Restoring a Sense of Balance

Jon Noll

    Put very simply, to me “Earth Spirituality” means viewing the world that we live in/on as sacred and recognizing that its own natural cycles and phenomena contain messages, knowledge and insight. Rather than treating this beautiful planet (that hurtles through the depths of space at speeds barely conceivable to human thought) as a one-stop shop full of natural resources solely designed for our consumption, it is to be revered instead for its longevity and the life it has provided to us. Insisting on any one label to how that Earth Spirituality is worshiped is akin to name brand versus generic medicines; they all contain the same ingredients and have the same effects. What they all have in common is belief and faith in the power and divinity of nature.

     I have stood in awe as I bore witness to the power of water flowing down a flooding river as the chunks of ice cut through a steel bridge like butter. I watched the footage of another bridge oscillating to a gentle breeze and then collapsing with amazement. I have long been astounded that human beings would choose to live on top of a fault line or in the shadow of a volcano.

    The Earth is seething with power and energy beneath its surface, the water that covers some 75% of its surface contains life-forms that are still being discovered, and the atmosphere that surrounds us is in a constant state of change and fl ux. I have come to learn a deep respect for the world around me. And my belief that there is a sentience permeating the fabric of “reality” as we experience it, is the foundation of my spirituality.

If we view the world we inhabit as sacred and divine rather than as a commodity for us to barter and trade as we see fit, we assign an even greater value and worth to the Earth than that which can be denominated with currency. Instead of drilling holes into the floor of the ocean, imploding mountain tops or pillaging an area of natural beauty in the hope of finding some material to be used for our comfort and/or financial gain, we should be attempting to live in harmony with the areas we have populated. Make no mistake, this is no easy task!

     To live in harmony with a tract of land, we must also not overburden it, lest we continue to propagate the myth of neverending economic growth. We have developed and acquired many “things” as a species and have learned how to live in remote regions that were never intended for a species as delicate as ours. Yet, if we measure our wealth by how many “things” we have, how much “wealth” do we truly have? We will have become a people who defi ne ourselves by our excess.

     By reducing the amount of “things” we own and by further reducing your participation in the myth of exponential, economic growth, we can begin to restore a sense of balance between what is necessary and what is convenient. Is this the solution to the challenges the developed nations are facing currently? Perhaps not. However, even the smallest impact individually or locally may set an example for other like-minded individuals and provide them the opportunity to weather the coming global storm. ❧