Mother Earth and the Field of Living Presence
The other day this web site featured an article about a scientific discovery that the Earth has what scientists seemed delighted to call a heartbeat. There’s actually a more scientific nomenclature for this phenomenon, but I like heartbeat. Doesn’t it have a kind of warming effect on you? It does on me. But, aside from that, why do I like this term?
Our usual reference to the heart is the precious organ which provides life sustaining blood and oxygen to all parts of the body. From this perspective we see it as the central life-giving organ without which we would not survive – the physical heart. This amazing organ, which starts beating before we’re born and continues until the day the physical body dies, is a seemingly tireless engine of physical life. Think Gaia.
In another sense we often think of the heart metaphorically as being the center of things, as in a core or concentration of activity or energy that radiates outward from its center. We often like to say, “the heart of the matter”, when we refer to the most important aspect of something. Think Gaia.
So, now even the scientists are saying that Mother Earth has a heartbeat. This is good. It’s good that even the scientists are beginning to use anthropomorphic language for Gaia. It goes back to the ‘heart-warming’ thing I mentioned. But the fact that Gaia is a living organism is not really news to anyone who is even somewhat awakened to the vibrant nature of Mother Earth; and it is especially not newsworthy to those of us who have actually ‘felt’ the alive energy of Gaia.
I would like to propose that all three perspectives of ‘heart’ I’ve suggested above in this article be considered as being equally important when speaking about Mother Earth as a living entity. I feel this is significant, not only when discussing the heartbeat of Gaia but, also in terms of the heartbeat of life itself. More on this later.
The first aspect, the rhythmical pulsation of a physical organ, is fundamental to understanding Gaia and our relationship to her. She’s a living organism. She moves and pulsates with life. She sustains life. She creates a living environment for life to flourish. It’s this fact that she’s a living organism, with a heartbeat, that explains how she upholds all life on this planet. And her heartbeat has now been observed and explained scientifically. No surprise.
The second aspect, the heart as the center of things, is equally fundamental, and equally observable. Gaia is our living ‘spaceship’. She is the center of life for all living things on earth. Where would we be without her? How long would we survive without her life-giving presence?
And as for Gaia as the ‘heart of the matter’ – the most important aspect of something – in this case, what could be a more important factor to life on this planet than Gaia herself. And keep in mind that the Latin word, mater, is the root of both physical matter, and mother. (1) She herself could not be the ‘heart of the matter’ without being a living organism – life on this planet, in fact, would not be possible otherwise.
The last thing I leave you with, and probably the most important aspect of Gaia as a living organism with her own heartbeat, is what this metaphor points to. The persistent, rhythmical, pulsating energy of life that radiates from Gaia, Mother Earth, is a living pointer to the eternal, rhythmical pulsation of Life itself.
In fact, the whole universe is pulsating with life. We live on Mother Earth and we can feel her heartbeat if we take the time to ‘tune in’ to it. But Gaia, as much as we accept her as a living organism, and in fact, as much as we even honour her as such, is still only one aspect of the infinite field of Living Presence.
The entire manifestation is alive, even the so-called inanimate objects. A living, breathing, pulsating Mother Earth is a living reminder of the greater aliveness that permeates the entire universe. And just as Gaia is a mother, or a matrix for life in her environs, so is the infinite field of Living Presence a living, pulsating matrix of all life.
Becoming more sensitive to the subtle energies around us, we might begin to sense the living pulsation of Mother Earth, Gaia. I would further suggest that this living heartbeat of Gaia can be a portal into the throb or pulsation of the infinite field of Living Presence; the eternal field within which Gaia, and all living things, live.
(1) Mother, mater, matter.