When I was deep into my spiritual awakening, I had startlingly prescient dreams; in one, the words, "violent emergency" reverberated through my mind. It was a violent emergence; birth is fierce. There is an ocean of difference, however, between Nature's ferocity and that which human beings with their own agendas deliberately inflict.
Theologian and author Thomas Moore writes, "Deep in the etymology of 'violence' is a strong Latin word, vis. It is the power in nature that we sense in the surging sea and the growth of grass. In our experiences of violence we witness the vain attempt of life to push itself into existence and visibility. This is a sexual power. Sex is not just about making bodies but making souls as well. The people of the world need every opportunity to be creative and visible. They need to enjoy life, not just survive. Without that opportunity, they will turn to violence, in spite of themselves."
We tend to go through life anesthetized against our own yearning. The call to claim our power can be terrifying, because it means accepting our invitation to the Dance -- and most of us have forgotten how to dance, if indeed we ever knew. We find it easier to lash out in anger: rage, the undiscovered country. If being "outrageous" means getting the rage out, we're black belts. Having lost touch with the wilderness within, we savage the Earth and each other in an effort to combat our loneliness.
War is the grand expression of this misdirected energy. It's akin to our ability, or lack of it, to harness the power of the sun. Yoked to our solar egg, we could shine on in all our ecological radiance for millennia. Yoking means union, but we're used to living the more limiting definition of bondage. Trussed to our desperation, we sigh, "That's life!" Since interdependence -- becoming what Kenny Ausubel christened "Bioneers," or biological pioneers, co-creating with Nature -- feels so foreign, we stay (un)comfortably in the familiar, pump up the volume, and wearily watch as the world turns.
There is a way out: it's through. The trees are gods and goddesses who in their stillness keep the Earth's counsel; the animals are our allies. We can commune with a snake or a sea lion as easily as with the people we call kin. The key lies in reclaiming our wildness -- not as violence, but as an abiding, sensuous connection with Nature. Instead of experiencing everything at one remove, we can allow it to enter us.
My Inannic odyssey delivered me deeply into this truth. In illness and vulnerability I threw my arms around trees and sobbed out my grief, feeling their loving embrace. I began talking to crows, paying tribute to their visceral wisdom in a poem that concluded, "A coded conversation/In guttural cries/Opens my eyes/And lifts me higher." Stunned from exhaustion, I'd never lived in such clarity. With my brain on an extended vacation, I was forced to access a more primitive part of my being, to participate in the instinctual world, not merely watch.
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