In the wake of our collective human experience with Coronavirus, it’s imperative that we consider how it’s forcing us to take a break from collective human activities that have been so detrimental to our environment. There are currently fewer cars on the road, fewer planes in the sky! When studying the root cause of diseases such as COVID-19, we inevitably trace its origins back to our neglect for life. Ironically, this neglect is forcing us to cut off from our destructive activities via social distancing. This happens not only with pandemics, but with other disasters caused by a lack of connection to nature as well.
Due to our current circumstances and Sacred Earth Journey’s early 2021 journey, Maya Temples of Transformation with Freddy Silva & Miguel Angel Vergara, it’s no better time to pull from Mayan wisdom tradition to come to terms with what we’ve caused here on Earth. These teachings come from a special book by a contemporary Mayan priest and Shaman named Carlos Barrios His book is titled The Book of Destiny and was created at the request of various Mayan elders including Don Isidro. Here’s what Barrios has to say about our connection to the natural world. These are great reads in the context of Coronavirus.
1. “They Mayan world follows an organic path based on the Natural Order, respect for Mother Nature, and both cosmic and earthly influences.”
Like the Mayans, we can learn to live in harmony with Mother Nature rather than against Her. By living with respect to our connection with nature, this nature that provides us with everything we have, we can begin to rebalance both the self and the planet. The Natural Order here on Earth only stays in balance if we offer our hearts to Nature in the same way she provides for us.
2. “Technological advances haven’t increased our quality of life, they have just increased the quantity of things we can accumulate.”
Electronics come to mind when we talk about technology. Many would agree that these devices have worked to disconnect us from each other and the natural world. What’s nice to see, however, is the spread of useful information amidst the current pandemic. Let this be a lesson to us. We can use these devices to come together rather than to remain isolated.
3. “If we don’t respect ourselves, how can the other inhabitants of the world expect us to respect them?”
This is an important question. Researchers speculate that the Coronavirus may have been caused by agricultural practices that are harmful to both humans and the environment. If this is true, it is yet another example of how we’re harming animals in a way that’s destroying Earth, thus ourselves. How can we shift to a more sustainable system that respects all life and prevents suffering?
4. “The wonder of creation is found in the little things. We need to live in harmony and expand our sensibilities.”
During this progression of our current “social distancing” culture that’s spreading worldwide, we’re presented with the opportunity to turn inward. The freeways and airports are less crammed and many of us are staying at home with our families. Perhaps we’re giving our hobbies more love. What a gift, actually—this opportunity to slow down, stress less, and expand into other essential areas of living.
5. “Life is about finding the answers inside, awakening the knowledge and powers that lie dormant, controlling our desires, using the strengths of our mind for spiritual growth, and projecting ourselves into the supreme.”
Expanding on the previous point, we can use our time of social isolation to turn inward and even go out to improve our connection to nature. As a butterfly effect, this can help all life profoundly. By meditating and “awakening the knowledge and powers that lie dormant,” our spiritual life flourishes into an almost irresistible respect for all of life.
6. “Human existence is negligible when compared to the age of Earth, so why do we try to possess it?”
Compared to the age of Earth, we’ve only been here for one second—or less. Yet we try to own the earth and its resources. We exploit these resources for material gain and profit while leaving the land in a state of chaos.
7. “Modern life has very little to do with appreciating the world around us; it is about rushing here and there, filled with an urgency that doesn’t allow for personal growth.”
There’s a paradigm, a worldwide one, it seems, that tells us we always have to be doing something, involved with something, or working hard without falling behind. This is actually a dangerous way of living that deprives us of a secure, intimate connection with nature around us. According to this philosophy, by slowing down, we actually improve.
8. “Reality is the vision we have of what surrounds us, but there are other, much more subtle realities that are more important.” -Ramón Carbala, Mayan Mam traditionalist and thinker
Barrios shares this teaching from Carbala in The Book of Destiny and I think it really hits home concerning our connection to the world. Our realities often revolve around the material—what we own, how many friends we have, or even the condition of our health. While some of these are important for a sound connection to reality, they aren’t the more “important” realities themselves.
9. “If beings outside the human race were to come and observe us, what would they say?”
This question can be uncomfortable because it exposes the irresponsibility of humankind. Looking in at us from an outside perspective, beings might view us as unintelligent, without sound priorities, or even barbaric due to our connection with the natural world that lacks respect for nature and ourselves.
10. “Together with other native peoples, we are calling out to our younger brothers, asking them to stop playing the illusory game they’re caught up in and return to a harmonious life.”
In closing, this teaching is a direct call to end the deceptive lifestyle choices that the other teachings point to. Returning to a harmonious life can involve drastic lifestyle changes such as changing jobs or living situations. For others, though, it may involve smaller changes such as sourcing food differently, treating people better, beginning a meditation practice, and improving their connection to nature. In these times of dealing with Coronavirus and the mistreatment of the natural world, it’s imperative that we upgrade ourselves to a higher level of being—one full of respect for Mother Nature and thus respect for the self.
We will integrate this lesson on our pilgrimage in 2021 with both Miguel Angel Vergara and Freddy Silva, who will guide us through the Mayan temples of the Yucatan, where, according to Mayan wisdom keepers, we are “transformed into a god, into a bright star.”