"At the heart of Earth Prayer is a sense of belonging. Belonging is the basic truth of our existence. We belong here. Life belongs here. Likewise, at the heart of gratefulness, in its deepest sense, we also find an expression of belonging. When we say 'Thank you' we really are saying 'We belong together.' That is why we sometimes find it so difficult to say 'Thank you' - becasue we don't want to acknowledge our interdependence. We don't want to be obliged. But in a healthy society that is exactly what we seek: mutual obligations. Everyone is obliged to everyone and everything else, we all belong together, we are of each other. In this awareness we are freed from self-preoccupation - and only then, emptied of self, can we be filled with thanks. As Brother David Steindl-Rast tells us, 'Love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise - then you will discover the fullness of your life.'
Within this human impulse to gratitude flow the vast cycles of universal reciprocity - for everything that is taken, something has to be given in return. If you merely take in a breath and stop there, you will die. Likewise if you merely breathe out. Life is not giving or taking, but give and take. This is the dynamic expression of universal belonging expressed in our thanksgiving...
Our praise and thanksgiving is as essential a part of life's give and take as are the cycles of oxygen and water or any other nourishment flowing through the biosphere. For millenia prayers and songs ... have been offered up to celebrate the miracle of existence of which we are part. May their voices join our own."
Earth Prayers, Elizabeth Roberts