Who would have thought that the fate of such a small insect would cause consternation and distress among so many of us?

The news that a dangerous virus threatens our bees brings home to us just how dependent we are on nature, in spite of our huge advances in technology. Worried beekeepers have seen their hives destroyed so that an introduced mite causing this disease, cannot spread. Orchardists fear the failure of fruit trees and market gardeners their vegetables. They all depend on bees for the pollination and health of their gardens.

We depend on them as well.

We’ve always known this, I suppose, but sometimes it takes a catastrophe to wake up to the implications that what happens to the bees affects us all in so many areas.

Watching the distress of a beekeeper whose hives have been destroyed, you realise that it’s not just the material loss but some bond between them that goes deep into the soul (or psyche). The bees are such extraordinary little creatures in the way they form their communities; in the mathematically sophisticated, hexagonal cells within the hive and in the way they can communicate to each other the discovery of a bush full of honey-flowers.

Evolution has often been described as a competition – a struggle for survival. But between the bees and the flowering plants there is cooperation.

Now that flowers are beginning to appear in our gardens (even though winter is not quite over) I watched a bee struggling to thrust its way in to the centre of a tiny pink flower. The petals of the flower were trumpeting ‘Come and visit me!’ but it wasn’t an easy way to the centre. The precious stamens were hidden inside so that in the struggle to get to the centre, the bee could dislodge a few grains of pollen and the flower would live again next Winter.

In the writings of the mystics – those explorers of the invisible realities – a hidden treasure is often mentioned, as well as the struggle to discover it. The Sufi mystic, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee sometimes quotes God as saying, ‘ I was a hidden treasure longing to be found.’

Jesus tells the story of someone discovering a treasure hidden in the earth. It’s not there just for the taking; there is the struggle to go away and to earn enough money to buy that field and take possession of the treasure.

In their book Bio-Spirituality, the authors, Campbell and McMahon remind us that our biological connectedness to a vast Process of Unification will gradually reveal itself. We hope to witness to this Process by walking the Labyrinth on Saturday 20th August in a celebration of bees! Join us.

Holding it all together

The news of war in Ukraine is gradually drifting from our television screens. Some have said that they can no longer bear to watch images of such terrible suffering night after night on the news; the suffering of people who, until a few months ago, lived in a prosperous society very like our own.

The media, always alert to its role of mirroring the concerns of their audience, can quickly turn a blind eye.

However, one image of that suffering may remain imprinted on the memory. It is of a line of captured Ukrainian civilians crossing a quiet street. They are in single file, bowed down, each holding onto the coat of the one in front. Moments later, they have been taken out of sight behind a vacant house and executed, their bodies left like bundles of clothes on the ground.

What may come to mind if you have seen Ingmar Bergman’s film, The Seventh Seal, is the closing shot of a group of people against the horizon, holding hands as they are led by Death across the screen. His film of course, is set in fourteenth century Europe as the Black Death raged across Europe, killing one in three of the population.

Both images are profoundly troubling.

In this time, when every tragedy happening across the world is there on our television screens, how do we hold it all together – our ordinary, largely peaceful, everyday lives and the terrible events happening to our human family somewhere ‘over there’. Can we continue to hold images of gaunt Ethiopian women holding their skeletal children, without eventually turning away – feeling helpless?

Somehow, we need to hold it all together, without rejecting either what we may see as our own fortunate lifestyle (although it has its own huge problems) and the chaos created somewhere by poor government or global oppression and corrupt practices.

We can hold all our human family in our heart (as well as making financial or other practical contributions). The important thing, I think, is to keep remembering them as we go about this business of daily living; to keep them in mind and in prayer without becoming hopeless, knowing that we commend them to a Heart and Consciousness that is intimately part of our human existence.