” I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
I recently have had one song on my mind. It is a beautiful piece called Mother’s Blessing that is written and sung by Snatam Kaur, who is a Sikh Mystic. She wrote this song when she was pregnant and it is a beautiful statement of her wish that her child will always know God and feel God’s protection. Some of the words are:
May you never forget God, even for a moment,
Worshiping forever the Lord of the universe.
Remembering God, all mistakes are washed away…
God is inside you, God is Infinite…
May you never be worn by worry.
Let this mind of yours be the bumble bee
And let the Lotus Feet of God be the flower.
Those beautiful words and blessing has hit me at a deep level. As some of you know, I became a grandma for the first time six weeks ago. My son and his wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Sophia (or wisdom). In experiencing her birth through my daughter-in-law, I had a visceral experience of what it means to be the vine and the branches as in John 15:5. I feel an intimate connection to this little one even though at this point I have yet to hold her since they live in Norway. Yet, I know in the depths of my being that the essence that made me is flowing through her as well. That essence is God or the Ultimate Reality and I deeply wish for her that she will come to know that Divine Reality.
Those of you with grandchildren or great grandchildren know what I am talking about. Somehow it is different than having children. With children the connection is so close because you are physically involved in the creation of the new person. But being removed by at least one generation and to still feel the connection speaks to the connection that we all have with one another whether we are once or twice or seventy times removed from the actual creation of the being. And with her birth my heart expands so that I wish this mother’s blessing for all peoples.
The birth of any child is such a miracle. It is the mother’s heart that pumps the blood that sustains life for the both of them for the nine months as an amazing form of creation is taking place. The babe inside goes from being two small individual cells to a full human being! During this time of gestation, two hearts literally beat as one. Everything the mother takes in as nourishment affects the baby’s development. Even the smallest deficiency can affect the ability to sustain this life throughout the nine months. In my daughter-in-law’s case she needed to increase her iodine level before she could carry a pregnancy to term.
Through this small miracle of life we get a glimpse of the heart of the universe or Wisdom’s heart. The image I have for Wisdom’s heart is a warm, welcoming, life sustaining one that is rhythmically beating, pulsing and connecting all of life in just the way that a mother’s heart is connected to her babe. And in the same way as for a mother, what we do matters for our earth. How we answer two questions Who I am? and Where did I come from? determines how we look at this world of ours and how we will treat everyone and everything else on this planet. If we see ourselves separate from God instead of the extension of God as portrayed in Jesus’ metaphor of the vine and branches, then we won’t realize that to misuse others or the animals, plants, or trees, hurts ourselves as well. From this perspective of separateness, we can feel justified in subjugating nature to serve only us. This has been the western approach for many years. To quote Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for us?
We have climate change, huge disparity between the rich and poor, extinctions of species and on and on. But if we take the approach of many of the wisdom teachers of old, such as Teilhard de Chadin, Meister Eckhardt, and Lady Julian of Norwich to mention a few, we will know that we are connected to the earth and to the universe as intimately as a baby is to her mother. We will come to understand that Love is the center of creation. Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “Love is the physical structure of the universe.” This love flows through us and works through us, in fact it is who we are. It is also where we came from. If we truly know this, we will walk upon this earth in a different fashion. We will treat others as we want to be treated not because it is the Golden rule but because we understand fully that we are connected as one.
I recently had a deep experience of this connection. Snorkeling in the waters off of Maui, I dove down to get a closer view of a large turtle. While watching this massive creature swim, I was aware of hearing a whale song. That song resonated in my being even though I had no idea what the whales were trying to communicate with each other. Later, on a whale watching expedition, we saw these great humpbacks and heard their songs again. We were told that all the males sing the same song, each year adding a new verse that all of they learn. Isn’t that amazing? They communicate and are artists just like we are!
I will leave you with a quote from my favorite mystic, Lady Julian of Norwich, in which she calls this union with God by an old English term, oneing. In her book the Showings, she wrote,
“By myself I am nothing at all but in general I AM the oneing of love. For it is in this oneing that the life of all people exists…The love of God creates in us such a oneing that when it is truly seen, no person can separate themselves from another person.”
We live and breathe and have our being in Wisdom’s heart. Let us take this knowledge to our heart and walk softly on this earth.