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Autumn, Harvest and Interconnection

By:Rev. Karem Barratt
Date: Mon,15 Sep 2014
Submitter:Rev. Karem Barratt

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We are all connected and our existence is interwoven with everything and else. Or at least that's what both Spirituality and Science are agreeing on: that everything is linked, at different levels. Celtic Spirituality speaks of the web of Wyrd; the Gaia theory sees the planet as a living process of interconnections; one of the principles of Universal Unitarianism is the “respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part”, and let's not even get started with Quantum Physics. All these ideas can be seen in a tangible manner in the way we relate to Nature and her cycles. And this is particularly obvious during harvest time.

The more we learn about the inter-connection of all that exists on the planet, the more we realize how important it is to keep the balance of life to enjoy the fruits of the Earth, and all its beauty and abundance. But the principle of interdependence can also be seen in other aspects, such as family, work, economics, politics and environmental issues.

English clergyman John Donne said it beautifully over 4 centuries ago: “No man is an island unto himself; everyman is a piece of the Continent, a piece of the main...” Every action we do and decision we make not only define us, but also affects in different levels, not only our life, but everything and everyone around us, and the results of such actions and decisions become the harvests of our lives. Many spiritual traditions have used the idea of Harvest as part of their teachings. Jesus said that by our fruits we will be known. In Buddhism, the doctrine of “sanyaku” figuratively divides the process by which the Buddha guides the people to Buddhahood into three separate phases: sowing, maturing, and harvesting.

Hopefully, we all have wonderful fruits to be proud of. Likely, we will have some seeds that did not bloom and, unfortunately,

all of us have one or two bitter fruits we wish we had not sewn. That’s all right. It is part of our human experience. The important thing is to learn from each harvest: see which seed gave the healthiest results, which did not work for us and which may need a different soil to grow in.

So Harvest time is not only a time to enjoy the fruits of our beautiful British land; it is also a time to reflect on our life: enjoy the results of our efforts and make the necessary changes to bear better fruits each time. During this reflection, many of us will realize how fortunate we are and how many things are there we should be grateful for: family, home, food, friends, health. And as we count our gifts, the principle of the interdependence of life resonates once more to remind us that we cannot be truly happy while our brothers and sisters, wherever they may be, are hungry and homeless and lonely and sick. Sometimes this can be overwhelming and we feel that we are too few, too far, too poor, too old, too little to really be of help.
Here Nature can be a great teacher, for in her, no plant is too small, no insect too insignificant to not play a relevant part in the balance of life. Every small bee that has flown from one flower to the next, has helped many tiny seeds to be born, and from each little seed, a tree have grown, and from each mighty tree a home has been built and a family has found shelter and warmth –thanks to a teeny bee that did the best that she could. That’s what life asks of all of us: to do the best that we can, and a way to start, is by applying this idea of interdependence. By respecting the interdependent web of existence and acknowledging that we are part of it, we look beyond ourselves and in Harvest time, we rejoice: with nature, with families and friends and with the whole of humanity and creation -and we do it by sharing, by caring and by loving.
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