Full Body Listening: Reflections on Life, Healing and the Ecozoic

An Evening With Thomas Berry

Thursday October 13, 2011

The Work That Heals

I sat in the audience, the autumn night cool, during Piedmont Bioregional Institute’s conference at Camp New Hope, listening and scribbling. The cadence of Thomas’s words, his resonant voice, even in his elder years always mesmerized me. I can’t hope to convey all of that, but this is what I wrote as I absorbed his Ecozoic thoughts in November 2002.

Every atom is in constant connection, influencing every other atom without passing through the intervening space. We don’t know how to explain this deep connection. We wouldn’t be who we are unless the Universe is as it is.

We need to ground ourselves in the recognition that EVERYTHING has rights of being. The US Constitution is wonderful for humans, but devastating for everything else. Everything has these rights:

TO BE, FOR HABITAT, and TO FULFILL ITS ROLE IN ITS OWN COMMUNITY.

Everything needs to be represented, or humans will destroy themselves and everything else.

At this point, Thomas led our group of fifty or so, into our Joanna Macy refers to as the “moral imagination”, a moment of birthing for Ecozoic awareness.

Thomas said: Let us settle into an evening ritual together.

I invite you, from the Silence inside yourself to imagine you can let go of your unique human perspective and allow your deep connection to all other beings of Nature to call you.

It might be a plant, a creature of air, water, or land . . . big or small . . . lichen or an eagle . . . a whale or a beetle.

Then imagine that you are in your own unique world. You have beetle or wolf eyes, hawk senses. Or, if you are a rock, you have rock senses. As a rock, an eagle, a beetle, you have rock, eagle, beetle rights to:

Be

To Habitation

To Fulfill Your Role in Community

Imagine that you could begin to speak, and as you speak from your center – your soul – that every other being could hear you and respond to you. If only, you could find your VOICE.

And you look inside and it just opens up, without any effort.

Suddenly there is a new wave of UNDERSTANDING arising in the Universe, and you are at its birth -when all Beings’ rights are recognized.

So let us move together with our voices, our bodies: touching each other with who we are- even as the wolf pack does, creating a weaving together of sound and movement.

Thomas passed this life peacefully on June 1, 2009, yet his voice co-rises with each new Ecozoic voice, as we grapple with how to each create the work that heals, that makes for a sustainable future for all of Earth’s inhabitants.

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