The choice for widening our range of response to the life of the Earth is one that all are being called to. It is the essential step before the realization of that unity and harmony that all wish for but do not know how to bring about.
One cannot act unless the reason for doing so is ‘real’ to the self. One can create false actions that do not come from an authentic place, and one can create imitative actions in order to win approval or gain adherents and support. But one cannot act authentically unless the source of action and the reason for acting are perceived as ‘real.’
There is a mystery connected with this, with the decision to act or to not act. It lies in the fact that motivation evolves. It is not static. What was not ‘real’ to us ten years ago can become, ten years later, a central focus of our life. This evolving rhythm of motivation, its ebb and flow, has everything to do with how one perceives reality, and in turn, how one becomes not only an observer of change but an agent of change.
This applies to life within the self and also to life within the world.
When we allow others or the collective life of the planet to become more ‘real’ and more central to us, we not only awaken to a larger reality. We also have more choice about shaping that reality. We can only shape what we are fully present to. We can only effect change if we are not detached from what we wish to change.
The choice for expanding ‘degrees of reality’ has a great bearing on our relationship with the Earth. Some of us have created a small circle around ourselves in which events, persons, and situations feel intensely real and intensely meaningful. For others, that same circle is larger, applying to the planet as a whole and to one’s place within it. In the latter group are those who hold the body of the Earth to be as ‘real’ as one’s own body, as alive and as vulnerable as one’s own body.
‘Degrees of reality’ are defined by a spectrum, by a range of response. At the low end, events affect us hardly at all. They are not perceived as mattering much in a personal way. One may feel distant from such events, believing that they do not concern oneself and being willing to allow them to not concern oneself. The willingness is the choice. It is the choice to keep one’s perspective limited to the familiar for purposes of stability and security.
At the other end of the spectrum, we allow others and the world to have an impact on our emotional, mental, and physical life, embracing our oneness with the world that we live in. Ideally, we achieve a balance between the ‘degree of reality’ we accord to internal events, and the ‘degree of reality’ we permit the larger world of people and events to hold in our life. This balance is not based on a separation between the two. It is based on a deep recognition that the inner reality and the outer reality are one. The world of others cannot but be present for us. The Earth cannot but be present for us since we are part of it. But how we hold it is determined by the ‘degree of reality’ we give to each.
The spectrum of ‘degrees of reality’ is not fixed. We can choose to allow more in, and we can also choose to narrow or confine what we perceive as ‘real.’ We can allow others who have seemed foreign to us to move into our awareness with greater reality. Doing so brings greater love. Increasing our perceptual range within the spectrum of ‘degrees of reality’ allows us to love more, for it is only when we know something that we can truly love it. When we are distant, when we are detached from it, we become cooler and more indifferent.
The Earth is waiting for us to awaken to a heightened ‘degree of reality’ that we are capable of feeling toward Her. She is waiting for us to allow Her to become as central in our life as our own bodies, as our own children. She is asking us to accord her greater reality in our life. We may not have known that this was possible because we were not thinking in terms of ‘degrees of reality,’ but once having noticed this, once having assessed this, we can change Her position on the spectrum of what we hold to be most real.
‘Degrees of reality’ affect everything we see, everything we touch, everything we do. They create the shape of life for us in its intensity and in its meaning. They allow us to be fully present or to remain at a distance from others and from the rest of life. The choice for widening our range of response to the life of the Earth is one that all are being called to. It is the essential step before the realization of that unity and harmony that all wish for but do not know how to bring about. One may start within a narrowed range of ‘degrees of reality’ that we accord to the rest of life, and increase the span of that range by choosing to be more alive, more present, more responsible to life. This is the critical choice for our time, and the shape of the future of the Earth may be seen to depends upon it.