Thomas Berry Colloquium: a reflection by Les Hetherton

I base my reflection and appreciation of the Colloquium around Principle 3 from the Twelve Principles for understanding the Universe and the human place in it.: The three basic tendencies of the Universe at all levels of reality are differentiation, spontaneous self-organisation and bonding. These tendencies identify the reality, the values and the directions in which the Universe is proceeding.

How did this principle inform our participation?

Differentiation. Without difference there is no creation or expansion.

At the Colloquium, we all experienced diversity:

  • The bringing of soil from our special sacred places, the mingling, then later the distribution;
  • Ritual on the first evening celebrating the original and continuing flaring forth;
  • The presence to the sunrise on the next day and the celebration of the Solar system;
  • Hearing of the personal memories of Wendy Chew;
  • Opportunity for a variety of leaders from a range of grassroots backgrounds to facilitate the conversations;
  • Film records of Thomas communicating his thoughts;
  • Circle dance to express journey and interaction and fun with smiles;
  • Personal stories of journeys from awareness to deeper appreciation of Thomas and his insights;
  • The contribution of Playback Theatre to express in symbolic drama, key feelings and stories. The symbolic action and interactions touched us all.
  • There was awareness raised of Earth Law initiatives and the rights of the living planet.

Self-organisation: We heard the voices of so many.

The conference had the feel of a happening that just kept moving forward. It was not stamped by the style of a one-program manager, but by an inner group who spontaneously brought everyone into the event and touched head, hand and heart.

Bonding and communion: We had the opportunity to participate, and to be in community with kin.

There was variety of ages and backgrounds with each person enjoying the interaction and the opportunity to integrate the past the present and the future. Contacts, new and old, were made and projects for the future unfurled. I think especially of the initiative of the AELA and the Legal Rights of the Living Planet.

With thanks especially to Ann, Pat, Trevor and Peter for embodying, especially, the values of the Principle 3, the tendencies, the grammar of the Universe. You engaged us in an experience that was mutually enhancing.