For many the term spirituality conjures up thoughts of a connection that can be drawn, however tenuously, with an afterlife that promises a better more perfect place, where only the best aspects of life may be experienced. It may call to mind images of shrines and candle lit altars, of chalices and celebrants in ritual; all serving a higher purpose that we might somehow aspire to reach, separate from the here and now which some consider an unpleasantness to be endured.
There was a time when I sought such higher truths, and like many, I looked in the forms where society said truth would be found. The promise of a Secret knowledge hidden such that only the chosen could interpret its truth is one common theme along many pathways. And it is natural to want to be chosen, to bethe one. The thrill of rediscovering some lost treasure would be an experience so rarefied that it would surely be a confirmation of a unique insight bestowed upon the individual. Such is the arrogance of ego.
The greatest realization that has struck me is also the simplest. The Earth is a dynamic system and we are a part of that system. If one can step outside of the role that human society has prescribed, and simply observe the stream of life in its many forms, it is easy to recognize that we are a part of the Earth, not separate from it. The relationship between humankind and the Earth has been largely an abusive one. We can continue to think of ourselves as individuals bent on getting what we can for ourselves or we can see ourselves as stewards, caretakers, who are only here for a brief time until the next steward comes along.
As stewards we live as a part of life’s cycle and Earth’s seasons. We tend to the land and to those individuals around us so that we can find fulfillment and ensure that the duties of the caretakers continues. So it is the here and now that is important and priceless, as it is the crucible from which our descendants will be poured. How we live through this time that is given to each of us and the wisdom we can glean from our experiences becomes the shared knowledge given to those we hope would carry on our traditions and stories.
I have realized a connection with the Earth that cannot be found in any book and cannot be revealed to me by others. I have found contentment in the realization that this meat-suit I wear will be recycled back into the Earth from whence it came. I have found happiness in celebrating the seasons as they flow through the course of the year and as I grow older with their passing. I celebrate the Earth as I watch with anticipation the approach of Spring, the warming soil, the first buds. I rejoice as my garden grows and I work to help it. They are lives short-lived, and entrusted to my care. I am grateful at the end of the harvest and tend the soil for the next seasons promise. I am respectful and reflective in my thanks for the life I have from the Earth.