Many people and nations are striving to be green these days – to make wiser use of available resources and reduce their carbon footprints. But what does "green" really mean?
The color green symbolizes life, and "going green" involves a conscious effort to live more sustainably and in greater harmony with our surroundings. This change in living necessarily begins with an increased awareness of and appreciation for all life and for our planet's resources, which then leads to wiser choices about everything from what we eat to how we power our factories.
Yet sometimes going green seems impractical or insignificant in the face of global climate change, pollution, and existing political and economic structures. So where does humanity find the harmony it seeks?
I find it in a deeper sense of going green – looking beyond the limited, mortal sense of life with all its dualities to the immortal, divine Life (another term for God), in which all creation is eternally sustained in perfect harmony, without pollution or destruction, poverty or waste. Becoming more aware and appreciative of our eternal, spiritual Life-source enables us to see and experience more of that harmony here and now. As the Psalmist put it poetically: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures" (23:1, 2).
If we're made to dwell in green pastures, which I've come to see as Life's eternal harmony, then going green is not just a sometimes difficult human effort to make earthly existence healthier, happier, and more materially sustainable. It's turning consciousness to our permanently green (Life-filled) dwelling place and experiencing that spiritual harmony here and now.
An incident some years ago gave me a glimpse of Life's perfect sustenance. My family was trying to live greener by growing lots of our food and keeping various animals. We had sheep for wool and to help keep the pasture mowed. But at one point, they'd eaten all the available grass, and we were considering the best way to keep them adequately fed while the grass recuperated. Then a neighbor stopped by to ask if we would let the sheep run in his adjacent pasture for a while to help clear the thick growth there. We were grateful for the offer, and the sheep were soon enjoying the abundant new food supply.
But then one evening I found one of the ewes lying by the fence and bloated to twice her normal size. As I sat down with her and prayed, I saw that because she was part of God's creation, her life was in Spirit, not matter, and that Life's harmony couldn't become discordant. Soon another family member gave her a pat, and she staggered up and away to rejoin the flock. When we saw her again the next day, she was well and was restored to her normal size.
Just as divine Life sustained that sheep, Life shepherds all its creation in perfect order. Humanity's good efforts to live more sustainably and to reflect this greater harmony cannot be insignificant nor thwarted. In this light, going green can help lead not just to improved earthly living but to a higher awareness of Life's permanently "green pastures."