|Posted by K. Seren on April 10, 2010 at 2:23 AM||comments (1)|
Last week, I danced, chanted, prayed, and walked with people of diverse faiths in the cause of peace and nuclear disarmament. Together, we engaged in ritual from our myriad religions with intentions focused on forging peace in humanity. We walked from Las Vegas to the Nuclear Test Site in Nevada- in the wind, the sun, heat and cold. We listened to the wind (howling at times), to the stillness of the desert, to each other. We shared meals, sunscreen, and duct tape (my blistered feet thank you!). We shared vision, desire, and dream.
My heart and mind are still raw with the memory of the pain of the land and the suffering of beings at the hands of war. On Friday, the Stations of the Cross were performed with a unique focus on the continued suffering of humanity in the violence of war, imploring us to find the peace that was offered by Christ. Meanwhile, the drones of Creech Air Force Base flew overhead. By about the fifth station, I could not repeat the sections of the performance that were for us all to read in unison. My voice caught in my throat and tears gathered as I opened myself to the pain of humanity- its fears, hatred, and grief.
As I walked on Saturday, I found a space of stillness, alone with my footsteps. With every step I took toward the Nuclear Test Site, I felt a weight on my chest increase, the burdened and belabored Earth Mother struggling to heal a tremendous wound. I opened myself as wide as I could, breathed out space for this suffering, and grieved with the Land as I would for my family. I touched the plants lightly, hearing their voices. I cried. I apologized. And then I gave what Light I could offer this place.
I began to breathe more deeply, more evenly. I called upon the Light of the Divine, called it from within and without, in me and through me. I envisioned this vast desert being cleansed and healed with this Light, pouring out past me, past the Nuclear Test Site fence, and across the land. I envisioned Light pooling from my footsteps, Light resting gently from above on every cactus and shrub, Light penetrating below the crust of soil and deep into the Earth. Light seeping into myself, then touching every human heart. Light bringing love and peace to all people.
For all the pain and suffering this Earth holds, mostly due to our own lack of mindfulness and our bowing down to fear, it holds much beauty too. When I had allowed the pain to wash over me, faced it, embraced it, and met it with courage… I began to feel a deep affection. Despite Her wounds, the Earth cooperated with the rain to cause the desert to gift us with the most amazing array of flowers. Flowers so small they were dwarfed by my fingernails fought to the surface to meet the sun. A wary burro eyed me cautiously, trotting off to the horizon. A pair of ravens took to the sky ahead.
In humanity, too, there is hope and the capacity for healing. Again and again this came to me- as we huddled together at lunch using a car as a windbreak, as we stood together in vigil at Creech Air Force Base… but mostly when we danced together. Thursday night, in the Temple of Goddess Spirituality (dedicated to Sekhmet), led by T. Thorn Coyle and Spinner McBride, we called upon the inner divine fire, the elements, and the Goddess Sekhmet. The rhythm of the drums, the warmth of the fire, the starry sky of the open dome of the temple… I could feel myself spiral into this Divine presence, this deep capacity for love and peace. Friday morning, remembering together Christ’s sacrifice and the continued suffering of humanity at the hands of violence, I felt this same spiraling- this unity despite difference. And Friday night, led by T. Thorn Coyle and Joshua Levin, recitations of Thomas Merton backed by drumming turned into spontaneous chanting and dancing. As I moved and sung, I felt my soul rise to meet the Divine presence, bringing the Light and Love of this Divine into me and my humanity.
Sunday morning, again we danced- this time to the drumbeat of Johnny Bob, the Tribal Chief of the Western Shoshone. Before dawn, we gathered around the fire, listening to prayers in the Shoshone language and dancing together in the solid heartbeat of the drum. As we went round and round, holding hands, circling as the sun rose, I began to lose myself in the circular swirl of energy around the fire, the vortex created by just a few dozen human feet, stomping out the rhythm of love and peace. At breakfast, my mind wondered: what would it be like to have a world of people dancing to that rhythm of awakening, holding hands in a never-ending spiral of life? What would happen if humanity as a whole, collective consciousness became mindful of how precious life really is? What if we knew our incredible potential to honor it in other beings and transform this world? What if we realized Earth is our heaven or our hell- that we choose which reality we create?
Nearly a week later, I sit here at my computer in my little mountain cabin and I still can call up the pain of the Land and humanity in the shackles of war. Yet, I can also still call up the hope of humanity moving in unison to the heartbeat of peace. Logic tells me that humans are a long way off from finding a collective consciousness of unity and friendship. Yet, perhaps because it is a deep-seated desire, my heart and soul tell me this is possible. In the meantime, whenever I can, I will hold hands with you and dance, and together, we can become filled with the joy and wonder of living. In those moments, we will create heaven on earth. We will become this future humanity, able to celebrate our differences and yet raise one voice for peace- so that no child is orphaned by violence, no mother buries her son in the name of war, and no land is poisoned and scarred by weapons.