Why the name "Emerald Hills" Institute:
I am not East or West.
I am not Christian or Jew or Muslim.
I am not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen.
I am not owned by any established religion
Or any cultural system.
I am neither the body nor the soul,
For I belong only to the Divine Soul of my Lord, my Beloved.
The servants of the All-Merciful are those who walk on the earth in modesty, and if the impudent offend them, they continue their way, saying, “peace”
First of all, we should accept the “Emerald Hills of the Heart” as a horizon and a goal. We should try our best to at least glimpse those sacred spaces, even if it is through a crack in the door. Then we can see their glory: their stars twinkling, the moon and sun rising and setting.
--Imam Fetullah Gulen
Throughout history, in countless cultures and climes, green and verdant hills represent growth, abundance, happiness, and ease.
In the Abrahamic traditions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, green is associated with plant life and fertility – a symbol pointing to heavenly abundance in an otherwise dry and dusty world.
In many Eastern traditions, green jade held a mystical quality – this translucent stone could be polished to a supernal sheen, and always stayed cool to the touch. It was the precious stone of emperors and heavenly emissaries, representing new life, regeneration, and hope.
In many cultures green symbolizes the healthy growth of crops, like maize in South America, wheat in North America, and other “sacred grains” which sustain life throughout the world.
These things were in our minds when we chose the name “Emerald Hills” – this is an institute with an eye to the happiness and growth of every person, from every culture and background.
The path of life can be dry and dusty, but as we serve each other in community, this journey can become a walk through cool, emerald hills. Why “emerald”?
Rumi, the most popular poet in North America today, said it best – “Love is an emerald. Its brilliant light wards off dragons on this treacherous path.”
The Emerald Hills Institute is founded on the idea that love – for our community, each other, and even ourselves – is best expressed through service. And the two roses of these emerald hills are tolerance and dialogue.
Tolerance and dialogue allow us to grow together as friends despite – and sometimes because – of our differences. The Emerald Hills Institute provides opportunities for all of us to work together to make our entire community more vibrant and alive – not just for one group or another, and not just by one group or another, but through all of us working together for the benefit of everyone.
Ralph Waldo Emerson taught that which we give attention to grows. When we give attention to love through service, we become better – as human beings, as family, as a community. This is the purpose of The Emerald Hills Institute, to celebrate the fertile hills and hearts of our Utah community through service to the members of our extended human family.
By Andrew Kosorok