The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence.— Thomas Berry
The most sensitive Thomas Berry quotes that will activate your desire to change
Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.
The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be exploited. Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightening and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees, ~~ all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.
The divine communicates to us primarily through the language of the natural world. Not to hear the natural world is not to hear the divine.
We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe. All the disasters that are happening now are a consequence of that spiritual 'autism.'
Gardening is an active participation in The deepest mysteries of the universe.
What does the Earth Desire? I will put it in just a few short sentences.
.. To be admired in her loveliness, To be tasted in her delicious fruits, To be listened to in her teaching, To be endured in the severity of her discipline, To be cared for as a maternal source from whence we come, a destiny to which we return. It's very simple.
We are not lacking in the dynamic forces needed to create the future.
We live immersed in a sea of energy beyond all comprehension.
The Great Work now, as we move into a new millennium, is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period when humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.
The environmental crisis is fundamentally a spiritual crisis.
The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection.
The world of life, of spontaneity, the world of dawn and sunset and starlight, the world of soil and sunshine, of meadow and woodland, of hickory and oak and maple and hemlock and pineland forests, of wildlife dwelling around us, of the river and its wellbeing--all of this [is] the integral community in which we live.
Our fulfillment is not in our isolated human grandeur, but in our intimacy with the larger earth community, for this is also the larger dimension of our being.
Diversity is the magic. It is the first manifestation, the first beginning of the differentiation of a thing and of simple identity. The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection.
Our difficulty is that we have become autistic.
We no longer listen to what the Earth, its landscape, its atmospheric phenomena and all its living forms, its mountains and valleys, the rain, the wind, and all the flora and fauna of the planet are telling us.
All human activities, professions, programs, and institutions must henceforth be judged primarily by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore, or foster a mutually enhancing human/Earth relationship.
Vegetarianism is a way of life that we should all move toward for economic survival, physical well-being and spiritual integrity.
The time has come to lower our voices, to cease imposing our mechanistic patterns on the biological processes of the earth, to resist the impulse to control, to command, to force, to oppress, and to begin quite humbly to follow the guidance of the larger community on which all life depends.
What is clear is that the earth is mandating that the human community assume a responsibility never assigned to any previous generation...Our task at this critical moment is to awaken the energies needed to create the new world and to evoke a universal communion of all parts of life.
The Great Work - the work of ensuring a just, healthy, beautiful, and sustainably life-giving world for future generations of all species.
Yet we can be sure that whatever fictions exist in Wall Street bookkeeping, the earth is a faithful scribe, a faultless calculator, a superb bookkeeper; we will be held responsible for every bit of our economic folly.
The universe, the solar system, and planet earth in themselves and in their evolutionary emergence constitute for the human community the primary revelation of that ultimate mystery whence all things emerge into being.
Once you adopt and communicate a quality policy, stick with it, live it, and protect it. You get only one chance!
If the religious experience were simply some naive impression of the uninformed it would not have resulted in such intellectual insight, such spiritual exaltation, such spectacular religious ritual, or in the immense volume of song and poetry and literature and dance that humans have produced.
Everything is integral and interacts with everything else.
This means that nothing is itself without everything else. There is a commonality, an integrity, an intimacy of the universe with itself.
The present urgency is to begin thinking within the context of the whole planet, the integral earth community with all its human and other-than-human components.
The Universe is a unity, an interacting and genetically-related community of beings bound together in an inseparable relationship in space and time... The human is that being in whom the Universe activates, reflects upon, and celebrates itself in conscious self-awareness.
We see quite clearly that what happens to the nonhuman, happens to the human.
What happens to the outer world, happens to the inner world.
We must now understand that our own well-being can be achieved only through the well-being of the entire natural world around us.
So long as we are under the illusion that we know best what is good for the earth and for ourselves, then we will continue our present course, with its devastating consequences on the entire Earth community... We need only listen to what the Earth is telling us... the time has come when we will listen, or we will die.
What is happening now is of a geological and biological order of magnitude.
We are upsetting the entire earth system that, over some billions of years and through an endless sequence of groping, of trials and errors, has produced such a magnificent array of living forms, forms capable of seasonal self-renewal over vast periods of time.
Of one thing we can be sure: our own future is inseparable from the larger community that brought us into being and which sustains us in every expression of our human quality of life, in our aesthetic and emotional sensitivities, our intellectual perceptions, our sense of the divine, as well as in our physical nourishment and bodily healing.
The historical mission of our times is to re-invent the human—at the species level, with critical reflection, within the community of life-systems, in a time-developmental context, by means of story and shared dream experience.
The future rests in the religious, political, economic and cultural capacity of humans to establish this larger context in which the particular traditions will find both support and fulfillment in a functional global community.
If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur, then the emotional, imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual life of the human is diminished or extinguished. Without the soaring birds, the great forests, the sounds and coloration of the insects, the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields, the sight of clouds by day and the stars at night, we become impoverished in all that makes us human.
As humans we are born of the Earth, nourished by the Earth, healed by the Earth.
But if a peaceful world is beyond politics it is also beyond religions as these presently exist. A change is needed in every phase of human life. This lies mainly in recognition that the micro phase, the particular or national traditions, must find their context and fulfillment in the macro phase, the global or panhuman phase of human existence.
The real skill is to raise the sails and to catch the power of the wind as it passes by.
The excitement of life is in the numinous experience wherein we are given to each other in that larger celebration of existence in which all things attain their highest expression, for the universe, by definition, is a single gorgeous celebratory event.
The success or failure of any historical age is the extent to which those living at that time have fulfilled the special role that history has imposed upon them.
Just now one of the significant historical roles of the primal people of the world is not simply to sustain their own traditions, but call the entire civilized world back to a more authentic mode of being.
Earth as we know it came into being through its four great components: land, water, air, and life, all interacting in the light and energy of the sun. Although there was a sequence in the formation of the land sphere, the atmosphere, the water sphere, and the life sphere, these have so interacted with one another in the shaping of the Earth that we must somehow think of these as all present to one another and interacting from the beginning.
We find ourselves ethically destitute just when, for the first time, we are faced with ultimacy, the irreversible closing down of the earth's functioning in its major life systems. Our ethical traditions know how to deal with suicide, homicide and even genocide, but these traditions collapse entirely when confronted with biocide, the killing of the life systems of the earth, and geocide, the devastation of the earth itself.
The human venture depends absolutely on this quality of awe and reverence and joy in the Earth and all that lives and grows upon the Earth. As soon as we isolate ourselves from these currents of life and from the profound mood that these engender within us, then our basic life-satisfactions are diminished. None of our machine-made products, none of our computer-based achievements can evoke that total commitment to life.
In relation to the earth we have been autistic for centuries.
Only now have we begun to listen with some attention and with a willingness to respond to the earth's demands that we cease our industrial assault, that we abandon our inner rage against the conditions of our earthly existence, that we renew our human participation in the grand liturgy of the universe.
The destiny of humans cannot be separated from the destiny of earth.
If the earth does grow inhospitable toward human presence, it is primarily because we have lost our sense of courtesy toward the earth and its inhabitants.
The earth will solve its problems, and possibly our own, if we will let the earth function in its own ways. We need only listen to what the earth is telling us.
Traditions cannot themselves, simply with their own powers, do what needs to be done. These earlier experiences and accomplishments were dealing with other issues, providing guidance for different worlds than the world of the early twenty-first century.
In our totality we are born of the Earth.
Our spirituality itself is earth-derived... If there is no spirituality in the earth, then there is no spirituality in ourselves