Thursday, December 9, 2010


Can you feel the Oneness of life in your heart and mind?  Take a deep breath and be thankful for the trees, plants, algae, and bacteria that create oxygen. Place your hand on your chest and feel the rhythm of your heart and the blood cycling throughout your body and be thankful for water that also cycles from mountains to sea.  Feel the warmth of the sun on your face and know that you are literally made of star dust. The next time you sit down for a meal, take some time to reflect on how many beings, human and non-human, needed to cooperate in order for your food to show up at your table. The process also doesn't end at our stomach but continues its cycle and, as they say, the party never ends.

A belief poisoned the Western "civilized" mind which falsely believes that humans are somehow superior to non-human beings (sounding a bit like Avatar?) and that we are free to exploit the "not human" world as we fashion.  This great lie has brought much suffering to our world.  You might say that many have lost their souls in the modern world and no longer experience sacred connection to which I refer as "Oneness", the unknowable with many names.  I challenge you to share one thing you did without the assistance of another living being.   This is impossible because ALL is ONE.  I once made my daughter a bed for her room.  The lumber I used was once part of vibrant tree living in a forest.  Humans took the tree and shaped it with machines and then used fossil fuels to transport it across roads of rock and dirt to a store near me.  Can you see the full participation of all beings?  Even the knowledge we carry in our mind is just a byproduct of generations of collectively shared beliefs handed down from countless generations.  Can you feel the truth in your heart and mind.

So how might each of us live differently if we were more present to the Oneness that life is?  The ability to look deeply into this mysterious and complex web might change how you see yourself.  When you allow yourself to absorb this truth you may discover how precious life is and feel moved to love, celebrate, and protect it.  You may look into your heart and sense that the Oneness is always there for communion.  Or perhaps, you simply sit in silence with the Oneness.  The more we embrace this truth about who we are, the more clearly we  know how to live our lives.  If we could only hear the Oneness then, just possibly, we would know how to live our lives with balance, humility, gratitude, and love. The great news is that we have a birthright to Oneness and are intimately connected to every over living being- past, present, and future.  We can experience profound joy when connected to the Oneness where giving feels more like receiving because of the amazing gifts and blessings that life bestows upon us.

I have a prayer that all of humankind can someday go forth with peace in their hearts and care deeply for Pachumama. Namaste.   

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Each of us owe our existence to 14 billion years of an unfolding universe.  Humans are just a blip on the Universal time-line. Our solar system wasn't even around for the first 10 billion years of the Universe. During this time, galaxies formed and many stars were born and died.  Our sun eventually came to be in the  Milky Way spiral galaxy that contains over 200 billion stars that rotate about a galactic center. The Milky Way is part of the Local Group which consists of 30 galaxies spanning a diameter of 10 million light years. Modern technology has allowed us to observe over 50 billion galaxies in the Universe with each galaxy containing an estimated 100 billion stars.  It is impossible for our brains to grasp such enormity but simply take a moment to breath this  into your being and realize just how minuscule Earth is when compared to the utter vastness of the Universe.

Our solar system was born from a rotating cloud of interstellar dust and gas, the remnants of a dying star that exploded its matter about the Universe.  The Earth remained a stewing, gaseous globe for 1.3 billion years before the Earth's crust hardened. The dance of evolution would need another 1.6 billions to manifest cells with nuclei, the building blocks for complex life. The emergence of plants about 425 million years ago drastically changed the atmosphere as they feasted on CO2 which eventually paved the way for dinasours who roamed the Earth for 185 million years before suddenly disappearing along with 70% of all life forms 65 million years ago.  It would be another 61.5 million years before our early ancestors first appeared in Africa. Homo Sapiens, a bipedal primate closely related to chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons, arrived on the scene a mere 200,000 years ago and we would need another 189,000 years before they began to develop agriculture and domesticate animals.

We share this history with all life on Earth which includes an estimated 62,000 species of vertebrates; 1.3 million species of  invertebrates; 320,000 species of plants; and 51,000 other species that include mushroom and lichens.  The history of the Universe is by far the greatest story ever told. Earth and all its life forms were literally created from stardust. We are born out of this mysterious and complex interdependent web of life that began so long ago. If we could trace our family tree back some 200,000 years, we would discover that all 7 billion people presently on Earth would converge to a common ancestor after 8,000 generations.  As we move much farther back in time, we would discover that we are all literally part of a great Tree of Life where we are kin to all life on Earth.

The greatest story ever told reminds us that we must remember where we came from as we move forward. This history lives within each of us and is our true place in the cosmos. We are not separate from the trees, the rivers, the insects, the mushrooms, or the mountains.  We are literally one in this amazing dance of life. Each specie fulfills an unique ecological niche.  Humans were graced with self-awareness that allows us to celebrate and honor life. Indigenous cultures knew this but the modern human has been blinded by self-absorption, arrogance, and greed.

The time has come to embrace the Great Story and share it with our children and grandchildren. Although we know much about our past, the future will always remain unknown and dependent on how we choose to live today. When we recognize the interdependent and oneness that life is, we naturally embody love, humility, and gratitude. It is when we remember our unique place in the Universe that we can awaken to what it truly means to be human. May we all find the courage, determination, and wisdom to do so.