There we were...in one of the many beautiful places that earth provides, on the top of a hill in the jungle, the cemetery of the Kuna, the first native people of Panama. Now I have seen a lot of sacred cemeteries around the world, from Paris to Buenos Aires. But this beautiful humble nature spot and the intimate story of how the Kuna community bury their people made a huge impression. These people live so close to nature like, I feel, we're meant to be! When a Kuna man or woman dies, he or she is laid down in a hammock at the 'soon to be' grave for one day. A spiritual guide (a human person) will be sitting next to it, so that the spirit can leave the body whenever ready and knows where to go. The physical proof of this human life, the body, will be given back to mother Earth. The hammock with the body will be hanged in a big hole in the ground, just like a baby hangs in his womb in the mother. The hole is covered with wood and then a belly of earth is made, so that everybody can tell mother Earth is pregnant from this body. Every morning the women of the community come and visit: making coffee, food and chat, showing respect to their ancestors and mother Earth.
A week before our holiday, I attended a guided nature meditation with 200 people outside in the forest. Prinses Irene was our guide. Total silence and connectivity among all these human beings connecting to nature. Prinses Irene invited us to the first question: what do you need from earth? And then the second question came: what does earth need from you? So simple and yet eye-opening...do we question ourselves enough what earth needs from us or are we so stuck in consumerism, that this obvious question doesn't even pop up in our minds anymore?
Our diving in Bocas del Toro started with an extensive eco briefing, unlike I had ever experienced. It was not about the common 'you will probably see this or that fish if you are lucky'. No, it was an extensive respectful lecture on the importance of coral for our ecosystem in the world, how it grew in hundreds of millions of years in the evolution, how we (people) managed to destroy it in only some 300 years, how vulnerable it is, its skin being as thin as hair, what the function is of sea cucumbers etc etc.. We were listening to the passionate owner of the diving school, a Canadian marine biologist with an obvious mission to make as many people aware of the importance of our oceans for our global ecosystem, for all life. I was even more in awe than normally when diving, watching the miracle of an ecosystem that totally balances itself, that is if we wouldn't interfere...
Mother Earth doesn't talk, at least not in a way that we understand or listen to. She also doesn't judge. Yes, she is reacting to what we do to her, but she is not telling us it is right or wrong, it just is. Fortunately there are people like the Kuna, princess Irene, marine biologists and many many more, that put all their love into teaching about the importance of respecting and loving earth. After all, 'we don't 'own' the earth, we only borrow it from our children', that's what earth keepers try to teach us. Thus the importance of taking care of earth for the next 7 generations.
Tomorrow is worldwide Earthday. In the US and also Netherlands there will be marches for science... I do believe scientific research helps in understanding what we need to do to take a bit better care of mother Earth. But how would earth look like if we would all understand the importance of loving earth in our own circle of influence and if we would all spread that message?