This is my favorite passage (thus far) from “Thank God for Evolution”:
“When we relate to Reality personally – knowing that each of us is accepted just as we are, and trusting that it’s possible to interpret everything real in one’s life as a gift and a blessing in disguise: this will always transform any of us. If we can develop a habit of “conversing” with Wholeness, of quieting our minds, jettisoning all judgments, surrendering to a Higher Power, seeking deep and intuitive guidance, opening to the way of the heart, engaging in contemplative prayer, and many other names and activities that put us in a state of radical openness and receptivity to wider and deeper wisdom, then our experience of life will improve enormously – even if the outward conditions of our existence change not a whit.”
Earlier this year, I finished reading Joanna Macy’s memoir wherein I learned the history of the universe. How had I never learned this before is a mystery. From the big bang 15 billion years ago, a swirling mass expanded, and then a bit of it broke off 5 billion years ago to make the mass that became our earth.
Joanna wrote this great analogy of a 24 hour period from the big bang to today – and in that 24 hour period, beginning at midnight, organic matter showed up at 5pm. At 11:30pm mammals showed up. We humans showed up at ONE SECOND to midnight. We’re pretty late to the game, but we sure have caused a lot of damage in that one second, due in some large part to the emergence of science after the last plague.
After finishing her memoir, I started reading “Thank God for Evolution” by Michael Dowd. In it I learned that before the bubonic plague of 1357 to the 1600’s (300 years!), there were no scientists vs. theologians. They were one. But after/during the plague, men wondered what the heck was going on, so they investigated, and our modern science was born. What’s most interesting to me is that this plague was the beginning of causing people to believe the earth was not a friendly place.
Einstein wrote that one of the most important decisions is whether the universe is friendly or not. Obviously, the capitalists who are gouging the earth for their profits don’t see the earth as a living, breathing entity, which she most clearly is, but only as something to be used.
Back to this wonderful book: After the plague, science and religion parted for the first time. The author and his wife do a wonderful job tying them back together. For “god” as he describes it, is quite simply the whole of US. All of us, each person, flower, grain of sand, everything. I loved when he wrote that having a personified, outside god is like kissing through glass. God is within and without, and we’re a part of it…though I do like to use the “she” pronoun. Hmm. Though that’s not terribly inclusive of our trans folks. Beyond gender it is!
Perhaps after THIS plague, science and religion can merge, along with ALL of US, into a cohesive whole, cognizant of our interconnectedness, our interdependence, and our Living Earth needing us to treat her with respect.
Like I’ve often read, peace begins within, and likely respect begins as well. How important that each of us respect and truly love ourselves, or else how can we love each other and the earth of which we are an integral part.
Here are some other great quotes from “Thank God for Evolution”:
We are no more isolated from god than a tree is isolated from the ground upon which it grows.
Prayer can be understood analogously as a cell in deep communion with the larger body of which it is part.
We don’t believe in things that are undeniably real. We know them. We don’t believe in water; we are 60 to 70 percent water. We don’t believe in the Universe; we live and move and have our being within this undeniable material and nonmaterial Reality that many today call “the Universe” but which others have for centuries referred to as “Mother”, “Father”, or “Lord”.
There is a profound difference between believing in a personal god and knowing god personally, that is, relating to Reality intimately.