Do you realize you have an important superpower – one that you were born with and hopefully is nurtured and sharpened every day? That of reverence.
You see when you show love towards yourself and all living things, there isn’t anything that you can’t do – in fact, it’s your greatest superpower.
It’s your life-force in action, as the spiritual energy of living in your joy propels you further than you could ever imagine, all because of the power of your heart.
This is why it matters.
Albert Schweitzer, the famous theologian, organist, musicologist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, physician and 1952 Nobel Peace Prize honouree once said: “By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practising reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.” And I think we could all use more good, deep, and alive human beings who will help nurture and nourish our planet.
If you agree with me on this, you’ll want to continue reading for some great information I found about why reverence matters.
In the online version of Daily Good, I stumbled across a great article that provided insights from eight well-known writers about the importance of reverence. I have summarized some of the key messages from each writer here, but if you want to read the complete online version, click here.
Paul Woodruff: Because It Is a Forgotten Virtue
Power without reverence is aflame with arrogance, while service without reverence is smoldering toward rebellion. Without reverence, a house is not a home, a boss is not a leader, an instructor is not a teacher. Without reverence, we would not even know how to learn reverence. To teach reverence, you must find the seeds of reverence in each person and help them grow.
Gary Zukav: Because It Protects Life
Reverence is a level of protection and honor about the process of life so while a person is maturing toward the journey and through the journey of authentic empowerment, he or she harms nothing. Because we have no reverence, our journey to empowerment often includes the experience of victimizing life. Therefore, there are victims and victimizers. The process of destroying Life while we are learning about Life that has characterized our evolution would cease, or at least would be very different if we approached Life with a quality of reverence.
Joanna Macy: Because It Grounds Us In Interconnection
Spiritual exercises for cultivating reverence for life arise now out of many traditions and are welcomed by people regardless of their religious affiliation. I have found adaptations from Buddhist practices particularly helpful because they are grounded in the recognition of the dependent co-arising or deep ecology of all things. Similarly, Native American prayers and ritual forms, evoking our innate capacity to love and respect our Earth, are increasingly adapted, and included in gatherings for work and worship.
Wendell Berry: Because Our Future Depends On It
We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.
Terry Tempest Williams: Because It Invites Us to Live at the Speed of Thoughtfulness
I watched prairie dogs every day, rise before the sun, stand with their paws pressed together facing the rising sun in total stillness for up to 30 minutes, and then I watched them at the end of the day take that same gesture 30 minutes before the sun goes down, they would press their palms together in perfect stillness. I don’t mean to anthropomorphize, but when you look at a creature that has survived over the millennium begin and end each day in that kind of stance, it causes one to think about one’s own life and speed and rapidity in which we live.”
Barry Lopez: Because It Keeps Technology In Its Place
Zeus said to Prometheus, “Okay, you stole fire. Great for you. Now your people have technology. Wonderful. But here’s something you don’t know. You lack two things. And if you don’t take these two things that I will give you, this will be a failure. Technology, you know, fire, all your magic, it will fail completely. It will be your undoing. And the two things that you need to make it work are justice and reverence. And if you have these two things, you won’t get in trouble with this third thing that you thought was the be all and the end all.
John O’Donohue: Because It Unlocks Beauty In Our Lives
What you encounter, recognize, or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation. When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.
Mary Oliver: Because It Invites Us to Pay Attention
Mary Oliver authored a beautiful poem for her contribution to the Daily Good article which I encourage you to read here.
Please take time each day to show reverence for each sunrise you are given, each breath you take, and each act of love your super-power asks of you to share. And that is joyful living.
Love from your Joy Mama,
P.S. If you have other insights into why reverence matters, I would love to hear your comments.
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Images from Pixabay.