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By Lisa Hamilton (used with permission)
Article: Oil Spill in the Gulf
At a time when one might feel that Louisiana has suffered enough, what looks to be the largest oil spill in history has just taken place, accompanied by an explosion on a drilling rig killing 11 people and injuring 17 people in the Gulf of Mexico. An estimated 840,000 to 1.68 million gallons gushed into the Gulf from the well one mile beneath the water’s surface. In his Presidential Address on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on June 15, 2010, President Obama called this “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.” (Obama)
I am saddened by the loss of lives, and the economical issues that folks are now facing due to the loss of business. The devastation that has happened to our fragile environment appears to be very discouraging. At the same time, my thoughts are drawn to the teachings of my faith tradition at the Centers for Spiritual Living. We are taught that thoughts are creative, and that our experience is a direct result of our thoughts individually and collectively. Although it can sound harsh to ask ourselves how we could have contributed to such a huge tragedy, I am comforted knowing that I can actively participate in a healing. Some examples of thoughts that I might consider revising or editing are: belief that there are no other options besides fossil fuels, or it’s too late to change course now because we will never come up with the solution in time, or I am only one person so I cannot make a difference.
Our President Obama came to a similar conclusion. During his speech he called it our “addiction to fossil fuels.” Although we have only 2% of the global oil reserves, America consumes more than 20% of the world’s oil. This is why we have resorted to deep water drilling.
My faith tradition also teaches me that we live in an abundant universe. I don’t think that this means that everything on this planet is unlimited. I believe that it means that the nature of the universe, and the nature of God, is abundant. Although some of the Earth’s resources may be limited, we still have everything we need because there are infinite possibilities in God. We have the capacity to discover new resources, and new ways to heal the planet.
During his speech, Obama stated to the American people, “The one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one idea that I will not accept is that somehow this challenge is too big and too difficult to meet.” He continued, “What has defined us as a nation is our capacity to shape our destiny.” (Obama)
What we might ask ourselves right now is: what is the highest idea for clean and safe energy resources in America? Can we envision the beauty of the Gulf beyond what appears to be great disaster, and can we let go of the need to blame so we can unify as a nation and take action to restore the natural environment.
The Science of Mind also teaches that our perceptions shape our experience. In an area that you would expect to see much despair, the people continue to stand by their strong faith. Each year fishermen along with clergy participate in what is called: “The Blessing of the Fleet.”
During the Presidential address on the spill, Obama described the blessing, “Each year at the beginning of the shrimping season, the region’s fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It’s called: The Blessing of the Fleet. And today it’s a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea, some for weeks at a time. The ceremony goes on in good times, and in bad. It took place after Katrina and it took place a few weeks ago at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced. And still, they came and they prayed. For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, the blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that He is with us always, a blessing that’s granted even in the midst of the storm.” (Obama)
President Obama ended his speech by saying, “The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before and we will surely know them again. What sees us through, what has always seen us through is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it. Tonight we pray for that courage. We pray for the people of the Gulf and we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day.” (Obama)
Something better awaits us. We are divinely guided by a power greater than ourselves. As our founder, Ernest Holmes said, “There is a power in the universe that is greater than you are, and you can use it.”
This power that Holmes is talking about is the power of Life Itself flowing through and as each one of us. Life is constantly generating and regenerating. Even now, scientists have discovered a new species of microbe that is consuming the undersea plumes in the Gulf oil spill. (Spotts)
It is promising to know that nature has a way of healing itself. I believe that it is our job to learn from our experiences and not be limited by them. We have a responsibility and a duty to be good stewards of this amazing planet and of each other. We can start with our own thoughts, and we need to make conscious choices that support the good of all.
Obama. (n.d.). Presidential Address on Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Retrieved 09 10, 2010, from C-SPAN Video Library: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/294074-3
Spotts, P. (n.d.). Is a new species of microbe gobbling up Gulf oil spill? Retrieved 09 10, 2010, from The Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2010/0824/Is-new-species-of-microbe-gobbling-up-Gulf-oil-spill?sms_ss=facebook