GreenSpirit ebook series 2013
Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain
Everyone has a story that tells us who they are, where they come from and how they came to be. Cultures, too, have their stories. Many of these we know as myths, as ancient ways of explaining how our world and its creatures came into existence. Throughout history, each cultural group has had a creation story or myth to guide them through life’s uncertainties and difficulties.
For us in the modern, Western world, there was no single, coherent creation story until science was finally able to start uncovering for us the true saga of our own beginnings. It is a story that spans billions of years, from the original fireball that became our planet to the slow shaping of its contours and the even slower emergence and gradual development of life forms, from the simplest to the most complex.
The Universe Story, from the big bang 13 billion years ago through to today, is a profoundly important story. As these authors describe it: “The story of the Universe is the epic unfolding of the world, an evolutionary tale of awesome scope. It speaks of unity and diversity, of desire and curiosity, of wonder and awe. It speaks of creativity and imagination, of death, destruction and transformation. It is the story of science. It is the story of spirit. It is the story of all beings, extinct, present and yet to be born. It is a sacred story that, once known, has the power to inspire our species into becoming the species we were born to be.”
In the first section of this book, Greg Morter describes the whole evolutionary journey as revealed to us by science and he does so both succinctly and superbly. In the second section, Niamh Brennan takes over to explain why the story is so relevant for our time and to speak beautifully and eloquently of the many inspirations we can draw from it.
The story recounted by Greg, “… is the facts gained through empirical observation and experiment. But what,” asks Niamh, “… is the meaning of this story? What might we, a humanity who struggles with our place and our role in this vast Universe, take it to mean?
She explains that the discoveries we have now made about our origins “…demand that we re-envision our sense of self and that we re-think what it means to be human …The information is challenging but just as the Universe expands, so too can our minds expand and with them, maybe even our hearts. It is no longer viable to see the world as static and unchanging, as inanimate and mechanical.
The story has shown, for example, that since we all come from the same source—the original fireball—connection and relationship are fundamental to our existence. We are the products of an incredibly creative process, which means that creativity and imagination are hardwired into us all, along with a sense of the passage of time, an awareness of death and destruction and a huge capacity for awe. “Our ability to wonder lies connected to the desire and the ability of the Universe to know itself. Our wonder and awe are transformed into curiosity and it is through curiosity that we learn about the world, that we have learned this story. The more we learn, the more we realize how deep into the history of the world we go, how entangled we are with every living system, how sacred the journey that the Universe has taken, how precious the gift of life. It is wonder, our ability to be astounded that will open us to this 14 billion year old adventure, that will allow us to be humble in the face of its unfolding, that will allow us to be generous in the receipt of its abundance, that will allow us to be loving in its bestowal of participation and that will allow us to be grateful in the observance of its mystery.”
This is a beautiful little book that I hope all GreenSpirit members will download and read—and with any luck a lot of non-members will discover and read it also.
This book is free for GreenSpirit members (in the members area of the GreenSpirit website). Or click here to buy the book online.