Bob Brown & Thomas Berry

Today I preside at a Celebration of Life for my late mother’s best friend’s husband, Dr. Robert Brown, long-time professor at Dalhousie University. The celebration will be held on campus. When I was reflecting on Bob’s life and work I was drawn to the writings of Thomas Berry. I don’t know if Bob ever read Berry, I doubt he did. But if he did I know Bob would have appreciated Berry’s intellectual bent but more importantly the way Berry connects the relationship with the Earth and how that human connection to creation helps ground who we human truly are.

Using Berry’s own words is more helpful so I share these insights today:

"We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe. All the disasters that are happening now are a consequence of that…

"In our totality we are born of the Earth. Our spirituality itself is earth-derived…If there is no spirituality in the earth, then there is no spirituality in ourselves"

"The natural world itself is our primary language as it is our primary scripture, our primary awakening to the mysteries of existence. We might well put all our written scriptures on the shelf for twenty years until we learn what we are being told by unmediated experience of the world about us".

Look up at the sky- The heavens so blue, the sun so radiant, The clouds so playful, the soaring raptors, The meadows in bloom, the woodland creatures, The rivers singing their way to the sea, Wolf song on the land, whale song in the sea, Celebration everywhere, wild, riotous, Immense as a monsoon lifting an ocean of joy And spilling it down over the Appalachian Landscape, Drenching us all with a deluge of delight As we open our arms and rush toward each other, You and I and all of us, Moved by that vast compassionate Presence That brings all things together in intimate Celebration, Celebration that is the universe itself.

"There is no inner world without the outer world."

"Earth seems to be a reality that is developing with the simple aim of celebrating the joy of existence."

The barrier between the western mode of consciousness and the natural world.