Gaia and the Planet Earth

Sep 17, 2019 by

Gaia and the Planet Earth

Back in the 1970s, James Lovelock came up with a scientific theory about the planet, to which he gave the name The Gaia Theory. Little did he know how this would take off and be adopted in by ecologists and environmentalists to describe the nature of the biosphere as a living entity. Basically, his theory was that the biosphere behaves as if it is a living organism. It self-regulates and maintains a delicate balance that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. He named the idea after Gaia, the primordial goddess who personified the Earth in Greek mythology. If he’d called it the Lovelock Theory, it might have sunk without trace!
Naming his theory after Gaia spoke directly into many religious traditions that see the earth as a living entity, with a god or goddess embodying it. ‘Mother Nature’ is another expression of this. Within the teachings of the Perennial Wisdom tradition, that is exactly how it is seen.

This touches in on the idea of consciousness as the universal informational domain from which all material reality emerges. Consciousness can be seen as another term for God in this way of thinking. There is only one consciousness and all matter exists in this divine matrix of consciousness, and hence all matter has some elementary consciousness of its own. For instance, experiments have shown that plants share in consciousness to some degree and will react to other plants being mistreated and to their owners. In this mode of thinking, the Earth itself has a form of consciousness. Not the same as ours but it is still part of the consciousness of God and has an aliveness and beingness of a much greater nature than our little lives, though we are part of it.

There are many esoteric writings putting forward the view that every material thing shares in consciousness of sorts, and that planets have particular beings in the spiritual realms that are the spiritual counterpart to their physical existence. This is the cosmic view held by writers such as Helena Blavatsky, and Alice Bailey, and more recently William Meader and other writers. This Perennial Wisdom or Esoteric Philosophy has been very influential in the formation of some of the philosophies and beliefs in the melting pot of what was known as ‘New Age’ teachings, but now come under the banner of contemporary spirituality. There are complicated cosmologies containing hierarchies of spiritual beings, ascended masters and levels of the ascension of the spirit.

It is a natural progression from realising that the compassionate consciousness of God holds all material existence in being, to saying that therefore everything has some degree of consciousness, which sustains its existence. But it can be a diversion from the real process of transformation in our realm of existence to get caught up in too much speculation and theorising about other realms. The Wisdom tradition of Christianity, upheld by many of the mystics through the ages, takes this path. God’s consciousness pervades all, is in all, sustains all in being. It is the Ground of Being, and all manifest reality shines forth from the Divine Source. Cynthia Bourgeault, an Episcopalian priest and Wisdom teacher, encapsulates it.

As we begin orienting ourselves on the Wisdom road map, it is with the recognition that our manifest universe is not simply an “object” created by a wholly other God out of the effluence of his love, but is that love itself, made manifest in the only possible way it can, in the dimensions of energy and form. The created realm is not an artifact but an instrument through which the divine life becomes perceptible to itself. It’s the way the score gets transformed into the music.

So Gaia is not just a scientific theory. If the earth is conscious, we have to realize that we are an integral part of this earth. In relation to the earth, we are tiny, but are having a significant effect in terms of pollution and global warming. It’s a bit like the relationship of our cells to our whole body. We are enormous, God-like, compared to our cells, but the behavior of our cells can significantly affect our whole body, causing illness. The body may then react to reduce or eliminate unwanted or bothersome cells. Is this the future that faces us on the planet? Or can we change our ways to avoid the planet having to reassert its delicate balance by creating some cataclysmic events for humanity?
(Adapted from ‘Blue Sky God: the Evolution of Science and Christianity’)

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