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How can we get out of our own selfishness, unless we see that other lives matter each and every day?

Quote of the Day: The Patriarch Bartholomew once said, “The root cause of all our [environmental] difficulties lies’ in human selfishness and sin (literally, missing the mark.) What is asked of us is not greater technological skill, but deeper metanoia, (literally, a transformation of mind and heart.) …we need a new way of thinking about ourselves, our relationship with creation, and the Creator.”

Commentary: When Bartholomew talks about a new way of thinking, I sense that it is heart + mind contemplative thought, as Bob Dylan once alluded to in his gospel song, Gonna Change My Sway of Thinking”. It will be “new” not in the sense that it breaks with the “old” perennial wisdom traditions of many cultures, but it asks us to see the world freshly, newly every day.

My friend Greg once said, “I’ve walked by that tree a thousand times, but I’ve never seen that particular oak, never got near to the soul of this oak.” Each of us could confess that same “missing the mark” with nine-tenths of the individual people, plants or animals that we come into contact with each day. How can we get out of our own selfishness unless we see that other lives matter each and every day?

Suggested Action #36:  When you go out to walk this day, reach out toward one person, tree or bird that you pass by every day without offering them any attentiveness. Stop yourself dead in your tracks, look, listen and absorb. What have we previously missed? How is Creation itself dismissed or wounded by such dismissals? How do we open or minds and hearts to those we have frequently ignored?


Gary Paul Nabhan aka Brother Coyote is a professed member of the Ecumenical Order of Franciscans, a graduate of the Living School, a conservation biologist, orchard-keeper and story-teller.


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