Fire and Light

Love of and care for Mother Earth has been the focus of my entire adult life (50 years). For those who don’t know me, one of the main ways I was led to this focus came from a vision of my beloved Rocky Mountains hidden behind clouds of smog. That vision was more than a picture in my head. It was a spiritual message from the Inner Light or the spirit of God. And it wasn’t just a one-time message, but I continued to receive these messages, this guidance, throughout my life. My grandmother, Lorene Standing, said the will of God is often revealed in a series of steps. That is what the “Light” in the title of this refers to.

That vision meant I could not own a car, and so I learned to live without one. I always have trouble writing this because I fear it will be taken as bragging which is not my intention at all. And I know many other people live without a car.

The reason for saying this is because the first thing someone usually says when I try to talk about the need to get off fossil fuels is to suggest I am part of the problem when they assume that I own a car. Being able to say no, I don’t, will sometimes at least get that person to continue a conversation instead of immediately dismissing what I’m saying.

Yet I am part of the problem because my carbon footprint is many times greater than that of people in many other parts of the world. I do ride in other people’s cars and on buses and trains. Fossil fuel is keeping me warm today, and provides electricity for the laptop I’m writing this on, is used to transport food to the grocery store.

It has been a long, frustrating journey to try to convince others to give up their cars and reduce their fossil fuel consumption. Despite the lows there were a few high points along the way.

But today I’m feeling worse than I can remember. Feeling the pull toward hopelessness. Seeing the ferocious fires in California, the vast flooding of the rivers on both sides of my state (Iowa) and the devastation from hurricanes Katrina, Maria and Dorian is hard to grasp.

But the scenes of the fires in Australia, the fleeing kangaroos and Koala bears, thousands of people forced to beaches, awaiting evacuation, not knowing if they can ever return to rebuild what is lost, has been overwhelming to me. The hopelessness comes from all of that happening while the Australian government continues to support the coal industry. Literally adding fuel to the fire. And we have similar situations in the United States, Canada and elsewhere.

For some reason I’m reminded of James Taylor’s song, “Fire and Rain.”

What can we do? Is there any hope? I’m not sure what the answers are, but I am convinced they will have a spiritual basis. What happened at Standing Rock is an example of what I believe the answer will be. Following are a number of ideas I’ve been dwelling on for some time now.

I’ve been thinking about the concept of a Spiritual Warrior ever since I received the following message from my friend Joshua Taflinger:

I am inspired to share with you all more directly a post I wrote, because I consider you an established & effective nature/spiritual warrior, and believe that there is a need for the perspectives shared in the attached post to be more common thought in the minds of the many.

What has risen to the surface at Standing Rock is a physical/spiritual movement. Learn how to quiet your mind. To find the silent receptive space to receive guidance. To learn to adapt and follow the pull of synchronicity to guide you to where you will find your greatest support and strength.

What I have found in my time praying in the indigenous earth based ways, is that it’s not about putting your hands together and talking to god…. It’s about quieting and connecting with the baseline of creation, of nature. Tuning into the frequency and vibration of the natural world, the nature spirits. The beings and entities that have been in existence, for all of existence, the examples and realities of sustainability and harmony.

It’s about becoming receptive to these things. Being open and flowing with them. The spirit guides us, but we have to make ourselves receptive to feel, sense, and respond to this guidance.

Joshua Taflinger

The Spiritual Warrior is a person who challenges the dreams of fear, lies, false beliefs, and judgments that create suffering and unhappiness in his or her life. It is a war that takes place in the heart and mind of a man or woman. The quest of the Spiritual Warrior is the same as spiritual seekers around the world.

Each Warrior of the Light contains within him the spark of God. His destiny is to be with other Warriors , but sometimes he will need to practice the art of the sword alone; this is why, when he is apart from his companions, he behaves like a star. He lights up his allotted part of the Universe and tries to point out galaxies and worlds to all those who gaze up at the sky. The Warrior’s persistence will soon be rewarded. Gradually, other Warriors approach , and they join together to form constellations, each with their own symbols and mysteries.

Coelho, Paulo. Warrior of the Light: A Manual (p. 89). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Everywhere people ask, “what can we do?”
The question, what can we do, is the second question.
The first question is “what can we be?”
Because what you can do is a consequence of who you are.
Once you know what you can be, you know what you can do.

Arkan Lushwala

Speaking about what is happening on Earth right now,
many of the conditions of life that we used to take for granted,
now are really out of balance.
Hopefully we still have time to get back into balance
so life may continue.
I travel around the world and meet people and talk to people
from all different cultures.
And everywhere people ask, “what can we do?”
The question, what can we do, is the second question.
The first question is “what can we be?”
Because what you can do is a consequence of who you are.
Once you know what you can be, you know what you can do,
and we cannot afford wasting time;
we have little time.
We need to be precise now.
When someone sincerely asks, “what can I do?”
my humble answer,
the only answer that I find in my heart to be sincere is,
“First find out what you can be.”
Action is extremely necessary at this time.
This is not a time just to talk about it.
The most spiritual thing now is action.
To do something about what’s happening.
To go help where help is needed.
To stand up when we need to stand up,
and protect what is being damaged.
And still, this action needs to be born
from a place in ourselves that has real talent,
real intelligence, real power,
real connection to the heart of the Earth,
to universal wisdom,
so our actions are not a waste of time.
So our actions are precise,
our actions are in harmony with the movement,
the sacred movement,
of that force that wants to renew life here on Earth
and make it better for the following generations.

Arkan Lushwala

In a world experiencing unprecedented climatic, ecological, and societal change, many in the Religious Society of Friends are coming to know our own need for newness. We thirst to find and share a clearer sense of the relevance of our beloved tradition to the challenges we face. We yearn to come more fully alive together, to speak and serve today in the Life and Power that generations of our spiritual ancestors knew. Across North America and beyond, Friends are recognizing a shared calling to rediscover and reclaim traditional understandings of who we are and how we are as Friends that will help us continue to travel this Way of Love.

Prophets, Midwives, and Thieves: Reclaiming the Ministry of the Whole, Noah Baker Merrill
This entry was posted in #NDAPL, Arts, climate change, Indigenous, Native Americans, Quaker, Spiritual Warrior, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s