Earth Mysticism for the 21st Century

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We are released. We ended our time together on the third night by offering blessings and commissions to each other, with word, with touch, with energy. We sat across from each other, partnered with each member of the group in turn to experience what it is to give this gift and what it is to receive. The sun shone through the yellow glass, pouring over our gathered worship. Spirit covered us, allowing us to be both fragile and strong. We will return from here to the tribes from which we came, those families and spiritual homes that make up our communities.

But we, this particular group of mystics, have become a clan. Across geographical separations we are connected by our stories and by the Spirit, which flows through all we do and all we are. We will continue to sit with the challenge of navigating the liminal space we inhabit while existing in a physical, seemingly rational world. We will continue to live into our bodies, listening for the wisdom found in our lived, visceral experience. We will pray and we will be faithful to the leadings of the Spirit, trusting the still small voice to guide our actions, big and small. We will be human and we will be Divine.

Miriam Florentino reports:. I was fortunate and honored to be able to participate, thanks to your sponsorship and assistance. I gleaned a deeper appreciation and importance of having communities to share and support in our spiritual paths. I felt the connection of ancestors laying spiritual groundwork for those who came after and appreciative of their faithfulness to listen and engage with Spirit.

I was inspired while hearing these stories and felt held by the legacy of those who shared. It was profoundly meaningful to me to see the inter-generational nature of our gathering and the valuable asset of this shared space. The beautiful inner workings of these exchanges was grounding to my own experiences and a blessing to be able to see that I was apart of a larger community of mystics, however each person defined it. I felt heartened, as a young person, to continue to explore and be present in my own engagement with mysticism.

Earth to Ether | Theo Travis

I felt enlivened to convey and encourage other young people to share their spiritual stories and how beneficial doing so can open opportunities for growth and inquiry. I loved learning how Quakerism has a rich history of mysticism and felt that those who gathered were part of this heritage, though some of us came from various spiritual backgrounds. I graciously thank the Youth Program Committee for sponsoring me, along with a few others, to be able to attend this gathering. Attached you will also find an epistle written by another attender on behalf of all those gathered to share with the larger Friend community about the conference.


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This gathering was facilitated by Elaine Emily. Greetings to Friends everywhere. Our annual gatherings emphasize being a welcoming space in which to share our stories of faith and mystical experience. Herself a mystic, Elaine employed a butterfly metaphor to describe our mystical journey. We need to share what we know and encourage each other to be the most outrageous butterfly, to be what God wants us to be.

Elaine helped us to explore the questions: What does it mean to live your life as a mystic? How has the mystical become or not become habitual? What hinders or blocks most fully coming into communion with God? What encourages or draws you into full communion with God?

Teilhard in the 21st Century: The Emerging Spirit of Earth

One participant told of a near-death experience and shared with the group the message that there is no need to be fearful of judgment because we will all be received with love. One side offered a blessing to the person across, then moved down the line, so that each person blessed and received blessing from every person.

The murmur of multitudes of blessings became the background music for the one each gave or received, and we each felt enriched and supported to go forth renewed. Spirit was indeed present, as three issues that had failed to find resolution at the two previous gatherings were spontaneously resolved.

One participant said she felt this heart-felt worship fulfilled that leading to name the spiritual condition of the world. Two participants shared about having a sense of William Penn, and a sense of his guidance that theChildren of the Light are much more free to speak now than in the pastand have a part to play in the coming times. In the United States, we encounter this unique quality of wisdom in the several indigenous, or First Nations, peoples the Hopi, the Apache, the Sioux, etc.

Typically associated with a deep love for the land, along with the desire to retain and maintain the pristine quality of the natural environment, the indigenous peoples evoke the curiosity of tourists and researchers, but are often poorly understood by mainstream society. And despite a range of initiatives at land reform and cultural integration, they still remain highly marginal in most people's minds. The integration of such indigenous wisdom is further hindered by our unexamined religious attitudes.

Some dismiss such people as pagan, unaware of the meaning of the word: "lover of the Earth. Faith in the Great Spirit is probably one of the oldest belief systems known to humankind. Long before we evolved an understanding of God as a powerful ruler inhabiting a distant heaven, our ancient ancestors felt the living presence of the Holy One in the Earth itself. It was immersion in the Earth, not escape from it, that defined our sacredness.

The Earth itself was perceived to be a living organism pulsating with the heartbeat of God, named by indigenous peoples to this day as the Great Spirit.

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Was it this quality of faith that enabled the Morgan fisherfolk to do such a brilliant piece of discernment on Dec. The God they knew to be right there in the living energy of creation itself spoke deeply in their hearts, empowering them to see beneath waves of fear and act with a wisdom that surely must challenge the most sublime knowledge any of us claim to have.

Perhaps this is what a mysticism for the 21st century looks like. Long after the first Pentecost, the Spirit still blows where she wills, and particularly to the advantage of those still open to being surprised by the innovative Spirit of the Holy One. Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here. Join now. Blog Soul Seeing. What will mysticism in the 21st century look like? Jan 10, This story appeared in the Jan , print issue under the headline: What will mysticism in the 21st century look like? Join the Conversation Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor.

Over the last years the Industrial Revolution greatly increased the exploitation of natural resources, especially fossil fuels which in turn generated unprecedented levels of the pollution of air, water, and soil. Global climate change is the most serious result today. Increased extreme weather events, melting of polar ice caps and mountain glaciers producing sea level rise, and other processes like methane released from the melting of tundra permafrost are being scientifically monitored and documented.

Humans must significantly reduce their ecological footprint, if for no other reason than for their own survival and well-being.

The Ecological Imperative Of Spirituality For The 21st Century

A multitude of diverse secular initiatives have tried to resolve or alleviate environmental problems since the first Earth Day on April 22, Some have been quite successful, such as reducing acid rain and the ozone hole. However, many environmental problems continue, some are getting worse, and new ones keep emerging like bee colony collapse. Obviously, although vital, secular approaches have not been sufficient. Spiritual ecology may help to turn things around for the better.

This is affirmed by a few exemplary cases among the accelerating number of effective environmental initiatives ultimately motivated by spirituality. Wangari Maathai established the Green Belt Movement which planted thousands of trees in her native Kenya. After adoption by the United Nations this movement spread through countries with ten billion trees planted so far.

Green Patriarch Bartholomew I, with a following of million Eastern Orthodox Christians, leads interfaith campaigns to mitigate the pollution of the Black Sea and other great waterways.

Interfaith Power and Light was created by Episcopalian Reverend Sally Bingham of San Francisco to facilitate energy efficiency and conservation in response to global climate change. By now it has spread to 14, religious congregations in 40 states of the U. The Alliance of Religions and Conservation developed by Martin Palmer works through 11 major religious faiths promoting biodiversity conservation in thousands of sacred places throughout the world.

These and many other practical initiatives are transforming the relationship of many humans to nature thereby helping to restore the health of both. A recent search of Google. This number grew from , in a previous search August 15, This trend reflects the quiet revolution of spiritual ecology. It is quiet in the sense that it is nonviolent, diffuse with no single leader or organization, and little-recognized.

It is a revolution because it involves a profound transformation of the place in nature of a rapidly growing number of humans that deep thinkers like David C.