by Emanuel Kuntzelman
In this era of new beginnings, taking into consideration the inevitable shift from the material to the spiritual, we must also remember that our relationship with the Earth should change from viewing it as simply a material resource to a spiritual source. As a point of respect and even reverence, people might say that it’s hard to love a rock, but the Earth is a whole lot more than the third rock from the sun. Understanding the Earth as “Gaia” is helpful in this respect, because the Earth really is a living “being.”
James Lovelock postulated the original Gaia hypothesis which showed how many of the earth’s physical characteristics can adjust themselves to changing conditions, much like our body will respond to severe alterations in the environment. In this sense, the earth itself can be seen as a living organism. It is like our own bodies, which need to have all the organs and vital systems healthy in order to survive. Unfortunately, we are weakening the systems that depend on a delicate balance within Nature, that if disrupted, have the potential to collapse entire ecosystems.
As individuals, we understand this important balance of holistic health within our own bodies. Just as we should care about ourselves, we must treat the Earth with this same compassion. After all, the Earth is quite literally our mother in the sense that it provided the evolutionary crucible out of which Homo sapiens arose. And just as we show love and respect for our biological mothers, we should do the same with the Earth, as she is the mother of all humanity in the historical perspective of evolution. There is no better place to find a sense of spirit and to pay our respects to it, than in Nature itself.
In the book, Measuring the Immeasurable, which describes scientific studies that discern effects in the field of consciousness, many of the contributing writers talk about the spirit in Nature and how Nature is actually comprised of spirit. It’s the link between the spiritual essence and our consciousness. For example, hospital patients in a room with a view of nature heal much more quickly than patients who do not have a view. When we see the subtle, yet enduring and powerful healing effects of nature, we begin to acquire an emotional connection that takes us to a new level in our appreciation of the Earth. This emergent caring for the planet goes far beyond not littering, or polluting; it becomes part of our practice to grow and nurture this spirit. This new understanding of Earth as a living organism allows us to then include Nature into our spiritual practice, and in fact, it is an essential element in building our personal practice toward a higher consciousness.
When I say include Nature in your spiritual practice, that doesn’t mean taking a casual stroll in the park, but to really consciously connect during that stroll in the park. Create a communication link with the source of all Nature and make a concerted effort to express gratitude towards it. In so doing we reconnect with our origins, with the true Spiritual Source of all Being, and thereby experience the Oneness in its purest essence.