Excerpt from Interview with Elizabeth Marglin
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QUESTION: What is your specific contribution to the emerging oneness, the collective wisdom, the luminous being that is the world?
LVL: If I have learned anything after half a century of spiritual practice, it is the power of love. And at this time of ecological crisis, as we are tearing apart the fragile web of life, there is a vital need for us to love the Earth, to bring her into our hearts and prayers. We have a spiritual as well as a physical responsibility for "our common home," and she is calling out to us, crying for our help and healing. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh:
Real change will only happen when we fall in love with our planet. Only love can show us how to live in harmony with nature and with each other and save us from the devastating effects of environmental destruction and climate change.
We need to reawaken to the power of love in the world. It is our love for the Earth that will heal what we have desecrated, that will guide us through this wasteland and help us to bring light back into our darkening world. Love links us all together in the most mysterious ways, and love can guide our hearts and hands. And the central note of love is oneness. Love speaks the language of oneness, of unity rather than separation.
Love can open us to our deep participation in the life of the whole; it can teach us once again how to listen to life, feel life's heartbeat, sense its soul. It can open us to the sacred within all of creation and can reconnect us with our primal knowing that the Divine is present in everything—in every breath, every stone, every animate and inanimate thing. In the oneness of love, everything is included, and everything is sacred.
And from there we can begin to respond. We cannot return to the simplicity of an indigenous lifestyle, but when we let love guide us we can become more aware of the oneness of life and recognize that how we are and what we do at an individual level affects the global environment, both outer and inner. We can learn how to live in a more sustainable way, according to a deeper understanding of sustainability that rests on an acknowledgment of the sacred within creation. We can live more simply, saying no to unnecessary material things in our outer lives. We can also work inwardly to heal the spiritual imbalance in the world. Our individual conscious awareness of the sacred within creation reconnects the split between spirit and matter within our own soul, and also—because we are so much more a part of the spiritual body of the Earth than we realize—within the soul of the world.
And as a simple practice, just as we pray for a sick friend or loved one, we can pray for the Earth. For example, we can simply imagine we place the world as a living being within our hearts when we inwardly remember the Divine, and, in our heart's awareness of the sorrow and suffering of the world, ask that divine love and healing flow where needed. Or we can simply offer the Earth within our hearts to God.
The crisis we face now is dire. The forces of greed and exploitation are more entrenched than we realize; the environmental collapse is accelerating. But it is also the moment for those who have heard the cry of the Earth, who care for its well-being and for the souls of future generations, to step into what they know and feel. It is an opportunity for us once again to take responsibility for the miracle and mystery of this living, sacred world.
QUESTION: What's the biggest surprise you've encountered on your spiritual path?
LVL: I have been surprised by how much we are loved. I would never have believed, when I began this journey half a century ago, that one could be loved so completely, totally in ways that are bewildering in their intimacy and intensity. I never believed that love could infuse every cell of the body as well as becoming a living presence within the heart. I had imagined that love was only to be found between people, parent and child, loving partners, but I discovered a loving and a landscape of love that belonged to an invisible beloved, a love that permeates everything, even more than the air we breathe. And this love grows and endures, bringing sweetness, intoxication, ecstasy, as well as a deep inner knowing that we belong to love, have come from love and will return to love.
QUESTION: What's a quote of your work that best sums up your essential truth?
LVL: "Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love draws us back to love, love uncovers love, love makes us whole and love takes us Home. In the depths of the soul we are loved by God. This is the deepest secret of being human, the bond of love that is at the core of our being and belongs to all that exists…."
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