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Kevin J., NJ

Air is perhaps the most fundamental spiritual element one cannot point to.

The word in Hebrew for YHWH creates the sound of aspiration, breathing in and out, just in the enunciation.

For many who meditate, one is often encouraged to begin by simply paying attention to one's breath as a centering awareness of life. Both creation stories from Genesis call attention to the movement of air. The breeze hovering over the formless void demonstrates God's action in creating order from chaos, and again air is given when God breathes his/her own life into Adam & Eve.

Christians too allude to a driving wind, which crashes into the upper room where Jesus' disciples hide in fear after his death. And it is in this gift of the spirit that Christians recognize the birth of the church.

The movement of air, at times gentle as a breath and alternately bursting shutters apart in a driving wind is a symbol of the sacred in these traditions honored by many people across the planet.

The Hebrew word ruah (translated alternately as wind, breathe and spirit) then is celebrated among folks in the Judeo-christian tradition as the sure sign that God is alive and active in the world.

What might it mean for us who are conscious to act and advocate for the health of our planet, to honor and show reverence for this life-sustaining gift of spirit, air itself?

Air is among the most fundamental & precious gifts without which most biodiversity would cease. It points us to an awareness of the sacredness of things we often take for granted, like air. As we witness the degradation of this limited resource it is surely time to take a stand, to take every action required not for a symbol, but an element, which represents life on many levels.

First published: May 2, 2014

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