Our Place In The Cosmos
Volume XIX Number 1

Table of Contents

  • Religion and Spirituality in Africa, Part II
  • Reflections
  • To the Divine Mother
  • Activities
  • Spiritual Practices Poetry
  • Lives Of Spiritual Unfolding
  • Resources
  • Inspirational Thoughts

Imagine a fenced-in vacant lot in a busy city. One passerby thinks, "What a shame, this could be a beautiful garden!" Another says, "What a valuable piece of real estate - it should be generating money!" Another says, "Oh, I wish I could play in there!" Meantime, the lot with its rich soil, stones and puddles sustains a thriving community of birds, stray cats, weeds, wild flowers, rats and insects.

Are human beings the center of everything, the most important element? What is our place in the life of Earth, in the solar system and in the vastness beyond, which we human beings are just beginning to explore? In this issue of Seeds we turn our attention to these questions. To the cultural anthropologist Boubacar Traore, the Cosmos represents harmony, its myriad life forms contributing to its dynamic equilibrium. He says, "And life is energy, energy of the being, not only of human beings, but energy of the being - participation." In the section Lives of Spiritual Unfolding, we see how Albert Schweitzer struggled with these questions. Although he dedicated his life to serving the well-being of other people, he was conscious that we human beings are only a small part of the reality we know. His love and concern had to encompass more than the human world. In his search for a way to respond, he discovered the underlying ethic "reverence for life" and lived it in practical ways. In Resources, two books are reviewed that encourage us to look at the natural world in new ways. The Holy Order of Water, by William E. Marks, examines the nature of this mysterious substance, focusing on its life-giving properties, and leads the reader to recognize his/her intimate relationship with it.

Eco-Geography, by Andreas Suchantke, urges us to open our eyes and use our imaginations to see a landscape as the expression of the interplay of all its living and nonliving parts, and to understand nature as a language conveying meaning. We hope that the articles in this issue challenge you to think deeply about our place in the Universe. In our spiritual work, we make the effort to expand our sense of who we are beyond our personal selves and to participate consciously, in some small way, in the life of all human beings. Can we expand this sense of participation beyond the human realm? The wonder we feel when we contemplate the stupendous reality of which we are a part inspires us to live intelligently and with responsibility not only towards our fellow human beings, but also towards other forms of life, Earth itself and what lies beyond it.

What opportunities do we see in the vacant lot?

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