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We live on a beautiful planet. Like most people, I enjoy the grandeur of nature, and appreciate the way the earth seems to function like a gigantic body balanced in every way. So many systems of weather and geography operate together to sustain the life all around us. When something like the environmental disaster of an oil spill happens, we see the interplay of these forces disturbed. The impact is huge, in terms of ecological changes as well as the effects of economic costs to people dependent on the sea and shoreline for their living. When the earth bleeds and her people suffer we are called upon to respond in new ways, with
love, compassion, and fresh ideas.
We are not all engineers or environmentalists trained and equipped to deal with the practical aspects of mitigating damages, stopping the leak and taking corrective measures related to wildlife protection and the livelihood of the gulf populations. As spiritual beings we are called to prayer, and it is our belief that that is a useful activity. When people are sick we pray and when the earth is injured we can do the same. Yes, we can also contribute money, as we are able, and support those who are engaged in the physical work of repair and environmental cleanup.
When we think about the world, the events and issues affecting us, how we think about them makes a difference. What kind of a world do we live in? Is it hostile or benevolent? What has power, and what kind of power is it? These are big questions and often our beliefs significantly color our response to reports of disastrous events. Media headlines announce the latest tragedies on local and global levels. We can know almost instantaneously what is happening, or what appears to be happening, anywhere on our planet. We often take this reporting at face value. In this age of so much information it is important to consider how much of what is reported is colored by fear and mistrust as opposed to stating facts. Inquiry and analysis of event are necessary and lay the groundwork for prevention of future disasters. But we must be careful not to merely assign blame. Yes, mistakes were made leading up to and after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform. We look to see solutions, not to shift responsibility or demonize those whose actions have caused harm. We bring our love and compassion to bear in every situation where there is suffering. We accept that we are all affected, and we all have a part to play in healing our world.
Science of Mind teaches that life exists as a unified whole. The universe and everything in it exists as a balanced orderly system, operating according to laws that can be discovered, understood and used. Laws are principles which are universal and infallible, like gravity or the laws of mathematics. These principles always work, even if we don’t understand them. Some laws are easily recognizable by their physical effects, the laws of physics for example. Some of the basic laws of mathematics are seen to operate when someone balances her checkbook. Spiritual laws exist as well. How we see the world, what we believe about it, how we think about it, affect our experience of life and the world around us. When we look for problems, we see problems. When we look for order and harmony, we see solutions falling into place. We believe in the power of love. All human beings know how to love; it is our nature to care about others. We are all connected; we are all in this together. When we acknowledge our similarities and open our hearts we are very powerful.
Let us pray, each is his or her own way. When prayers are grounded in firm belief, they have power to change the world. Doctrinal differences don’t matter as much as the feeling of love that lies behind the prayer of the believer. Love and conviction bring clarity and peace, bringing us together to find solutions that work for everyone. We are less likely to work at cross purposes when there is a sense of commonality and unity. There is no us and them. We’re all on the same planet and the more we learn about it, the more we discover and acknowledge the interconnections. All of our choices have an effect; how we perceive and talk about what happens in the world is part of our response. Our emotional responses and our thinking impact our actions. Do we ignore the newspaper and television accounts because we live in a different part of the country? Do we think, I am only one person, what I do doesn’t matter? We can try to distance ourselves or we can look for the ways we can love.
In addition to opening our hearts, we can all become better stewards of our planet’s resources. We can become less wasteful, less greedy. We in the United States have more than people do in many other countries. Our rates of consumption of all types of goods are more than our needs. We live in a culture of consumerism that urges us to buy more, want more, and discard what is no longer the latest fashion. We accumulate gadgets and toys, eat more than is healthy, and drive around in our single family cars because public transportation is not convenient. We are conditioned to think that all this is necessary. When we are challenged to look and see the connection between these behaviors and the thinking that looks to blame others for environmental disasters, we balk. We are being asked to look again, to see the unity of all life, to consider the ideas of conservation, recycling, and personal responsibility. There is always something we can do; we are not victims except of our own limited thinking. Love is bigger than limitation. It is the heart of the world, a world that works for everyone.