Skip to main content

Seeds of a New Humanity

Seeds of a New Humanity

By Joan Chittister

The mystic Julian of Norwich, holding an acorn in her hand in the fourteenth century said of it, “In this is all that is.” The Earth shakes at the thought of the simple truth of it.

In every seed lie the components of all life the world has known from all time to now.

In every seed is the reckless, electric, confounding power of creation made new again. In every seed is the gift of life to those seeking life, wanting life, denied the kind of life that is full of energy, full of hope. But the hope is a tenuous one, a sacred one, one to be treated with awe for fear of our own failure to protect it.

Seeds are the one thing that are the only genuine promise we have of the future. “Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow,” Martin Luther wrote, “I would plant an apple tree today.” It is an insight that defies despair, that promises new life in the midst of the old. It is a beacon that cries out for commitment in an age such as ours when the seeds of destruction among us—greed, power, and control—are in mortal struggle with the seeds of life.

In our time, death is king. The forests die for the sake of loggers. Great fish die fro the sake of caviar. The fields die for the sake of fracking. The air dies for the sake of oil. Humanity dies for the sake of money. And people die for want of the food that all these things threaten.

And now, so accustomed have we become to destruction in the name of progress, we are on the brink of commercializing seed, of politicizing seed, of monopolizing seed, of genetically modifying seeds for the sake of someone’s control of creation, of making seed the new military weapon of the twenty-first century.

It is all a matter of valuing the money we can make today more than we value the life that is meant to come.

But the problem is that we ourselves are all seeds, too. We are either seeds of universal love or seeds of exploitative racism. We are seeds of eternal hope or we are seeds of starving despair. We are seeds of a new humanity or we are the harbingers of humanity’s decay.

It is a choice. A conscious choice that depends on what we see in seeds and how we treat them and whose we think they are and what we will do to keep them free and available. Or not.

We are the seed of our own life to come and the life of the planet as well. Indeed, “In the seed is everything that is.”

—from Sacred Seed, a new book of essays from spiritual leaders around the globe on the sacredness of the natural seed, published by The Golden Sufi Center in partnership with the Global Peace Initiative of Women and Dr. Vandana Shiva and the Navdanya community.