"Things are so strictly related, that according to the skill of the eye, from any one object the parts and properties of any other may be predicted. If we had eyes to see it, a stone from the city wall would certify us of the necessity that man must exist, as readily as the city. That identity makes us all one, and reduces to nothing great intervals on our customary scale. We talk of deviations from natural life, as if artificial life were not also natural." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A recent trip with my spiritual Green Faith community, Creative Living Fellowship, to Arizona’s Butterfly Wonderland led me to a spiritual awakening that was actually quite profound and speaks to the quote of Emerson above. For me, God speaks in both small and large ways. As a spatial scientist, trained and educated to see things at scale and at all of the various levels – from the cellular and subatomic to the Universal; for me, the God of my Knowing, in all of Its Many Forms, Guises, and Disguises, thus shows up sometimes in the smallest of ways to remind me of Whose I am.
Nature, in all of its various forms, for me, is the proof positive that God exists. Even the fact that this facility exists and has this calling makes it natural, to Emerson’s point. The complexity of the butterfly with its absolutely Divinely Inspired and brilliantly complex life cycle is a demonstration alone of the work of a “Divinely Creative and Infinitely Intelligent Beyond Measure Something.“
As I walked through the facility, I contemplated and meditated on the impact of this complex and diverse little creature and this facility on a variety of spiritual, social, economic, and scientific processes and awareness at all sorts of levels and layers occurring in that very moment. From animal rights to animal research, it is all nature at scale.
I took many photographs that day and one in particular struck me with the symmetry of one of the butterflies that had landed on a friend and fellow congregant's glasses. The black and orange pattern of the butterfly perfectly matched with the more subtle but geometrically similar patterned glasses; and I was lead to wonder if I was “lead” to notice. I have since drawn that picture and have selected its frame for hanging in my house as a reminder of God working at various scales and levels.
Therein - the symmetry. It is a matter of the scale at which one perceives and recognizes our connection and oneness with the God of our knowing. Facilities like the Butterfly Wonderland are God taking care of “the least of His own” - in some traditions. In my belief, it is God taking care of Itself expressed as the butterfly using Man as His vehicle. Brilliantly so, I might add.
And I believe that God, Nature, and Man were at one enjoying and interacting in the process.
It is not "Man and Nature" anymore than it is "God and Nature." Man is altogether part and parcel of Nature just as Nature is altogether part and parcel of - as created by – God, the Brilliant Creative Intelligence of the Universe that gave us dominion over the earth. Dominion requires good stewardship at various levels and scales. That is our place, I believe. We recognize our oneness in that and work with Nature and God for the best and highest good for Nature and us all.
This butterfly trip was truly a spiritual experience and a profound gift and message from my God to me. I look forward to supporting more trips like these and the Green Faith ministry.