Arbor/Earth Day is celebrated this year in Thousand Oaks on Saturday, April 9. It’s a day to focus on our planet and how we can take care of it.
In the public discussion of how to best steward our planet, there is a vital aspect that is often not included: the spiritual nature of stewardship. We often forget that it is the expression of spiritual qualities such as love, brotherhood, sharing, appreciation and unselfishness that best care for not only ourselves, but also our earth. And it follows that it is the lack of these qualities that harm it.
We have all witnessed the destructive results of indifference, selfishness and greed, whether in a person mindlessly throwing trash on the ground, a corporation spewing pollution in the air or water, or a government refusing to stop the destruction of old-growth forests for financial gain.
Many people are becoming more aware of the connection between our thinking and the care of the planet. And many people are taking action.
One way I begin is analogous to a gardener’s task of weeding his garden. I start by “weeding my mental garden.” I try to do this daily by first becoming aware of my thinking and then consciously choosing which thoughts are worth keeping. I try to refuse entry to unkindness, hatred, fear and selfishness, and I strive to let my life be more an expression of spiritual qualities.
One of Jesus’ parables about the wheat and tares seems to relate directly to this process of weeding. In the parable, a farmer sows wheat, but while he is sleeping, an enemy sows tares, or weeds. The farmer is told to let them grow ‘til the harvest when the wheat can be gathered for storage in a barn and the tares can be gathered for destruction.
To me, this says, first of all, be alert to know the difference between the wheat (spiritual thoughts) and the tares (material thoughts). Secondly, we must learn how to separate the two, the spiritual or wheat for useful purposes and the tares or selfish material thinking for elimination. This is not just a mental exercise, but also a spiritual discipline that God helps us to practice. This discipline to me is part of a science — Christian Science. This science is the law of God, which holds the universe intact.
Mary Baker Eddy in her foundational book on spiritual healing, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” says of the tares and wheat:
“The inharmonious and self-destructive never touch the harmonious and self-existent. These opposite qualities are the tares and wheat, which never really mingle, though (to mortal sight) they grow side by side until the harvest; then, Science separates the wheat from the tares, through the realization of God as ever present and of man as reflecting the divine likeness.”
I like thinking of all mankind as reflecting the divine likeness, and I like knowing that God is ever present. These ideas, along with the discipline of separating the tares from the wheat in thought, have power. They can transform our mental and physical environments. They can help us be better stewards of our planet.
— Brenda Evers, Thousand Oaks