Reverence For Life
The more years I accumulate in this lifetime, the more awe and wonder seems to show up to help me reflect on the mystery of Life we’re all apart of. It’s as if something deep within is directing me to awaken to what I knew from childhood and before. As a boy I was a shy sensitive soul filled with wonder, awe and innocence. I found solace and strength in solitude. I was tutored by a maple tree that grew beside our house. It gave me sanctuary sixty feet above the ground where no one could see me.
This tree taught me reverence for life. It nurtured me and spoke a language beyond words, beyond the so called ‘adult understandings.’ It knew how to flow with the wind, rain, snow, sun, moon and stars; how to root deeply in the ground for its nurturance and strength. It knew how to grow, change and rearrange with every passing season. It knew how to listen and follow the essence that directed its generative operating design. It knew how to be a friend, to give and receive life, to comfort and nourish my soul.
At twelve years old I woke up one summer morning to the sound of chain saws outside my second story bedroom window. Startled by the noise I jumped out of bed, looked out the window and to my horror saw two men cutting down my tree. Beyond containment I started screaming at them. They couldn’t hear me so I threw on my robe, ran downstairs and was stopped by my mother in the kitchen who was horrified at my cries. When she was finally able to discern my terror she became indignant with me for creating a fuss.
She tried to explain the concern of our neighbor and the permission they had from my father to take down the tree. I was stunned. Why hadn’t they consulted me? Why hadn’t they consulted the tree? Why did they have to take this life that gave so much? Why couldn’t they understand my anger, pain and sorrow? How could they not understand the reverence for Life in this living creation? As I look back on this event I see how it was a rite of passage for me. The ordinary was to displace the extraordinary and not.
What profit is there if we gain the whole world and lose our own soulful awareness? When we see each other and the whole creation as things to be used, manipulated, and dispatched without any concern, what are we left with? When there’s a moving island of plastic and other debris twice the size of Texas floating in the ocean because of our lack of awareness and reverence for mother earth, what’s being said? When reverence for Life is lost, isn’t everything trivialized? Where’s our vision and vitality going forward?
As one of millions of elders in our earth community I’m not giving up on reverence for Life. I’m doubling down on a renaissance of consciousness for our global village. One of my spiritual grandfathers, Albert Schweitzer is reported to have said: “By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life, we become aware, appreciative and alive.” This speaks to an initial and growing relationship with Life through consciousness, concentration and creativity.
Reverence is a mix of awareness, love, joy, peace, respect and delight. It’s recognizing the vitality and interconnectivity of all Life. It holds a sense of holiness and wholeness for all to experience and informs our True Nature which participates with the True Nature of all creation. There’s an interrelatedness and common unity with all the forms and substance seen and unseen, known and unknown, visible and invisible. To not have reverence for Life is be unconscious, to not hear the silence in the heart of the rose.
Brother David Steindl-Rast says: “Any place is sacred ground, for it can become a place of encounter with the divine Presence. Every being is an abode of God, worthy of respect and reverence.” Have you had the experience of being in reverence, awe and wonder? How did you respond to it? What kind of impression did it make on you? What was the feeling? When was the last time you felt this feeling? Feel it now. Let this felt sense, this frequency and vibration bring you Home. It’s always here, always now.
- Reflect on any significant moment of reverence you’ve experienced no matter how brief or what the circumstances. Go into this space and feel the feelings it brings up for you. Anchor these feelings and know this energy is here whenever you choose to focus on it. It’s a lived experience and is accessible any time you choose. As above, allow this vibe of your invisible tribe, this frequency of reverence to bring you Home. . .
- Today, nourish your soul with a taste of wonder. Stop and drop into the depths of your heart and soul to experience the reverence of your physicality. Close your eyes and see with your heart, with your ears, with your skin, with you nose, with your open mind and open hands. Make a slight bow to a flower, to a tree, to yourself, to another sentient being. Feel the wonder of all you experience throughout the day and reflect on it as you go to sleep tonight and every night. Slow way down, become more aware and continue practicing reverence for Life wherever you are. . . .