Sowing seeds of love in times of darknessMay 21, 2022
How many of us have been struggling lately? The news is unrelentingly grim. Everything has become calamitous. It is hard not to feel fearful. Grief is never far from the surface. I have found myself asking, how do we navigate a path through this? And I am finding answers in the wisdom of ancients.
In the times before Descartes and machines and industrial revolutions, the ancients spoke of us being a microcosm of the macrocosm. That we are a universe within a universe, and all is connected. They said that how we treat each universe affects the health of the other – that what we put out we receive, that how we treat ourselves, is a reflection of how we treat the world around us. These ancients offer us wisdom for our times. A roadmap through calamity.
Bringing that idea down to an individual level - if we have fear in our hearts, we see that which is to be fearful of. Anger begets anger. Fear begets fear. The 16th Century alchemist, physician and natural philosopher, Paracelsus, said that every emotion and thought we put out into the world is reflected back at us. If we seed our interior landscape with negativity, we will receive negativity from the universe. It is all we will see. Our fearful energy becomes part of the fear within society. The walls go up, and we can become isolated, scared and disconnected.
So how can we see things differently?
Buddhists speak of being in this moment now, of not holding on to thoughts, to not grip the past while prophesising the future. They call this non-attachment. At first this idea can sound remote, detached, but what they are doing could be described as tending to the soils of their inner garden. They are not gripping fear tightly, they are letting it go, it is not taking root in their inner world. They help us navigate the present. They are giving us ways to be in this moment now. It is up to us to define for ourselves what this moment looks like. And what if it looked like love.
Throughout time Buddhists, mystics, philosophers, abbesses and priests, the myriad spiritual and religious paths all meet at one place, and that place is love. Love for each other, love for ourselves, love for this world. Love nourishes our soul, makes our world brighter. Love is the soil and the seed.
Love is the soil and the seed. - Georgina Langdale
In her gospel, Mary of Magdalene said, “Every nature, every modelled form, every creature, exists in and with each other”. She is saying is that we are all things, and all things are us. If we have love in our hearts, there is love in all hearts and in the way we are with each other, with every thing.
What would our own resilience look like if we can face these challenging and frightening times with love as our default position? If we can let go of fear and radiate love then, the ancients would say, love will be reflected back to us. Some call this the beauty way.
What will change within us, and outside of us if, everyday, we consciously acknowledge the things we see, feel and experience that nurture that beauty way? If the seeds we sow are love, then doesn’t it follow that love with grow?
Yes, bad news surrounds us. Yes, it is easy to become hooked into a grim vision of the future. Yes, it takes strength to find love in the shadows. But what if our conscious acts of everyday love were the medicine that could help create a better future?
Shamans say that every thought, every action we have and make, will ripple down the next seven generations. They invite us to think about what it is we wish to ripple down the years, what is the legacy we would like to leave behind us. This makes me think that I would much rather leave a legacy of love, rather than a legacy of feeding fear. Surely if enough of us nurture love in our inner world, then we can not only send that out into the world around us, the world around us will also show us love. And so if we can get to see moments of love reflected back to us, maybe this can help us get through this. We need to be the change we wish for in this world.
The reality is that love starts with us.
Love can be manifested in a multitude of ways and like the airline safety announcement, we need to start by putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first and in doing so we can help others. If we show ourselves love, if we feed our microcosm with love, we can sow the seeds to extend love to others, to all things, to this planet.
I sit quietly and focus on my breath. The slow pull of the in breath and the gentle release of the outbreath. I picture my soul nestled inside me, inside my interior world, one with landscapes and plants and animals, oceans and rivers and I breath in love, love for all of this and my soul within it. And I breathe out love, love from my inner world to the world outside. I picture myself as the microcosm of the macrocosm, a universe within a universe. Breathing in love. Breathing out love. My inner and outer worlds become calmer. I become the buddha under the tree, the shaman by the fire, the abbess in the garden, finding peace in this moment right now. I imagine my love connecting in this moment with every other person on this planet also breathing in love… and breathing out love. A communion of souls united in love. I smile at the thought of this. And then I imagine this love like a golden light, like the sun rising and rolling back the shadows. A new day dawns.
I believe the ancients have much to teach us about how we might navigate a path through the times we find ourselves in now. It takes works to find this place of stillness, to create moments of peace in chaos, but they give us the wisdom to help us do it. This is their legacy rippling down the ages. Their gifts given to help us in this moment now.
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