And the Great Mother said:
Come my child and give me all that you are.
I am not afraid of your strength and darkness, of your fear and pain.
Give me your tears. They will be my rushing rivers and roaring oceans.
Give me your rage. It will erupt into my molten volcanoes and rolling thunder.
Give me your tired spirit. I will lay it to rest in my soft meadows.
Give me your hopes and dreams. I will plant a field of sunflowers and arch rainbows in the sky.
You are not too much for me. My arms and heart welcome your true fullness.
There is room in my world for all of you, all that you are.
I will cradle you in the boughs of my ancient redwoods and the valleys of my gentle rolling hills.
My soft winds will sing you lullabies and soothe your burdened heart.
Release your deep pain.
You are not alone and you have never been alone.
by Linda Reuther
Isn’t this poem a consolation! I think Linda Reuther puts beautiful words to the idea that the Earth can be our refuge. In Buddhist teachings the idea of refuge is key. When you commit to a Buddhist path you ‘take refuge’. I think that on some level we all long to be unconditionally supported and we all want to feel that all of who we are can be welcomed within a more vast, loving presence. In this poem, the Earth is that welcoming presence. The feeling from the poem is that all of what we experience emotionally – tears, rage, tiredness, hopes, dreams, is mirrored in the Earth’s elements of rivers, oceans, thunder, volcanoes, meadows. We are given the invitation to know that we are made of the same elements and we are not alone. Zen Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh has written a wonderful little book called Love Letter to the Earth, which explores Mother Earth as the ultimate refuge. He says ‘The Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us.’
As mindfulness practitioners we remember this every time we practice by letting ourselves find our home in the body on the ground. Many of us also love to practice mindfulness in nature, which is another way to feel this profound belonging.
Through experiencing the Earth as refuge, we may begin to feel the depth of our care for the environment and we may also become more acutely aware of the urgent need for change in how we, as human beings, relate to the Earth. Thich Nhat Hanh goes on to say that everything depends on whether we realise that the Earth is us.
How can we use our mindfulness practice to empower us to take actions for the sake of the Earth? We will address this question in our Engaged Mindfulness course beginning in May. We will explore our connection with nature as a basis for engaging with whatever small or large things concern us. Whether it’s the climate crisis or social injustice, whether it’s on a local level or global level, whether it’s through hands on action, donations or through practicing kindness. Do join us in this essential inquiry.
Ps. If you want to know more about the course, please see here.