Climate Change Action As a Spiritual Practice

I wish I were a nun. Living in a convent, in a white room with a single bed, a red tile floor and a small, high window looking out onto a mountain. Spending early mornings in mediation and prayer. Communal meals in silence. Contemplation. A community of seekers. My life, an expression of joy and contentment through service.

I crave quiet and simplicity. Fresh mountain air, a communal dinner table spread with a feast of fresh cooked vegetables. I long for discipline and rigor and community action informed by a deeply rooted spiritual practice.

Then I emerge from my reverie and remember that I am Jewish, living a secular life in the middle of a big, noisy city, with a mountain outside my window obscured by a murky haze. There is no convent, no habit, no church bells or incense. There is no communal dinner table.

And so I’ve had to improvise. Make my own way, re-imagine the path to the abiding eternal. Open myself to the possibility of a spiritual path of a different shape, and a different form.

Yet and still, a path that is rooted in a purpose-full life. One larger and grander than my small life. A purpose that is urgent enough to wake me up, capture my full attention and open my heart. A purpose that transforms.

For a brief moment, I inhabited that essential space. In the midst of having breast cancer, I found myself unbearably surrendered to the uncertainty of my existence. Everything shifted. I became laser like. Letting go of the superfluous. My words became incisive. My actions like arrows always hitting the mark. As though I had been sharpened. I was gleaming. Glistening. The extraneous dropped away. Life became immediate.

The irony was that when I recovered my health, that amazing grace slipped away. And the ache has been to find my way back to that experience.

And then it became obvious. Climate change is my spiritual path. It is larger and grander than my small life. It is urgent. It calls on me to laser focus. To let go of the superfluous. It makes life immediate.

I am grateful for this larger than life challenge. It is my convent, my contemplation, my service. It is my mountain. I don’t know where it will take me. One foot in front of the other. One moment at a time. Here. Now. With a community of change makers, in service to the earth and all her inhabitants. I am most grateful.          




9 comments on “Climate Change Action As a Spiritual Practice

  1. What powerful words and reflections Davia! As always, thank you for sharing such a compelling reflection on the equivalence of climate advocacy being a spiritual practice. It’s such a wonderful new way of coloring the shared work we’re all engaged in!

    • Davia, you may not understand that you are called to this part. What is spiritualism after all..knowing that God exists and giving all service to benefit the whole. Leaving anyplace you find your self better than you met it including planet earth. Thank you for your enlightement.

  2. I am certain climate activism saved me from depression and made it possible for me to enjoy the present again. I’d say that’s a good spiritual path. But, as usual, you;’ve put it in such a heart-stopping way, Davia.

  3. What a great piece! Thank you! It reminds me of what Paul Hawken said on the call this weekend, that climate change is happening, not TO us, but FOR us. As an agnostic, I’m suspicious of ascribing meanings to events, as if there is a Divine Conductor who is orchestrating our lives. But I have no problem with the idea that, inherent in certain crises is the seed of a greater, better self/community/species. Life is like a refiner’s fire.

  4. Wow, last Sunday at a Quaker Meeting I arrived at the same discovery, that climate solutions are my spiritual path. And yes, how empowering. You say it so beautifully, Davia. As always, thank you.

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