Saturday, July 5, 2014

Nature is not to be dominated because it is part of us and us part of her.

Dellarobia, standing on that mountain top, seeing the Monarch butterflies has a mystical experience of sorts. Kingsolver writes in her novel Flight Behavior:

"She (Dellarobia) is on her own here, staring at the glowing trees. Fascination curled itself around her fright, This is no forest fire. She was pressed by the quiet elation of escape and knowing better and seeing straight through to the back of herself, in solitude. She couldn't remember when she'd had such room for being. This was not just some fake thing in her life's cheap chain of events, leading up to this day of sneaking around in someone's thrown-away boots. Here that ended. Unearthly beauty had appeared to her, a vision of glory to stop her in the road. For her alone these orange boughs lifted, these long shadows became a brightness rising. It looked like the inside of joy, if a person could see that. A valley of lights, an ethereal wind. It had to mean something." p.15-16

Ikkyu, the Japaneese Zen Buddhist monk of the 15th century wrote "Every day, priests minutely examine the Law and endlessly chant complicated sutras. Before doing that, though, they should learn how to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain, the snow and moon."

Dellabrobia in pursuit of carnal love or more likely lust comes face to face the a "love letter" from Mother Nature. Such a love letter engenders a sense of awe, mystery, beauty.

Thomas Berry writes:

"When we first arrived as settlers, we saw ourselves as the most religious of peoples, as the most free in our political traditions, the most learned in our universities, the most competent on our technologies, and the most prepared to exploit every economic advantage. We saw ourselves as a divine blessing for this continent. In reality, we were a predator people on an innocent continent." p.17, "The World Of Wonder" in Spiritual Ecology.

We have been taught in our Judeo-Christian tradition that human beings are here to dominate the earth and so we have further developed a dichotomy of us and nature. Nature often is depicted as our enemy with forces to be tamed. Slowly we are realizing that we are not separate from nature but part of nature. There is no battle here, but a matter of cooperation and collaboration.

Chief Oren Lyons, the faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation writes:
"So I would say that in the ideas of renewing yourself and the ideas of finding peace in our community, you should tell your leaders and you should tell everybody that there can never be world peace as long as you make war against Mother Earth. To make war against Mother Earth is to destroy and to corrupt, to kill, to poison. When we do that, we will not have peace. The first peace comes with your mother, Mother Earth." p.11, "Listening to Natural Law" in Spiritual Ecology.

Dellabrobia is making peace with herself and her environment when she has a shift in perception, what in A Course of Miracles, is called a miracle.

Miracle principle 29 is "Miracles praise God through you. They praise Him by honoring His creations, affirming their perfection. They heal because they deny body-identification and affirm spirit-identification."

Miracle principle 30 is "By recognizing spirit, miracles adjust the levels of perception and show them in proper alignment. This places spirit at the center, where it can communicate directly."

Here again is how Kingsolver describes Dellarobia's experience: "She was pressed by the quiet elation of escape and knowing better and seeing straight through to the back of herself, in solitude. She couldn't remember when she'd had such room for being."

Have you every had such a room for being?

My Kind Of Church Music - What  A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong


  1. The idea that we homo sapiens are separate from nature and not a part of her has given us the survival advantage over other species, but it seems that now we have gotten too big for our britches and are outsmarting ourselves. Would that we would have the self discipline to tame our greed and avarice and be respectful of that from which all blessings flow.

  2. Dave, I too am a Kingsolver fan. She is a mystic of sorts although I doubt she would think of herself that way. However, her description of Dellarobia's experience is wonderful and makes me think that a lot more people have mystical experiences than might be thought but we don't have a vocabulary to name these experiences and so we keep them to ourselves for fear that people will think we are crazy.

    These experiences are part of our interior spiritual life that most of us don't speak of either because we don't have the words or we fear being misunderstood and ridiculed. If we talked more freely about our awe and wonder at the natural world we would add more joy to our lives, and perhaps have an antidote to our rampant materialism. More stuff from Walmart isn't going to necessarily make you happy, but marveling at a towering Oak tree or a beautiful rose bush or the majesty and power of thunder storm, can change your experience of yourself and your part in creation.

    Seeing all those butterflies does something special for Dellarobia. She feels graced and awed. Would that we all could have a similar experience and we can if we are open to it and looking for it.