EarthLight Resources

Earth in Space

a Personal Earth Story from Issue #24

Exploring the relationship of Ecology & Spirituality

Empowering individuals and faith communities
to live and work in touch with the Earth

EarthLight is a magazine published quarterly by the Unity with Nature Committee
of the Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends [Quakers]

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Health, Wholeness, and the Body of God

by Kim Farmer
[EL #24, Winter 1996-97, p 7]

We are accustomed to this idea of full physical health meaning a certain wholeness of body, a recognition that all the constituent parts are functioning and vital, that their purpose and role are acknowledged and used effectively by the greater whole.
Would the same thing, then, not be true when we consider emotional health and spiritual health? And would we not, then, have to identify more clearly what those parts are, in order to consider the state of health of the whole?
There has been great effort expended in this century to identify the elements that comprise emotional health. As a result, we have varied and extensive avenues to consider when our emotional or mental health seems challenged. An effort most surely will be required, but we at least have some tools scattered about to consider.
But for many, spiritual health has become more elusive. Trying to use past tools to come to grips with current perplexities can be a confusing and turbulent experience. The stabilizing forces of meditation and prayer remain available. But for minds struggling to make sense of a world that includes both scientific wonders and sociological nightmares, the older religious approaches of firm dogma and unquestioning submission to a Higher Authority no longer fit. Some respond by abandoning any effort at resolution and become blind fundamentalists. Others become cynical atheists. Neither of these responses honors the magnificence, the variety, and the wonders in which we find ourselves.
Perhaps spiritual health can be found in the same direction in which physical and mental health can be found: perhaps we cannot feel spiritually healthy unless we have acknowledged and nurtured all the parts contributing to it.
Our notion of spirituality for centuries, for the most part, has included God and the human. Many would say "the Divine and the human," a bad enough separation already. But we have carried it much further and have not seen the Sacred as infusing any other part of existence - or, if so, only as part of God's dilettante artwork, a lovely but superfluous backdrop to the far more important trajectory of our own lives.
This is the part that is missing. We do not know our origins. We do not know that we are part of a vast and meaningful whole. We do not know who we are. We do not know of what miracle stuff we are made. We do not know that it is the heart of the Universe that pumps blood through our veins, that it is the crags of the mountains that make our fingernails, the fire of the sun that ignites our synapses, the million year rains that drench our organs, the sap of plants that grants us eyesight, the evolution of gravity that hardens our skeleton.
We are the gift of stars. Our brothers and sisters are hydrogen and fire. Our relatives are rock and storm, and the good rich earth. Our parents are the divine forces that created not only us, but all else.
Why is there "all else?" Do we think it was mere whimsy? In the Koran, God asks, "The heaven and the earth and everything in between - thinkest thou I made them in jest?"
Is that the assumption we have been living with in our spiritual questing? Can we consider that perhaps we are part of a larger whole, drenched in meaning as well as mystery? The burning question in our spiritual searching - "Who am l?" cannot be answered without also knowing from whence we came. We do not realize that we are infused with the Divine, and that it is the presence of the Divine that links us - the entirety of creation - together, into the whole and healthy body of God.
The Divine burned its presence into us at the first moment of the Great Fireball, and that telltale birthmark has likewise been branded onto all the rest of creation, joining us as family - as meaningful family - for all eternity. Unless and until we contemplate ourselves/our reality/our meaning as being linked to all else, we will be ignoring that part of our spiritual body that cries for inclusion so that we might be made whole, so that we might walk in newness of life.

Kim Farmer has been an educator of both adults and children for over 20 years. She writes from Sycamore Hollow near Celina, Tennessee where she lives with her canine relations Lakota, Gwynnie, and Joshua.

Her curriculum for children Happy Birthday, Universe! presents the unfolding of the Universe as a unified, interconnected, and interdependent whole. To order, send $25 ppd. to True North Publications, 4400 Sycamore Hollow, Celina, TN, 38551.

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Page last updated on 2/25/97 by Tom Farley of Spontaneous Combustion