“In life, each person can take one of two attitudes: to build or to plant. The builders might take years over their tasks, but one day they finish what they’re doing. Then they find they’re hemmed in by their own walls. Life loses its meaning when the building stops.
“Then there are those who plant. They endure storms and all the many vicissitudes of the seasons, and they rarely rest. But unlike a building, a garden never stops growing. And while it requires the gardener’s constant attention, it also allows life for the gardner to be a great adventure.
“Gardeners always recognize one another, because they know that in the history of each plant lies the growth of the whole world.”
— Paulo Coelho
We all come into the world as infants on equal footing, untainted by human greed and power struggles that play out through racism and religious wars. Along the way though we begin to box ourselves up by color or culture or religion, and we begin to separate ourselves from one another. We forget our job description as “gardeners” and we busy ourselves with building… building boxes, building walls, building lines of separation. These are the things that Oprah Winfrey’s groundbreaking seven-part documentary “BELIEF” is leading us to contemplate this fall “harvest” season.
What seeds have we sown individually and collectively? What are we reaping?
What is it we spend time thinking, contemplating or talking about?
We often get caught up in conversations on things like “What will heaven look like?” And “Who will be there?”
It’s as if the world is consumed with what happens when we die. It gets much more interest and attention than the real important question, “What are we doing with our life?” And, do we have the potential to create heaven on earth or conversely, with so many of the problems on earth today, have we created hell? In media, we see far more images of hell or hell-like conditions than we see heaven-like images. The news, our daily lives and conversations seem to be laden with tragedies and disasters happening around the world. A formula for media has become “If it bleeds, it leads.” Where have we taken ourselves? Where are we going?
We spend so much time discussing dying, that we forget to live. We forget that the way we live and how we live, and the compassion we extend and the love we give are what is important, not the end destination.
What if there were no end destination, only the reaping of our life’s garden?
What if it truly were as we give love–we receive love?
What if after we die, we end up bouncing up on a big pile of love—of course, this is considering we gave a lot of love. But, if we didn’t give love, well, we’d pretty much not bounce at all, or get a bruised backside.
Well, I think this example makes as much sense as anything else out there–and perhaps gets us focused on the real important work that all great masters, teachers and prophets are aligned with: What are we doing with our lives?
I don’t want an “end-game” with my faith. I want my faith to keep growing. I want to always be engaged in helping #AllGodsChildren and #AllGodsCreatures… I don’t want to spend time fantasizing about walking through “pearly gates” or “streets of gold.” I want to keep reaping and harvesting and sowing… I want to be so deep in purpose and world change that I never think about an end, and especially not an end where I am sitting around singing hymns or floating on a cloud or surrounded by one particular religious group, etc.…
We have the Earth, which clearly was created by God, and sustains us and is our home. But it is the first thing we abuse and take for granted and the last thing we consider caring for… We act as if we can do anything to our beautiful planet Earth and she will just keep going… that we can pollute sky, land, mountains, seas and rivers, and then expect they will magically renew. It’s simply not that way and we’re running out of time…
Let’s look at life as a garden. Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi speaks of being a peace farmer. He actually has “Peace Farmer” on his business card; front and center, he proclaims: “This is who I am.”
Thinking of life as a garden that literally sustains us… is a really good analogy to live by. What you need to sustain a garden is what your soul needs to be sustained. Love, light, and water. Darkness dies with light. Love nurtures and grows. Water is a cleansing and healing source, and it also holds very spiritual connotations, as well as being described in many texts as standing for the mind and its three aspects: Thinking, personality, and emotion.
Man is different from all the other creatures on the planet because man is the thinker. But man’s thinking has gone dangerously dark and needs to be healed and nourished. Further damage has happened because the mind, like the body, needs healthy input and healthy food to be at peak performance, just like the Earth and animals. The more sickly the Earth and animals become, the worse off we all are, and so it goes… This is the downward spiral I often speak and write about that must be turned around. We must “flip” this downward spiral up. The only way we can do it is by taking the first step by committing our own lives to change and then connecting to each other so that change can ripple out around the world. Yes, we are all connected and we must all work this garden together…
Now, with the garden you must care for it regularly, which is good, because it’s just like children or pets, or anything you have to nurture and care for, anything you want to flourish and grow must be nurtured if it is to reap a good harvest. If you don’t care for the garden, the bad harvest is still what you reap. And, we are still accountable for that garden harvest, as in society’s harvest… We are all responsible for the outcomes of society, as together we accept norms, enforce laws, empower decisions, and often turn our backs on aspects of society only to blame a small group of people or aspect of society. We are all part of the problem, and we must all be part of the solution. Crime, for instance, does not happen in a void.
A New Garden of Eden…
What if we planted seeds of peace? What if we all worked at peace keeping and peace making as part of our “jobs” as peace farmers? And, when you think of it, we should be learning some real farming skills while we’re at it. Getting back to the Earth is good for us, the planet, and our communities, and supporting local markets and farmers is also important. Of course there could be many other peace jobs available: architect of peace, would be another good one. I wonder how many of our strengths and talents could be transformed into the new peace economy?
So, once you plant the seeds what happens next? Here is where God comes in and when you do the work of God, things grow–they grow in the Earth as well as in our minds. If we plants seeds of love and peace, we think and grow and embrace and consume peace and love. So, naturally, the outcomes from that will be peace and love… We could be growing communities of peace.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather be part of creating a world of love and light here on Earth, than waiting around for it all to be over and waiting on a reward for doing very little. If we are the garden of change and we are growing a peace economy, the rest will work itself out. I’m going to spend my time and thoughts and energy being the change here. I’ll work on my garden of peace here and now. If we can create peace on Earth, we will have created heaven here too… Will you join me?
The Conversation Grows and Continues with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Belief Series This Fall
It has been an incredible journey these last few weeks being invited through our Gandhi’s Be Magazine partner Sister Jenna with America Meditating Radio to join Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Belief Team to help build awareness and cultivate interfaith dialogue, leading up to the World Premiere of the seven-night BELIEF Series the week of October 18-24, 2015.
As we have joined Belief Team partners from across the country in conversations on sharing messages and leveraging our social networks, we have realized collectively that the time is here and the time is now. We have put ourselves in religious boxes, separating ourselves from one another for far too long. And we “BELIEVE” with the conversations that will begin to build out of the local screenings and interfaith dialogues that are scheduled to take place in cities across the country next week… that we can begin to break down walls and ideas of what God is or what God isn’t or what heaven is or what heaven isn’t or who is going to be there or who isn’t… Then we can finally begin to realize that #WeAreOne.
Love + Peace to #AllGodsChildren and #AllGodsCreatures #LetPeaceBeginWithMe #PeaceOnEarth
Peace, Love +Light,
Follow the Story on Missy Crutchfield Facebook page. For more information visit Gandhi’s Be Magazine www.BeMagazine.org and Gandhi Global Center for Peace www.GandhiCenterforPeace.org.