Spring and the Promise of the Sixth World

Th Green Wold of VermontI’ve spent most of the weekend on my back, cold and hot compresses glued to my right eyelid. Thursday I had reconstructive surgery on my eyelid. It took all of twenty-five minutes! Recovery takes three weeks.

Over the weekend the Natural world burst into Spring. The living world’s  recovery from winter has taken many weeks . Now, with the arrival of rain, our increasingly desperate dryness has eased, and the plant world has rushed into leaf! Even the trillium in our wildflower garden have bloomed their deep maroon, their flowers hanging low in the rain.

Last night, our much loved friend, Susan Grimaldi drove the ninety minutes to our home to join us for supper. Actually, she brought supper,  an act of love and compassion we will long remember. Susan has been working on her project with Mongolian shamans. She is excited that her next trip, in collaboration with her  colleague, John Lawrence, will again be partially sponsored by The Explorer’s Club.  Susan’s and John’s work is deeply moving, tremendously exciting, and does real and lasting good. We keep promising each other we will sit down and tape a video interview to share with you.

Yesterday was Earth Day. There are many people, like John and Susan, around the world working on projects that seek to help us make the transition to correct relationship with the planet. Some are working on social justice issues, others environmental issues, and still others issues of spirit. Of course, there is no clear distinction between these. Who can tell where one stops and another begins?

The first Earth Day spawned a sense in people, across the country and around the world, that we could change the destructive course of human kind. Looking back, I am amazed at how much we have accomplished in just forty years. At the same time,  I am, as I know you are, aware that we may not make the transition in time to save humanity as a species. On my bad days I worry and fret, and feel profoundly saddened by this. Fortunately, I am reminded repeatedly by the actions of Susan and a host of others that there is hope.

Beyond hope I hold the ancient remembrance that we are in the Fourth or Fifth World, depending on who is counting. Each time, after The People became too arrogant and lost compassion for each other and the Earth, the Earth remade herself, forcing us into exile in her deep interior. Each time, after a long journey in the dark, our foreparents found an opening on to the Earth’s surface and life began again. There was suffering and woe, yet there was also rebirth.

It is the ancient knowledge of the shamans, healers, and elders that we have passed through these initiations before. We have also gone through long difficult journeys in this middle world: the Trail of Tears, the Guadalcanal Death March, the Navajo Relocation,  the trains to the Death Camps, the desperately cold and snowy trail from Wounded Knee, among others from all continents. We may well find ourselves once again walking the dark pathways of the interior of Pachamama, Mother Earth. We must remember that after a long time in the wilderness, we will come to the  Sixth World. Whether that journey will be a conscious choice, or the path that follows destruction, is yet to be known.

2 thoughts on “Spring and the Promise of the Sixth World

  1. Hi Michael: Wishing you a speedy recovery. I appreciate your words here very much. I would like to share a stunning poem by Joanna Macy, that was presented in the most recent edition of Inquiring Mind (Vol 28, Spring, 2012) in honor of Earth Day.

    Prayer to Future Beings

    You live inside us, beings of the future.
    In the spiral ribbons of our cells, you are here.
    In our rage for the burning forests, the poisoned fields,
    the oil-drowned seals,
    you are here.
    You beat in our hearts through late-night meetings.

    You accompany us to clear-cuts and toxic dumps
    and the halls of the lawmakers.
    It is you who drive our dogged labors to save what is left.

    O you, who will walk this Earth when we are gone,
    stir us awake.
    Behold through our eyes the beauty of this world.
    Let us feel your breath in our lungs, your cry in our throat.
    Let us see you in the poor, the homeless, the sick.
    Haunt us with your hunger, hound us with your claims,
    that we may honor the life that links us.

    You have as yet no face we can see, no names we can say.
    But we need only hold you in our mind, and you teach us
    You attune us to measures of time where healing can happen,
    where soil and soul can mend.

    You reveal courage within us we had not suspected,
    love we had not owned.
    O you who come after, help us remember: we are your
    Fill us with gladness for the work that must be done.

    —-Joanna Macy

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