As I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago, I believe that the story of the Garden of Eden is a ‘memory of the future. Since the day we humans made the choice to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and thus experience the rich spectrum of life which this fruit gave us, we have been on a journey back to Eden.
In his lecture for the 2014 Hay House World Summit, Alberto Villoldo PhD also talked about returning to Eden. He explained that South American shamans had taught him that the indigenous peoples of the world had never been kicked out of Eden. They continued to live in harmony with the Earth and all of the natural world. They had never severed their relationship with the Creator and all of Creation. Only Western humans did that. Indigenous people continued to live in bliss in Eden.
My understanding of the Garden of Eden story tells me that Eve and Adam and their descendants were not satisfied with just knowing intellectually that we lived in paradise; we had to experience the contrast. We wanted to really feel the effects of good and evil, and having come to know the difference, not only intellectually, but experientially, to have free will to choose between them. With each subsequent choice, we are getting closer to the return to Eden.
As we were made in the image and likeness of God, in each of our physical lives we are endeavouring to experience ourselves as that. Some of us have already experienced ourselves as evil, and having done so, we understand that this is not our true selves. Some of us haven’t had all of the same lessons as others and still think that in order to be God-like, we have to have power over others; we need to get ahead at others’ expense.
Neale Donald Walsch explained the way to look at our evil ways is to view the evil us as two-year-old children. As Jesus said: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Would you be angry with a two-year-old child who did something wrong? You would understand that they are doing the best they can with the knowledge that they have, and that given time and love, they will gain knowledge and understanding.
The indigenous peoples may have never left Eden, but they have never experienced anything else. Those of us who have left and are making our way back will know what we have when we get there. We will have made a conscious choice to be good instead of evil.
Ever since we left, we have been looking for pointers, for guideposts that mark the way back to Eden. God has provided many of them.
There have been many prophets and saintly people who provided us with examples of ways to be, which if we followed them would lead us in the direction of Eden. I believe Jesus is the greatest of these. I think it is unfortunate that the Christian church has often overshadowed the teachings of Jesus with such dogma and peripheral doctrines, that its followers sometimes miss Jesus’ guideposts.
Eve and Adam, and perhaps those indigenous people who remained in Eden, communicated directly with the Creator. They hadn’t experienced the separation which came to exist between God and her people. However, even those who thought they were separated from him, could find God in her creation.
The author of Psalm 104 certainly did:
…O Lord my God, thou art very great!
Thou art clothed with honor and majesty,
who coverest thyself with light as with a garment,
who hast stretched out the heavens like a tent,
who hast laid the beams of thy chambers on the waters,
who makest the clouds thy chariot,
who ridest on the wings of the wind,
who makest the winds thy messengers,
fire and flame thy ministers….
This man found a source of strength in the understanding that God provides for all: water for the trees, a nesting place for the birds, mountains for the wild goats, and plants, bread, and even wine, for humans.
In the early days of science, just like the psalmist, humans went looking for signs of God in nature. They knew that as they learned more about nature they could learn more about the God who created it.
As science progressed, however, they forgot what they were looking for. Instead of finding guideposts and pointers that would direct them towards their return to Eden, they started to lead people in the opposite direction. Scientists began to see nature as completely separate to humans, as a force to be mastered, its power harnessed to increase the power of those already in power. The separation between humans and God became so great that God no longer existed to them.
I believe that the tide is now beginning to turn. People of science, such as Gregg Braden, are beginning to turn around and point us back in the direction we need to go if we want to find our way back to Eden. He is helping us to notice the guideposts which science has already discovered and to encourage us to search for more.
As we focus our attention on the natural world with love and gratitude instead of greed and selfishness, we are sure to see the pointers which God has placed there for us. We don’t need to have a scientific bent to notice the guideposts; we just need to have an open mind and an open heart.
Where once people’s lives were ruled by the seasons, the stars, and the tides, many of us today scarcely notice their passing. Have you taken the time lately to notice the constellations or the phases of the moon?
What shape can you see in that cloud that is passing overhead? What does the recurring sight of butterflies mean? If a snake crosses your path in the middle of its season of hibernation, what is it trying to tell you?
There is wisdom to be gained from, not only what we see in the natural world, but what we hear. If you hear the sound of running water, where there isn’t any, what is its lesson? If the sound of crows follows you wherever you go, what is their message?
As you begin to listen to the natural world, to hear the birds in the trees, or the rustle of leaves in the wind, you will begin to hear the wisdom that it has to offer. If you sit beneath a tree and listen, what could it tell you?
As you start to listen to the wisdom within the natural world, you will begin to reduce the perceived separation between yourself and nature. As you narrow the gap between yourself and God’s creation, you are narrowing the gap between yourself and the Creator.
One day, when you are sitting listening for what the tree has to tell you, or what the bird has to sing about, you will notice it is not the tree or the bird that is talking to you, but God.
One day, you will find yourself back in Eden.
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net