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David Abram, cultural ecologist and philosopher
Climate change is the simple consequence of forgetting the holiness of this mysterium in which we're bodily immersed.
Spiritual Ecology raises our awareness of how our species is part of the great ecosystem. On a par with the other species, not raised above them. Spiritual Ecology is a relatively new field of knowledge and practice that also draws on ancient knowledge and practices. Knowledge that was lost long ago in our culture where we have cut the connections to the natural world by separating ourselves from it and believing ourselves above it.
This knowledge is about the fact that we are completely connected to nature. When we harm nature, we also harm ourselves. And vice versa. Everything is connected. Indigenous peoples possessed this knowledge – and still do. Therefore, Spiritual Ecology is a field with many different voices. It looks far back in time, investigating why and how we ended up in this ecological and humanitarian catastrophe; it considers what we can do now to change our consciousness, language, stories, practices and being; and it looks far ahead in terms of how we will be the ancestors of future generations.
Seaweed, Møn. Photo: Lisa Bregneager
POWER, CAPITALISM, AND CHANGED IDEALS
The past and present tell us that Western culture has been exploiting nature’s resources and other cultures for its own financial gain for hundreds of years. The activities have found expression in fierce capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism, and individualism; reinforced by religion, science and philosophy. This is the mindset and the actions that have brought about our present ecological situation.
Within the industrial paradigm of growth, economic activity usually always hurts something or someone, but fortunately we now see examples of other types of economies. A flourishing of what we might call the ecological economy: sharing economies, upcycling and recycling, organic farming cooperatives, regenerative agriculture, and increasingly sustainable, socially responsible companies.
However, there is still a very long way to go. We need to change our ideals, our self-understanding, and our relationship with and understanding of the ecosystem, our fellow humans, and fellow species. Recognising the connectedness requires a major change in our outlook and consciousness; a transformation and a paradigm shift. All this makes Spiritual Ecology deeply relevant.
Bees in the old Cherry Plum
Double rainbow, Møn
A LIVING WORLD
I believe in more being and less doing. In slow time, new forms of leadership and alternative economies. In unlearning a heap of established thought patterns and actions. In re-establishing connections to the natural world through practices and through listening to, learning from and caring for other species and other people.
Spirituality can mean a lot of things and involve many different directions. To me, spirituality is non-religious, non-dogmatic and non-institutional. It is about training one’s consciousness to subdue the ego and to establish connections with the natural world, feeling how everything is alive. When that happens, you may be lucky enough to find the noblest of emotions coming to the fore: gratitude, humility and soulfulness. With knowledge and an open heart comes care. What we know and love, we take care of.
Spiritual Ecology is wonderfully unfolded by the online magazine Emergence Magazine.
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