Nature Meditation #22 – Community in Nature

This week I selected the topic of ‘Community’ for the meditation. This is a crucial theme in nature but hard for many of us to grasp. How is it possible that every type of creature is truly needed on this planet, and then we all depend on each other?

There’s a song in The Lion King called “The Circle of Life.” Community is what that song is about. It has to do with connections, it has to do with relationships. We are all connected to one another, and to the world around us. We all depend upon each other. Here’s what some of our leaders, poets and scientists have written about nature and community.

“No Man is an Island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” – John Donne, Meditation XVII

“Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mold myself?” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“Whether the universe is atoms or a system, let this first be established: I am a part of the whole which is governed by nature.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“As soon as we take one thing by itself, we find it hitched to everything in the universe.” – John Muir, Journals

“Rain does not fall on one roof alone.” – Cameroon Proverb

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” – Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

“No individual is isolated. He who is sad, saddens others.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “Flight to Arras” 

“If we all treated others as we wish to be treated ourselves, then decency and stability would have to prevail. I suggest that we execute such a pact with our planet.” – Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History Magazine

“Man is whole when he is in tune with the wind, the stars and the hills as well as with his neighbors. Being in tune with the apartment or the community is part of the secret, being in tune with the universe is the entire secret.” – William O. Douglas, My Wilderness

These writers have come to see that nature is all about connections. Just like a genealogy, lines can be drawn between the eaters and the eaten, the shelters and the sheltered, the sustenance and the sustained. These lines represent successes, the ability to thrive. When we forget that those threads exist everywhere, between every living thing on earth, the web of threads that connects us all begins to unravel.

This week, take a minute to consider how you fit into the community of nature. What resources do you use every day? What do you depend on? Where do these resources come from? Find the natural sources needed to create everything you eat, use, or wear. The internet may come in handy!

If you undertake this task, prepare to fill up a notebook, for the list soon becomes lengthy! And remember – we are all connected in the web of life. We are a COMMUNITY.

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