Two Thoughts On Human Connection.
Love. God. and Eco-Activism.
THOUGHT ONE: Love & Wasted Energy
My mama was a Christian believer. She was also my best friend.
Throughout my childhood we shared a profound Love for God.
I realized fairly soon after high school that my relationship to Spirit expands into a mystic matrix far beyond the dogma of any one church.
Adventure pulled me far from home but I always imagined my mama beside me. I wanted to share every new insight and experience:
travels, stories, faces,
prayers, drugs, and tragedy...
She beckoned me to lay it all down at the foot of the cross.
Meanwhile, I was starting to remember God/dess–the essence of God in all things.
Prefer to Listen?
My mother and I: we were speaking two different languages. I thought she was simple-minded, deluded, brainwashed and judgmental. She worried I might go to hell.
Our hearts were entwined, but our voices were strained. We cried. We yelled. We threw up our hands and rolled our eyes. We spent a whole lot of energy trying to change each other's mind. A whole lot of energy...wasted.
If we were going to maintain our soul connection (which I desperately wanted) I would have to learn to listen.
...to listen and to hear.
...to look at life from her perspective; through her heart's vision of truth.
I had to make my words mindful and clear.
...to grow into humility and patience–courage, compassion, and creativity.
...to focus on our sameness rather than our disparity.
It took years to learn to harmonize our voices. But our affection was bigger than our need to be right. We stopped trying to prove our point, to change each other's mind.
Instead, we sought to bless each other with the living fruits of a Love divine
–a Love beyond all opposition.
And it was worth the struggle.
In her final days on Earth, I sat beside my mama's bed.
We talked of life, of death, of redemption, of sin, of karma, of heaven, of spiritual wisdom, of choices, of Love.
We were speaking the same language.
Love for God means love for people.
THOUGHT TWO: Green Yoga & Green Rage
...A couple weeks ago we moved a ton of books from our storage unit into my home office. They're research books from my doctoral dissertation days. After graduation, I boxed them up and put them away, not sure if I would ever look at them again. As the books slid to the back of the closet, I was happy to let them...along with the incessant stress that had surrounded them during my academic hustle.
Now, two years have gone by
–two years reconnecting with my family, my friends, my community...my own self.
These days I find that I am empowered to re-engage with my work on the sacred feminine.
Opening those boxes was a bit of a homecoming for my psyche. I tore through each one like a Christmas surprise, elated by every new discovery...and memory. In one box, I found a stack of works on ecology and environmental activism.
I picked up the first title: Green Yoga by Georg and Brenda Feuerstein. It seemed like the perfect read, just in time to accompany this week's 50th Earth Day Celebration.
Georg Feuerstein has been contributing comprehensive research and insight as a yoga scholar since 1971. His written work constituted the bulk of my early yoga studies. Green Yoga, written in 2007, was one of the last works he produced before he died. It's like a final word on the potential for human consciousness–as if awakened eco-awareness is the inevitable conclusion to a life committed to the teaching and praxis of yoga.
This book stacks all the statistics side by side; everything that bums you out about the human impact on the planet. Plastic barges in the ocean, toxic rivers, deforestation–it is all there, laid out as a singular, unavoidable reality. The Feuersteins dare their fellow yogis to come out from hiding in denial...to take responsibility for the Earth.
And it works.
Green Yoga has motivated my partner and I to reexamine our consumption, reduce our impact, and commit to eco-conscious action.
But not everyone would like this book.
There are members of our universe, even members of my own family, who would certainly scoff at this information. They might feel attacked and defensive. They might feel ashamed, confused, and/or annoyed. They might get irritated...angry...throw up their hands and roll their eyes. Trying to connect with those people who radically oppose your world-view is an incredibly difficult task. You try to change their minds and they resist until you are both the enemy. Your rage turns you into the very monster you say you oppose. It feels like a social and psycho-spiritual chasm much too wide to bridge. It just doesn't seem worth the effort.
But it is.
It's worth the effort. Because, while we live in an "us versus them" kind of world, we must face the truth: we are ultimately one people. We share the oceans, the rivers, the trees, the air. We are all in this together.
Green Rage is real. It is simply misplaced passion. Your passion for the environment misses the mark when you forget your love for the people. It doesn't work to lump individuals into groups, calling them all "simple-minded, deluded, brainwashed, and judgmental." Casting shadows won't work. Spreading shame in the footnotes of studies and statistics–that doesn't work. Guilt generally backfires.
A motivation of lack, and hatred, and fear will not sustain the planet.
Those tactics haven't worked so far.
We must be inspired by Love–respect for the Earth that we live on, gratitude for her resources, appreciation for her beauty. Across the globe, and across the street–we are speaking different languages but we are saying the same things. We all want freedom. Abundance. Life. We want water to drink. Clean air to breath. We all want the blessings–the living fruits of a Love divine–a Love beyond all opposition.
For this to work, we must tap into our courage, our compassion, our mutual respect.
We must clarify our words and harmonize our voices.
And we must listen.
Ultimately we are speaking the same language.
Love for the planet means love for the people.
About The Author
R.R. Shakti, PhD
Founding teacher of Inner Power Yoga®, Shakti is a Contemplative Mythologist, ritual facilitator, and writer who presents a Tantrik approach to personal empowerment and social action. Through contemplative story-telling and mind/body practices, she offers a vision of deep peace and radical freedom.
PSYCHE + SOUL