Touch The Earth


“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 

― Albert Einstein

How is it that humanity has fallen so far from evolving toward the compassionate, enlightened ideal described here by Albert Einstein? Some could say that we’ve fallen victim to the prolific propaganda of commercial media - the daily barrage of advertising and programming specifically designed to generate the drive towards over-consuming non-sustainable lifestyles and it’s destructive consequences. Or perhaps we could site the ever -increasing need to labour longer for less and the lack of time and energy left for introspection. Certainly these are all valid factors but they are still only symptoms of a greater illness and that is our inability to see others and ourselves in a spiritual perspective. We cannot have a complete comprehension of anything when we are only presented with a partial view. Today’s world is engineered to create efficient, obedient workers necessary to maintain the wealth of an increasingly oppressive corporate oligarchy whose sole motivation is profit and greed. From the early stages of our educational systems to the content of television programming and now to computer gaming, everything we are exposed to draws us further away from an understanding of an intrinsic and vital aspect of our very being – that of an eternal spiritual entity enjoying a temporary physical existence. This devolution has been happening ever since our ancestors began the gradual move away from direct dependence upon the earth’s bounty in tight-knit agrarian societies who bartered with other communities and more into dependence upon a system of the exchange of capital. Increasingly man began to view the surrounding natural world as a commodity to be exploited for personal profit rather than as being a complex system of symbiotic inter-dependence. When our ancestors viewed the earth as a sacred mother who gave them life, they also saw that all beings were equally dependent - bound up within the web of life – fellow brethren within the perpetual cycle of existence and as such they accorded the necessary reverence and respect. But with the collapse of such a lifestyle this attitude became less and less to where we now sit upon the brink of global climatic catastrophe, perpetual wars, economic disparity, poverty and suffering.

Einstein also said that to continue to do the same thing while expecting a different result was insanity. Now we seem content to apathetically sit back and hope that the very people who engineered the conditions that created this dysfunctional system will somehow be motivated to correct the result of their avaricious pursuits. This is akin to believing that slaughterhouses work in the best interests of the cattle. If we are to reverse environmental and societal degradation we have to first adopt a dramatically different view from the conventional. We need a paradigm shift of consciousness back toward the reverential perspective our ancestors held toward our precious earth – that of the ‘Sacred Mother.’

To do this we first must acknowledge that sacred component within ourselves. In India when two people meet they greet one another with the word ‘Namaste’. While it has been interpreted here in the west as both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’, it holds a much, much deeper meaning. One short literal translation could mean ‘The spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you,” serving as a reminder that the true identity of an individual lies beyond the physical façade we present to one another or that we ourselves see everyday in our mirrors. Likewise, ‘spirit’ in the west has come to be associated with a negative and ghostly connotation thanks in part to the media programming mentioned earlier. But when we realize that we are not just the being of physical sensation – the creature of emotional extremes of joy and suffering, love and loss, work and leisure, we can begin to discover a great unfolding of enlightened consciousness. We see that spirit exists within us, guiding us and is the nucleus of spiritual energy that is, in fact, our true identity. It has been so since before time, in myriad forms. With this realization one can then more easily see that all beings shelter a similar energy within their corporeal forms and that these temporary existences are but an illusory flash in cosmic time, a brief expression of existence before moving on to other incarnations. 

The Lakota say ‘Mitakuye Oyasin’ which translates roughly as “we are all related.” This reveals the ancient reverential perspective that indigenous peoples held toward all things and many people still do today. Spirit resided within all creatures and also within every blade of grass, every bit of earth and every body of water, in fire, in the air, in the heavenly bodies and in the directions. This is the view of Animism, often described as ‘nature worship.’ While this is true to some extent, Animism can best be described as ‘seeing no separation between the physical world and the spiritual world.’ What a beautiful enlightened view to have! Imagine how differently we’d treat other beings and the planet if we could only adopt such a perspective. Herein lies the solution to contemporary man’s dilemma.

We can start to reawaken this primordial intrinsic awareness within us and then learn to expand our compassion outwards to encompass all of creation. While Animism affords us the perspective necessary, the methods of its spiritual expression can be found within the nature-based traditions such as Wicca and Shamanism or Tengerism. These ancient paths allow us to tap into the spiritual forces that surround us at every moment, harnessing them for the betterment of all beings, and what better use of such practice than the strengthening of our connectivity to the spirit world and the multitude with whom we share it. 

This is not some esoteric endeavor requiring some secretive rite of passage or ceremonial induction, for you are already there – spiritual beings waiting to awaken to your true enlightened nature. There are numerous methodologies and cultural variations of these traditions. Somewhere there is a method, a path that will call to you once you allow yourself to open to the limitless possibilities of the spirit world. Explore some of the numerous techniques for awakening your inner Shaman. Take yourself out into nature; seek out a secluded, quiet place. Let it call to you and invite you. Offer your respects and a small offering of your choosing (usually some sage, tobacco, cedar or some organic gift you have created) and be very reverential and honest and sit upon the earth and allow yourself to be open to what the Sacred Mother has to teach you. Be patient and persevere. Seek out others on the path and share your insights and questions and, when ready, your wisdom. Together we can generate the positive energy needed at this critical juncture in our human evolution to reverse the negativity of the past and awaken the spiritual consciousness that will usher in a more enlightened age – for all our relations.