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Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth
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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather Mann (heatherlynmann) O.K. Here are a few questions to get our conversation about Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth rolling. Feel free to comment on any one, a few, or all of the questions. Or, if you want to talk about something else altogether, go for it! Whatever you do, don't sit on the sidelines afraid to jump in because you haven't done the reading. You are a spiritual being so you have everything you need to participate!

So here are the questions:

1. The book's editor--Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee--says in the introduction, "The world is not a problem to be solved; it is a living being to which we belong." I believe this is true. But when I am engaged in advocacy, it feels like I'm fixing a problem. How can we operationalize an awareness of "a living being to which we belong?"

2. Chief Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nations says it is important to enjoy life if we are to stop making war against Mother Earth. Do you think enjoying life is a prerequisite to caring for the earth?

3. Thomas Berry wrote, "We were a predator people on an innocent continent." I question Berry's intentional humanizing of the landscape, giving it feelings and values. Is it helpful to describe nature as an "innocent continent?" Or, does this diminish in the reader's imagination the primacy of natural order?

4. Einstein used the phrase: "the optical illusion of separateness." What does this phrase mean to you?

5. John Stanley & David Loy say that during meditation, "Biological evolution [the creation of new neural networks] happens in real time as a reflection of spiritual evolution." What is your experience with meditation?

6. Please answer Stanley and Loy's question: "How can this advanced globalized society sleepwalk into an unprecedented betrayal of inter-generational injustice?"

7. Mary Evelyn Tucker & Brian Thomas Swimme write, "We are coming to realize that the energy released at the very beginning has finally, in the human, become capable of reflecting on and exploring its own journey of change." Is this a message of hope? Why or why not?

Thanks for considering these questions. I look forward to reading your response!--H

message 2: by William (new)

William Ash | 9 comments Well, I have not read the book, but in regards to no. 3., what we have is a culture that believed nature was not divine and something to be controlled and used clashing with the indigenous culture that believed that the land was divine and you lived in harmony with it.

No 4. is a very old philosophical idea that time and space is an illusion that makes us believe we are separate.

No 6 is easy. We have never really done the right thing until we have to. Willful blindness is our greatest strength.

As far as number 1, you can simply think of the world as dualistic and which cause and effect are in operation or that the world is just the frame of life and nothing is right or wrong. But it we truly believe that, then action (or in Buddhist terms: dharma) is just taking sides. Can we say yes to the destruction of the world?

message 3: by Heather (new)

Heather Mann (heatherlynmann) William wrote: "Well, I have not read the book, but in regards to no. 3., what we have is a culture that believed nature was not divine and something to be controlled and used clashing with the indigenous culture ..."

Well spoken insights, William. Thank you.

In regards to question 3, do you think it generally "helps" to portray nature as victim?

Perhaps your notion of "willful blindness" in answer to question 6 is a bit sweeping. Who is the "we" who has never done the right thing until we have to? Do you mean all of humanity throughout all time? I can think of many individuals who have acted brilliantly, societies too. Do you mean this modern post-industrial civilization?

And, you could fool me--it sounds like you've read the book inside and out!

message 4: by William (new)

William Ash | 9 comments I am not sure how to answer that question. The idea that somehow human and natural worlds are a dichotomy is a little strange unless you look at it from a Christian/Islamic/Jewish mythological view point of the creation myth. We are a natural product of the evolution on this planet. It you take a bigger snap shot, we are inflicting harm on ourselves. So who is the victim? Are we the victim of our own folly?

It think the only way to look at the problem is not whether there is a victim, but simply that no one animal has the absolute right over the rest of the natural world. And since we have the conscious ability to understand our actions, we cannot absolve ourselves of our duty. If we decide to promote our short term convenience over the rest of the environment, then we just need to fess up to it.

The other problem with the victim idea is that there is a moral and personal aspect to nature. There is nothing moral or personal about the predator/prey relationship. Katrina was not sent by a wrathful God. Our impact and behavior is a result of the natural evolution of the human animal.

"Willful blindness" is part of our evolutionary make up. This is a stress mechanism--if you ignore the problem, it is so much easier to get on with what you need to do and justify a destructive action. This is nothing new--look what the societies did to their natural environment through out time (where are the English and Greek forests?). It is just at this point of in time we can know and understand our impact.

message 5: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Murphy (patrickmm) | 3 comments On number 2: I do agree that enjoying life is quite possibly a prerequisite to respecting Earth. I asked a question on the boards, had anyone in this group experienced a vision quest? The reason I asked, is that I did so in September of 2013. And the main point of the quest leaders was to assist each person in self-realization--a new understanding of each individual's gifts, so that they might better serve their community with their gifts and know their own special place. That self-knowledge provides that individual with a certain sense of belonging and purpose. One of the issues, they felt, with American society, is that we do not have a proper ritual for assisting the young into adulthood... and so we have a nation of unrealized adults... some of whom reek havoc on nature in the many ways we see happening these days.

Being self-fulfilled through purpose in community may lead to happiness with life and so a more balanced treatment of the surrounding environment.

Thanks for the discussion!

message 6: by James (new)

James Kraus | 6 comments The Forester
Adirondack Moments

I have always liked the Bible Quote - Romans 1: 17-21 because it connects God with nature in a powerful way. Many Christian Churches encourage Social Justice but ignore the fact that everything for human survival comes from the earth & nature. Christ said we should love our neighbor & give him water if he is thirsty, but would you give your neighbor polluted water, of course not, so if we want to honor this concept of loving our neighbor as Christ suggests, then we must have clean water to give to our neighbor, so Social Justice & Eco-Justice are linked together, but many churches ignore the clean water part of the equation & presented a disconnected view from nature. In THE FORESTER a man unknowingly searches for his place in nature, a journey that is motivated by a love for his wife, the people he meets, & the experiences he has in nature.

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