[Please pardon a lengthy intro as I share a moment of synchronicity: I am on a personal retreat but still reading in preparation for our new program in Reconciliation Studies: Truth-telling and Reconciling with Indigenous Peoples. Early this morning, I was reading the chapter called “Creation Songs” from Sherri Mitchell’s, Sacred Instructions. As I was contemplating the passage shared below, I noticed that my random playlist was playing “Creation Dance” by Bruce Cockburn and that the cover of that album was a painting by Norval Morrisseau, whose work I had just admired at the National Gallery two days earlier after learning about him from Chris Beaver’s amazing podcast, “The Art of Sovereignty.” Interrelated indeed.]

“We all originate from the same divine source, and we will all return to that source when our learning is complete. During our journey, we will have many of the same experiences, seeing the world and one another from multiple angles and through multiple lifetimes. Sadly, there will also be times when we will lose sight of this basic fact. During those times, we will become lost in the unfolding stories of our own individualized realities.

Albert Einstein once talked about the illusion that is created by this belief in separation. He described it as a prison that restricts our awareness of connection to the whole:

A human being is part of the whole we call the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself in the thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion, to embrace all living beings and all of nature.

This is an idea that still seems fantastic to many people around the world. But it is a belief that has been held by Indigenous peoples since the beginning of time. Our songs, stories, and mythologies all speak of our interrelatedness. From birth, we are taught to be aware of the expanded kinship networks that surround us, which her human beings along with the beings of the land, water, d the plants, trees, and all remaining unseen beings that exist within our universe. This multisensory understanding of life is now blossoming across the planet, and we are witnessing humanity awaken to a whole new level of being. We are able to recognize, for perhaps the first time in our history, that we are in the process of an evolutionary leap, which makes this a very exciting time to be alive. Our challenge is to remember all of who we are. We begin this process by expanding our awareness to include the entire creation…”

  • Sherri Mitchell, Sacred Instructions (2018)

pope francis speaks up for the earth and humanity

[In what is considered to be the first encyclical on creation care, Pope Francis speaks out strongly on behalf of “care for our common home”]:

We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves…..

The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labour on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests. It is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage.

– Pope Francis, Laudate Si

(Or you can check out a response from Wired here.)