Days for Girls recently sent a batch of our feminine hygiene kits to Nepal. We think of the girls who received those kits, their families, and all the people of Nepal as we hear the increasingly dire details of the devastating earthquake that shook their country early today. Closer to home, we are saddened that the spate of police brutality that has shaken many other parts of our country is now bringing people out into the streets of Baltimore to raise their voices in anger and protest at the recent death of Freddie Gray. Our city, our nation, and our world are badly in need of healing today. How do we mourn the dead? How do we comfort the living? How do we help rebuild broken cities and countries? Please join us tomorrow as we explore these questions, and as we send prayers for healing, comfort, and peace to all those in need: Sunday, April 26, 4 p.m., Ruscombe Community Health.
Here is a simple way to connect with nature this Earth Day and beyond:
Tree puja is a simple daily ritual, taking only five minutes around sunset. It involves meeting your plant every day, whether it is a large tree in the garden or a small pot on a kitchen windowsill…
Every day at sunset, light a small candle or an oil lamp in front of the tree, place a flower there, light a stick of incense and pour a small bowl of water at the base of the tree. Along with these offerings, a prayer of thanks and gratitude can be said to the tree. Then for ten seconds close your eyes. Become that tree. If the tree is unhealthy, feel the sickness of the tree and say a prayer for it’s wellbeing, “May you become strong and healthy. May you nurture life.”…
This is the beginning of your connection with nature, not just admiring the tree, but feeling a connection with it…That is the spirit of ecology…Although tree puja looks simple it has a deep meaning because it is worshipping Mother Earth, the source of all nourishment and life.
---from Upasana: In the Presence of the Divine
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children: that the
Earth is our mother? What befalls the Earth, befalls all the sons of the Earth. This we know: the Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the Earth, he does to himself.
--attributed to Chief Seattle
This Wednesday is Earth Day. Join us this Sunday, April 19, 4 p.m. Ruscombe Community Health Center, as we celebrate this wondrous creation that sustains us and that depends on us to cherish and sustain it.
This is the season of miracles. A man rises from the dead, seas part, a monkey god leaps across mountains. And in our own back yards buds appear overnight on trees and bushes, green stalks press up from under dried leaves, what appeared dead and lifeless just yesterday is suddenly colorful and vibrant. Miracles are easy to miss, though. The resurrected Christ walked the earth for just a little while, the waters of the Red Sea closed in again as soon as the Israelites had passed through them, the delicate spring flowers soon wither and die. We need to be open to seeing the miraculous when it presents itself, yet we spend most of our days on automatic pilot, walking by without turning our heads to see what is right in front of us if we were to just look.
Presence and stillness are two of the most important gifts our yoga and meditation practice offers us. When we slow down and become quiet, we begin to notice the miraculous way the breath moves, the heart beats, the senses connect us to the outside world, the mind creates coherence from the multiplicity of sensory impressions we take in. We begin to sense the miracle of creation and recognize that we are part of that miracle. Gradually, we learn to carry that awareness out into the world. Sadhana (spiritual practice) prepares the mind to see God in everything, every moment of our lives.
How often are you aware of the miracles around you? What keeps you from awareness? What helps you stay aware? Come explore with us at this week's Sunday sadhana, April 12, 4 p.m., Hill House, Ruscombe Community Health Center.
Tanmayi Christine Garrison co-facilitates Wise Heart Community devotional activities.