One of the words that resonates most forcefully in my heart is enthusiasm. Its etymology is powerful: “to be full of gods”. The people I admire the most are enthusiasts, they walk through the world possessed by a certain spirit, overwhelmed. The natural world is enthusiastic, it occurs to me as I write. When we connect with nature, we understand that each being we encounter is a subject, not an object, with which we form a community, not only ecological but also spiritual. I would like to believe that the magical manifestations of life energy, let me call them gods, are an irrefutable reality. Shall we talk about the spirits that we contain and accompany us and why we have wanted to silence them in modern Western society?
So that the most religious, whom I respect, are not confused, it is not about attacking the idea of God, with a capital letter, of monotheistic cultures. Spirits, or gods, are the energy flows of all that exists. Ancient cultures find, for example, a spirit in each element of nature. The moon, the mountain, the bird, the river, the cloud, the tree, the insect, the jaguar, the anaconda… each of them contains characteristics of the sacred. These gods speak to us, they show us the way, we exist because they exist. “We are human only in contact and conviviality with the non-human”, wrote David Abram in his beautiful book The Spell of the Sensuous.
Recognizing the sacred implies accepting that life goes beyond the material, it is remembering our spiritual dimension that is so needed in these times. When one looks at, for example, the incredible process of photosynthesis, one can explain it from a scientific perspective, but one cannot ignore all the magic that is in that sacred marriage between the light of the sun and the water of the earth that gives rise to everything. I live it. Everything is a miracle, understanding is not the same as understanding.
For millennia, in all human cultures, this spiritual dimension, the stories of the gods, accompanied our journey. Some time ago, relatively recently for the long history of our species, we decided, however, to kill the gods, we thought that mind and matter could do everything. But this has cost us dearly, billions of people walk desolately on the brink of the abyss. Without spirituality we are hollow, we walk with a limp. “The gods know better than we / what we need. We ask them for a son / and they send us a wolf, and we don’t understand them”, says José Vicente Piqueras in his poem the gods withinwhich inspires this letter.
Perhaps the response to climate change, to our social challenges, to the shock our mental and physical health has received in the modern world has to do with reviving the gods, listening to them, learning to thank, having personal and family rituals that help us to appreciate the world better in order to be able, consequently, to appreciate ourselves better. Let’s provoke the gathering with these other verses from the same text: “The gods do not understand the strange folly / with which we have decided to destroy ourselves / destroying them, the pride / with which we despise them / The gods ask for little: that we do not forget them” . Could it be that forgetting the gods, wanting to do without them, having them inside, could be considered, then, as a lack of self-preservation instinct?