind to a new way of being in the world.

Remember this: that every atom in your body existed before organic life emerged 4000 million years ago. We share this in common with "them," the other living species of this planet. We are atom, we are mineral, we are water, we are the elements … we are the rocks dancing.

To learn more about Deep Ecology today, please follow the link at the bottom of the blog.

Quoted text above is from Thinking Like A Mountain.

Revel in the joy of being alive today and here on Planet Earth.

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