Environmental Liturgy Texts
The Ecosattva Vows
(by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, from Active Hope)
I vow to myself and to each of you:
To commit myself daily to the healing of our world
and the welfare of all beings.
To live on earth more lightly and less violently
in the food, products, and energy I consume.
To draw strength and guidance from the living Earth,
the ancestors, the future generations, and my siblings
of all species.
To support others in our work for the world
and to ask for help when I need it.
To pursue a daily practice that clarifies my mind,
• strengthens my heart,
• and supports me in observing these vows.
Let Your Heart Break
Don’t ever apologize for crying for the trees burning in the Amazon or over the waters polluted from mines in the Rockies. Don’t apologize for the sorrow, grief, and rage that you feel. It is a measure of your humanity and your maturity. It is a measure of your open heart, and as your heart breaks open there will be room for the world to heal.—Joanna Macy
Not a Dress Rehearsal
In Buddhist practice we say congratulations because now is the time we have been practicing for. No more just practicing the dance. We must now dance. And this is not a dress rehearsal. --Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
As We Heal the Earth, the Earth Heals Us
Because the relationship between self and world is reciprocal, it is not a matter of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us. No need to wait. As we care enough to take risks, we loosen the grip of ego and begin to come home to our true nature. —Joanna Macy
Being rock, being gas, being mist, being Mind,
being the mesons traveling among galaxies at the speed of light,
you have come here, my beloved . . .
You have manifested yourself
as trees, grass, butterflies, single-celled beings,
and as chrysanthemums.
But the eyes with which you looked at me this morning
tell me you have never died. -- Thich Nhat Hanh
Verses from Thich Nhat Hanh
Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.
Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh.
Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.
Breathing out, I feel solid.
Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I reflect things as they are.
Breathing in, I see myself as space.
Breathing out, I feel free.
I entrust myself to Earth;
Earth entrusts herself to me.
I entrust myself to Buddha;
Buddha entrusts herself to me.
I Am the Rainforest Protecting Myself
When humans investigate and see through their layers of anthropocentric self-cherishing, a most profound change in consciousness begins to take place. Alienation subsides. The human is no longer an outsider, apart. Your humanness is then recognized as being merely the most recent stage of your existence... you start to get in touch with yourself as mammal, as vertebrate, as a species only recently emerged from the rainforest. As the fog of amnesia disperses, there is a transformation in your relationship to other species, and in your commitment to them.... “I am protecting the rainforest” develops to “I am part of the rainforest protecting myself. I am that part of the rain forest recently emerged into thinking.”-- John Seed
The Planet is Carrying You
You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder.
It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you. --Vandana Shiva
World as Lover, World as Self
We are the world knowing itself. We can come home again to a world that can appear to us now both as self and as lover. Relating to our world with the full measure of our being, we partake of the qualities of both. We can wake up to who we really are, allow the rivers to flow clean once more, and the trees to grow green along their banks.-- Joanna Macy
At the Close of a Forest Retreat
With gratitude to the trees, sitting in one spot for decades, watching over us and all that goes by;
With gratitude to the bay encircling us, powerful and protective, never leaving our side;
With gratitude to the wind, whipping branches and waves, clearing us out for some new delight;
With gratitude to the rocks, worn smooth by time and tide, reminding us of our fragility, the source of our strength;
With gratitude to all beings, sentient and insentient, who have served as our teachers, helping us to realize our intrinsic connectedness with all things;
With gratitude to buddha, dharma and sangha, we walk the Great Way, leaving the Forest Retreat, but knowing that wherever we may be, or how isolated we may feel, we are never alone. -- Diane Fitzgerald