Volume 2, Issue 2 Editorial

In a recent discussion on the futility of recycling without an awareness of re-using, a parent remarked on his joy at sending a Weetie box to school with his child and seeing it come home as a dragon. This practical example is indicative of an awareness of the true meaning of the term ‘goods’ that we apply to so many of the products we use. In reality all is gift and carries value in multitudinous guises.  This wisdom is innate in indigenous peoples who still have their roots in country and many westerners who have strong memories, often as a result of hard economic times, when attitudes to possessions were forcibly one of care and frugality. Today, this wisdom is evident in an ever growing number who are choosing pathways toward simplicity that free the heart to embrace a new depth of awareness and appreciation of the web of life in all its intricacies.

As we are bombarded with the madness and devastation of the frenetic search for gas and coal across this land, we are appalled at the wanton destruction not only of areas of extraordinary beauty, but also of fertile food producing soil. Most of this myopic activity will result in fuelling further devastation of Earth’s systems and the growth of the global ‘must have’ culture. Alongside this eyes are closed to the natural and renewable sources of clean energy and to the resources, already available, to meet our needs into the future. From this perspective our country has lost its soul and we will not find it until we understand the need to restore the human to the Earth community and develop, in Thomas Berry’s words, ‘mutually enhancing’ relationships between ourselves and the more than human world.

The theme of this edition is Less can be more and you will find encouraging and inspirational reflections on the joy of simple and uncluttered living in the complexity of our acquisitive culture.

Many dreamers and practitioners are envisaging a world where economy means enriching the lives of all and where work is not only a service to the local community but a means of self-fulfilment and an integration of spiritual experience with daily life. The Yolngu peoples of North East Arhnemland have sustained a continuous culture of self-sufficiency in relationship with their country for thousands of years, albeit with adaptations forced by the arrival of white settlers. Karen Alexander told some of their story in the Spring 2010 edition of EarthSong and it is good to again have the voice of Mapuru heard in this edition through the Postcard of John Greatorex.

Samuel Alexander asks ‘what business is more important than the business of spiritual exploration?’ and crafts a position for voluntary simplicity as a graceful option. He describes spirituality as ‘the thoughtful love of life that arises out of an openness to mystery’ and the story of the ‘Fisherman’ surely exemplifies this as we read of one ordinary man’s mysticism. In the pages about children’s play and exploration we can imagine the nurturing of this same spirit and our interviewees exemplify the fruits of personal commitment to this path.

Much can be gleaned from human endeavour and practice over time and Robert Millar offers philosophical insights into the process of detachment that enable a person to become more receptive to ‘free beauty’ and so experience that nothing can be everything. From another perspective, Anthony James examines the delusion that material growth can be infinite and offers examples of moving from contradiction to coherence and don’t miss Kim Fleming’s evocative art work that accompanies his article.

While working in the field of ecology and spirituality especially with mature adults, we hear with great frequency questions about the connection between the new integral consciousness and traditional Christian beliefs. Hence we welcome Jan Morgan as a regular contributor and her first reflection under the title of ‘Are there roots that hold’. This promises to be a rich area of conversation and we welcome comments from readers. Indeed your comments, insights and experiences in relation to any of the contents of the journal are always welcome.

As we ponder the opportunities that living simply presents not only for our own sense of wellbeing but with an urgency for the wellbeing of all, we can be motivated by each page of this edition. In so doing we will do well to  strive for Samuel Alexanders hope that ‘by reconnecting people with nature as a source of inspiration and nourishment, the simple life may provide a welcome anecdote to the spiritual malaise that seems to be afflicting consumer cultures today’.

Anne Boyd, Editor