Friday, June 25, 2010

Return to Mother Earth
A Midsummer’s Day Dream

On this Midsummer’s Day (June 24, 2010), one of the great celebratory holidays in Earth’s cyclical, life-sustaining relationship with the Sun, I feel the absolute need to set priorities in my own mind, leaving behind all lesser attachment to my opinions in favor of one overriding conviction of necessity.

Somehow, some way, I’ve come to understand—no matter how bad the news assaulting me each day—the time has come to focus my unwavering attention on the end of the hemorrhaging in Mother Earth’s punctured womb and the beginning of a convalescence leading to her recovery as a healthy, world-wide, life-sustaining planet again for all sentient beings.

This came to me as a sort of Midsummer’s revelation in the early morning as I walked over to the beach to join Jala, my partner, and Athena, our recently adopted Boxer dog, for a frolic in the surf of the Chesapeake Bay here in Norfolk, VA. They’d gone ahead of me, as I’d overslept a little, and I wanted to catch up before I missed all the fun.

Over the previous few days—from bleak news reports and despairing e-mails circulated by colleagues and friends—I’d been confronted with horrific scenarios of the collapse of Earth’s ecosystems, with little to no hope left for the survival of a planet capable of supporting life, human or otherwise. And not just because of the oil volcano, as some are calling it, in the Gulf of Mexico. Other ongoing environmental catastrophes, little reported up to now because they’re occurring where a direct impact on Americans and our military-industrial allies is slight—in places like Nigeria, Ecuador, and Java—are now making their way onto alternative news sites on the internet.

Of course, by any measure the Gulf oil spout is the most alarming of a building crescendo of catastrophes, not all of them natural. The 9-11 attack could head the list. Certainly the economic collapse and succeeding “Great Recession” can be counted among them, followed by the collapse and dubious rescue of the Greek economy as Europe reels in response, and dare we leave out the perpetual and misadventurous “War on Terror”—as if terror can ever be defeated by war—as yet another disaster, bringing humanity’s viability as a mature planetary steward into evermore serious question?

It’s easy to imagine that, indeed, we are living in the long-prophesied End Times, coming, as T.S. Eliot speculated, not with a bang but a whimper, as an unstoppable geyser of oil now leads the inexorable creep toward organic standstill, threatening to gradually turn the seas from the Caribbean to the North Atlantic into a toxic brew of lifeless sludge while oil falls as rain to poison the soil over the entire eastern half of North America. Meanwhile, the masters of war (who require ever-more oil to pursue their “mission”) assure us that they will not quit, as if the oil gushing into the sea in the Gulf is not an ultimate problem.

It’s a scenario envisioned and executed by madmen.

Yet in the background of this doomsday cacophony there is another message trying to get through, a message coming from the indigenous consciousness of the planet and preserved in the wisdom traditions of the Earth’s tribal elders, shamans, and medicine women. This is the message I tuned into in my Midsummer’s revelation as I walked to the beach on an uncommonly beautiful, though quite hot, southern Virginia seashore morning, with the scents of honey suckle and mimosa perfuming the air while robins and cardinals, doves and mocking birds twittered and cooed overhead in a continuous and harmonious, surround-sound concerto. It was hard to believe at that moment that I lived anywhere outside of Paradise.

What if, it occurred to me, the compounding of disaster upon disaster is a dramatic message from our divine Mother Earth to get our attention? What if it is actually the Earth’s conscious purpose to create so great a disturbance that all of us—or at least enough of us—will wake up, drop our petty quarrels and egocentric ambitions, and agree among ourselves, if only silently, that the most important priority for each of us personally is to live in harmony with the Earth and our fellow creatures, not only humans but all the species who share our dependence upon the life force which sustains this planet?

Up to now, as chemical toxins pour into our physical atmosphere, our psychic atmosphere has been similarly poisoned in a relentless outpouring of vicious, finger-pointing blame. But isn’t all our bickering and blaming totally counter-productive?

What if the geyser in the Gulf will only stop when enough of us quit blaming each other for that and other accidents and come together in agreement that the crisis must end and a new era of cooperation for the good of all must begin?

Intent is everything. Once intent is established, details fall into place. An uncontrollable mass event like the Gulf oil bleed-out offers us the opportunity to wake up to our desperate need to make fundamental changes in our world order, our understanding of civilization itself. All creatures in an expanding radius of untold hundreds—thousands—of miles will suffer and die unless the spouting pipe is plugged.

This indigenous view—that in a universal rallying movement to heal and preserve our planet, the body of our Divine Mother, we intercept our own divisive and self-destructive trajectory as well—receives little attention in the bloated capitals of government and finance. Yet isn’t it obvious that unless we all slough off our old-world notions of individual success, of winners and losers, of social Darwinism, exceptional races and nations, preferred religions, and competitive, unenlightened self-interest, we cannot avoid an impending mass die-off of life on Earth as we’ve known it?

So it seems to me, on Midsummer’s Day, one of only two of Earth’s highest holy days.

We need to make a shift of consciousness. It’s not just a hippy pipe dream any more. It’s a matter of survival. And if we can make that shift, I predict, the oil will stop gushing. If Mother Nature doesn’t stop it, someone of us will come up with just the right idea. The sheer intensity of our combined desire guarantees it!

But if we don’t make the shift now—factoring the whole Earth, not just ourselves and our personal desires into our intentions and motivations—the disasters will keep coming, and perhaps the doomsday scenarios of our nightmares, our horror movies, and, indeed, our peculiarly sado-masochistic scriptures will finally be fulfilled.

We can do it—make this evolutionary leap into a truly civilized way of life. We have to. There are just too many of us living here now to support a civilization of competing interests, especially when those interests do not take account of the need of our Great Mother to live and breathe in her own grand, cyclical rhythms, designed to provide for us quite well if we only allow it. We have the opportunity now to wake up from our dream of self-aggrandizement, as we witness in the Gulf the terrible consequences of our greed and our ignorance. Fewer of us than ever can avoid realizing how utterly dependent we are on the Great Mother’s Life Force and how arrogant we’ve been to exploit it for our own enrichment.

Stopping the flood of oil into the Gulf of Mexico is the most important thing in our lives right now—more important than shopping, more important than career, more important than the World Cup, more important than elections and politics. If we can manage that mental agreement, exercise that focus, this seeming disaster could become the turning point toward a new understanding of what a viable planetary civilization might be like.


At 1:32 PM , Blogger kate loving shenk said...

Yes, the most important thing.

At 3:04 PM , Anonymous Tom Ellis said...

Beautifully said, Delaney! I join you enthusiastically in setting that intention.

You are truly a Gaian bodhisattva--and this is the highest compliment I have in my repertoire, which I normally reserve for generally acknowledged great souls like the Dalai Lama, Wangari Maathai, and Thich Nhat Hanh)

At 3:08 PM , Blogger Delaney said...

Thank you, Tom, but I'm far more inclined to sit at their feet than stand with them.

At 10:58 AM , Blogger pinkorangeflower said...

Thank you for putting your thoughts together and sharing them with us. They came at a particularly helpful time for me as I have just made a series of decisions which align with my values and am enduring the discouraging comments of some of my most trusted advisors as they ask me to abandon my dream of community: learn to be more selfish; to hit back; to fight for my share. I was feeling bewilderingly alone and, now, I don't.

At 6:19 PM , Anonymous Richard Marten said...

At 3:12 PM , Blogger Delaney said...

Hey, Richard, you have to expand the comment page to see the entire URL you posted.


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