The Green Christ has told me more than once that his True Cross is a living, shining green tree: A strong, deeply rooted tree whose branches gracefully grow out at all angles, intertwining with and supporting one another, “housing mosses, ferns and lichens, and the nests of birds and the secret trails of spiders; and housing vast colonies of Nature’s beings, both spiritual and material.” (Message, January 4, 2019) So we can begin with this verdant, vibrant image when we conceive of the Holy Cross: Its roots are anchored in the earth; it reaches far up into the sky; and, centered within its embracing arms, its heart welcomes and shelters all the manifestations of the Green World around it.
We may deconstruct this living, green cross into a simple cross of two lines meeting at right angles. But we can never forget that it is rooted in the land and, from its center, encircles and supports all life, human and non-human. When we start contemplating the Cross from this perspective, we gain a useful foundation for opening out our spiritual practices into the green realms of Gaia.
We often hear it said that the center of all religions and spiritual paths is Love. For millennia, the exploration of what Love truly is has occupied mystics as well as ordinary people from all religious traditions. Today this exploration, in various forms, is the center of most psychospiritual work, from mainstream religious classes to New Age study groups to the addictions recovery movement.
I’m not aware of any theology or philosophy that says that Love originates in the mind, the body or the senses (though it can certainly be received and expressed through all these). No, every spiritual path I’ve ever known about affirms that the heart has the mysterious quality of being both the mediator and generator of love’s power and presence. One of our primary inner challenges as modern-day humans is to give more attention to developing the unique wisdom and power of our hearts.
The heart is the organ of love, of connection, of giving and receiving. The heart is also the center, the locus, the hub from which we link to the infinite worlds within and around us. When we limit our hearts to loving only human beings and the works of humanity, we are restraining and narrowing our heart’s very nature. The deepest, truest reality of our heart insists on loving every creature, every plant, every river and forest and cloud. This is not a naïve, indiscriminate love, but a lively, attentive appreciation and respect for the natural world, and the deep, unshakable knowing that we are completely connected with it. We contain and are contained by all Creation, all of Nature. To the extent that our hearts aren’t allowed or encouraged to feel this, we remain separate, constricted and unfulfilled.
The heart is a muscle on many levels. We must learn to exercise and strengthen our heart’s “love muscle” to include love for the Green World—which, after all, is simply a larger version of self-love. Without this “green” dimension, our love, including our very love for ourselves, is shallow and incomplete. We might then become anxious and self-doubting; or, conversely, arrogant and aggressive. (These two equally unproductive stances drive the major manifestations of contemporary humanity’s dysfunction.) On the other hand, when we surrender to knowing ourselves as participating members of Gaia’s grand wholeness, we have no need to either shrink back or push forward. We can simply dwell in our fullest, best selves.
From this whole, rooted, expansive Self, we are able to enter into alliances with the physical and spiritual beings of Nature, to work as a team to foster the regeneration that the world and all of us humans need so deeply. Resting in our green hearts, firming and securing the green Holy Cross, we are true agents of Love.
© Copyright Mary Janet Fowler, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without written permission.