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Painting by Carole Bressan

“Though we do not wholly believe it yet, the interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have a tangible effect on the world.” — James Baldwin


The idea that finding inner relationship with the animals and the elemental life of nature can help us to open up the deeper levels of awareness that usually remain dormant in everyday life, has become foreign in the West.

I began to realize consciously that my life, like that of so many others, was founded on the sense of separation from the rest of life, that it was full of the fear and loneliness, the loss and dislocation which that separation engenders. And so I swung between different states — between the intense joy of inner expansion and turbulent upwellings of the emotional pain which few people on this Earth will not experience.

The experience was not something that I could put easily into words or communicate to other people. It had nothing to do with conventional religious thinking, which has largely separated the sense of immanent Divine presence from the animals and the Earth. And though I had worked for several years in conservation, whatever I believed I knew about the living Earth was only a shadowy thought before this living radiance, this overwhelming presence — of sacredness.

The divisions which the egocentric mind makes between human cultures and tongues, between human awareness and the consciousness of plants and stones, animals and birds, the sun and all the other stars have become utterly meaningless.
Eden, I think, is not simply a mythical place, or a metaphor for original innocence, or an outworn and divisive religious symbol. Eden is a state of being, and we are free to return every time we know ourselves again in deep communion with the rest of life.

- Eleanor O’Hanlon

Only the unencumbered mind can see the miracle we are a part of. Our minds are unprepared for clear vision, not just unprepared but cluttered and defended against it. We have an inherited spiritual blindness. The question is, how do we remove the scales from our inner eye?

This question has taken on some urgency now in the current emergency because our blindness itself is at the root of the emergency. It’s a spiritual Gordian Knot that won’t respond to our denials and simplistic thinking. We’re going to have to see and understand more deeply. That’s a worrisome development, worrisome because of our adamant attachment to the surface of life, but it was always inevitable.

Living in Eden and not noticing that it is in fact Eden sounds stupid but that’s our situation. Our spirituality and our religions are childish. Full grown adults believe the most jejune fairy tales. These people occupy responsible positions in government and business. They are “leading” us, a fact that doesn’t confer confidence.

Our culture is a writhing Gordian Knot and nobody knows how it’s going to pass from there to the necessary enlightenment. At the moment it looks like a large number of humans will not survive this period, through no fault of their own, just because they knew someone who took the precautions too lightly. Refusing to accept protocols recommended by scientists will entail a lot of unnecessary suffering and death, but we can’t stop the process. Higher consciousness may be too difficult an achievement for a surprisingly large segment of the populace.

What comes next is impossible to know. Now is the time for all good humans to look inward and pay attention. First on our to-do list is get to know our hearts. To observe what kind of humans we are, to notice where we disrupt the order of living beings.

Putting the world right again starts in the heart of humans.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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