Our senses have coevolved with the whole of the sensuous world, with all these other sentient shapes and forms, all these other styles of life. Our nervous system emerged in reciprocity with all that rich otherness, in relationship and reciprocity with hawks and waves and stormclouds and waterfalls, with an animate, living land that spoke to us in a multiplicity of voices. . . .
[Yet, in the modern world, many have come to believe that a] dynamic or living relationship is simply not possible with an object. The only things you can enter into relationship with . . . are other humans. Yet the human nervous system still needs the nourishment that it once go from being in reciprocity with all these other beings and entities. And so we turn toward . . . our human lovers and friends, in hopes of meeting that need. We turn toward our human lovers demanding a depth and range of otherness that they cannot possibly provide. Another human cannot possibly provide all of the outrageously diverse and vital nourishment that we once got from being in relationship with dragonflies and swallowtails and stones and lichen and wolves. It's just not possible We used to carry on personal relationships with the sun and the moon and the stars! To try and get all that, now from another person -- from another nervous system shaped so much like our own -- continually blows apart marriages, it explodes so many of our human relationships, because they can't stand the pressure.
I'd add to Abram's point that we now, also, seek what we're missing in increasingly advanced technology: what we can't get from other humans we now often look for in tv, DVDs, computer games, Wii. And, they're all great; I'd be lost without the internet. But I agree with Abram that there are some things that only being in relationship with the Earth can give to us.
I believe that one way to begin to establish that relationship, or, perhaps to re-establish it, as most of us did have such relationships as children, is -- this will surprise no one -- to regularly ground. A regular practice of grounding helps to remind you that you are of and in the Earth, helps you to focus on how the Earth is feeling, how it makes you feel, what you have to say to each other. This is one of the reasons why I like to ground by paying direct attention to physical stuff: are you sinking your roots into mountain stone, wet clay, warm sand, forest duff, garden humus? Is the ground frozen or warm? Are there small pebbles that your roots push past or large stones around which they curl? Are there worms, bugs. moles, bats in caves? Do your roots twist and branch around the bones of your ancestors, someone else's ancestors, the bears' ancestors? How does the energy that you pull up into your roots taste, feel in your belly, smell when you exhale it out into the air around you? I don't know how you can do this exercise and not realize that you are made of the Earth, you are in relationship with the Earth, you and the mole, you are both seeking solace and rest deep in the Earth; are you not sisters?
Abram says that we need to realize that, there is something interior about the mind, but it is not because it's inside us, but rather because we are inside it. Mind is not a human property, it's a quality of the [E]arth. As soon as we begin to loosen up, to allow the life of the things around us, and as soon as we begin to speak accordingly, we'll begin to notice that the awareness that we thought was ours does not in fact belong to us. We're breathing it in and out. Along with all the other animals, the plants, and the drifting clouds, we are immersed in the mind of the living world. . . . And I need to notice that each place has its own particular style of awareness. The intelligence of this place, the mind of this land, here in this valley, is quite different from the mind of the Puget sound, which is quite different from the mind of the eastern forests.
If we just start listening somewhat, something will snap us up, and suddenly we'll be just practicing; we'll be in it. Just discovering one again that we are inside the world will, I think, be vital, sufficient, strong enough to enable us to work with whatever we must face.
Ground. Ground regularly and something will snap you up, and suddenly, you'll just be practicing; you'll be in it.
Abram quoted in How Shall I Live My Life? On Liberating the Earth from Civilization by Derrick Jensen
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."