Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Moving from opaqueness to transparency with nature

Father Henri Nouwen writes in his book Spiritual Formation that the spirit in us moves during our lives. It moves from here to there. If we are aware we can steer it.

The first such movement is from opaqueness to transparency. He says this movement occurs for us in nature, time, and with people.

In order to move from opaqueness to transparency we must adopt an attitude of not knowing. We must give up the ego and the need to be right. We must develop an attitude of curiosity which will lead to wonder, awe, and reverence.

Nature is not ours to possess but rather a teacher to educate and inspire us in developing a right relationship with ourselves and the world around us. When we try to possess, control, manipulate, exploit nature and spiritual opaqueness develops and we loose our way. We become destuctive to the interdependent web around us and to ourselves. In our ignorance we foul our nest, poison our world, and degrade the holy.

A river should run free, clear, and sing, not be the septic tank for our waste. Trees should grow and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and provide shelter to the birds and shade for us humans not be cut down for timber.

Air is for breathing not for the landfill for our toxic fumes and smoke.

Unitarian Universalism's seventh principle  asks for respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. UUs are open to being educated and inspired by nature. UUs as compared to fundamentalist Christians do not believe that nature is to be dominated by human beings and possessed by them, but rather to be respected and inspired by nature. UUs believe that God speaks to us through nature. In a sense God is nature and through the corporal world teaches, inspires and motivates us all the time.

As we let nature teach us, inspire us, motivate us we move from opaqueness to transparency. We see the world in its mystery and luminosity as something we are blessed by. The right relationship with nature which leads to transparency is life giving and fills us with mystery, awe, reverence, and love. We realize that we are loved by God and the world and we gently take care of her in a tender, grateful, and harmonious way.

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