There is religion in everything around us,
A clam and holy religion
In the unbreathing things in Nature.
It is a meek and blessed influence,
Stealing in as it were unaware upon the heart;
It comes quickly and without excitement;
It has no terror, no gloom;
It does not rouse up the passions;
It is untrammelled by creeds…
It is written on the arched sky;
It looks out from every star;
It is on the sailing cloud and the invisible wind;
It is among the hills and valleys of the earth
Where the shrubless mountain-top pierces the thin atmosphere of eternal winter,
Or where the mighty forest fluctuates before the strong wind,
With its dark waves of green foliage;
It is spread out like a legible language upon the broad face of an unsleeping ocean;
It is the poetry of Nature;
It is that which uplifts the spirit within us…
And which opens to our imagination a world of spiritual beauty and holiness.
John Ruskin 1819-1900
The following excerpt is from the book ‘Earth Prayers From Around The World’ edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon.
To the Ancients, as well as to many contemporary seekers, the world is alive with spirit. The surrounding landscape is infused with creativity and meaning and each place speaks to us of the divine. This notion of a richly sacralized world may seem strange to the mainstream western culture. We live in a secular landscape. We have been taught to identify the sacred primarily with cathedrals, churches, and temples. The rest of the Earth is considered real estate – a mere ‘it’ to be used as a resource for our benefit. This effort to desacralize the world, dispel its sacred aura, is what made possible our commercial relationship to the land. It has allowed us to plunder the natural world, destroying places of more power and beauty than we will ever be able to recreate.
While the distinction between spirit and matter is valid, no one can separate the two; no one can draw a line between them. Spirit and matter are not two different realms of reality, two different layers of the universe. One and the same reality will be material or spiritual depending on how we approach it. No matter where we immerse ourselves in the stream of reality, we can touch the spiritual source of all that is natural.
From this perspective the Earth is a bountiful community of living beings of which we are only one part. And each living being has an inner presence and dignity apart from any value we humans place upon it. While certain places always have been recognized for the powerful presence of their unique localities, or landforms, these places are not isolated entities. All the physical things that make up our daily life share a common spiritual reality – as such they are all to be revered and respected.
Wherever you are is home
And the earth is paradise
Wherever you set your feet is holy land . . .
You don’t live off it like a parasite.
You live in it, and it in you,
Or you don’t survive.
And that is the only worship of God there is.
Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole