“What insights about our human psyches appear when we return to Earth, when we remember that we are related to everything that has ever existed, when we reinstall ourselves in a world of spring-summer-fall-winter, volcanoes, storms, surf, bison, mycelium, Moon, falcons, sand dunes, galaxies, and redwood groves?
What do we discover about ourselves when we consent again to being human animals — bipedal, omnivorous mammals with distinctive capacities for self-reflexive consciousness, dexterity, imagination, and speech?
In what ways will we choose to live when we fully remember the naturalness and ecological necessity of death?
Who will we see in the mirror when we face up to the present-day realities of human-caused mass extinction, ecosystem collapse, and climate destabilization?
And what mystery journey will unfold when we answer the alluring and dangerous summons now emanating from the human soul, from the dream of the Earth, and from an intelligent, evolving, ensouled Universe?”
Animas Valley Institute
Photo: High mountain meadow
by Nancy Lankston
“More than ever we are awakening to being an integral part of earth’s ecosystem. As inhabitants of this planet we have some responsibility for the nest we live in and maintaining the nest. The same way we clean up our house, we also have to clean up our environment.
Environmental consciousness seems to be happening too slowly. Some people are motivated to keep it from happening. There are economic costs in that awakening — not in the long run, but in the short run – in ways that cause realignment of economic power. People who have that power have a lot of inertia, they want to hold onto it. A company like General Electric may not be ready for dramatic shifts unless they are forced into it because it may change their stockholder dividend.
And it’s not easy for the rest of us to break old habits and change our lives in the little ways. The big guys aren’t the bad guys, because we’re all part of the web too. But there is an increasing consciousness now about rain forests, about air, about water, and so on.
…You can’t know what the outcome will be. You can’t extrapolate from how it is now to what will be. The great unknown factor is human creative awareness and what happens when that is mobilized.”
“One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.”
Photo: Geneva Creek and Red Cone
by Nancy Lankston
It comes like a faraway whisper on the wind; so faint that you may not notice it the first few times. But then, maybe the five or sixth or tenth time, something new registers in your awareness. She’s calling to you. Mother Earth is trying to connect and communicate.
That is my experience of listening to the land; I spent weeks sitting and trying so hard, my mind positively pushing to hear Her. And hearing nothing. But then, one day when I wasn’t trying and striving, there She was, like a whisper on the wind.
Had Mother Earth been talking to me all those weeks and I simply couldn’t hear Her? Probably. We modern humans have become so attuned to loud, regular man-made sounds. But Nature isn’t loud or regular. Earth’s voice is quiet and subtle; more like a fragment of a poem than a linear, logical sentence. And it is a poem written in the breeze, the pulse of stone and the meandering flow of river water.
I suspect that our ancestors who used no clock except the sun, and who lived with Her dirt constantly beneath their feet were much more attuned to Her rhythms and voice than we are today. Living in cities and traveling in fast cars, trains and planes is not exactly conducive to hearing the subtle voice of Nature.
But Mother Earth is still there beneath us, every single day. She is living and breathing and trying to connect with us. We came from Mother Earth; She is our original mother. We are supposed to be connected to her!
Mama Earth is longing to connect with us again. She has billions of years of wisdom to share with us. We simply need to learn how to listen again.
Basic Earth Listening Practice
Close your eyes, right where you are. Breathe deeply. Feel the seat beneath you. And breathe some more.
Extend your awareness down beneath your feet and your seat. No need to puzzle or push to do this. Your animal body is wired for this, to connect with Mama Earth. Simply ask your animal body to extend its awareness down into the dirt and stones beneath you.
Extend your awareness deep; 10 feet, 50 feet, 200 feet, 1000. Drop your awareness down below the surface where humans have been mucking about. Drop deeper. Go down into the pristine soil and rock of Earth.
Listen with your entire body. What do you feel in your your toes? Your head? Your skin? Smell anything? What do you hear? What thoughts or images pop into your head? What emotions come up?
Don’t push for logical answers. Don’t push for any answer. Just ask what She wants to share with you today and then listen.
It may be completely confusing and unclear the first twenty times that you try to sit and listen to Mama Earth. It’s OK. That’s normal. It takes time to recalibrate your senses and connect.
Be patient with yourself. Building relationships takes time and commitment. Deep friendships aren’t formed overnight. Keep sitting with Her and listening. Eventually you will hear Her.
Once you begin to connect and hear Mama Earth, her wisdom may take many forms. Keep in mind that She may speak in riddles and dream fragments. You may get an immediate ah ha . Or you may not realize what was “said” until hours later. Her subtle, voice may take awhile to percolate up into your consciousness. Be patient. You’re learning a foreign language. Slowly but surely you will begin to hear Mama Earth singing to you.
This practice can be used to connect with Mama Earth’s living, breathing ground beneath your feet. You can also use it to connect with an old tree or lake or boulder. Experiment and have fun.
In this short video, Bob Randall, a Yankunytjatjara elder, explains that all beings are part of a vast family. He encourages us to care for the land and all living beings with unconditional love and responsibility.