The essence of any ecological spirituality is interconnection and interdependence. That is what ecology is about. Organisms are shaped by the community of which they are members, and they in turn shape the nature of those communities. It is all about relationship. The question I pose is how broadly and deeply that interdependence goes. Can anything be separated from its role in the whole system and still exist? Continue reading “Everything Is Connected”
If you want to understand contemplation, and therefore contemplative ecology, you have to become acquainted with emptiness. You can’t bypass emptiness and understand why contemplation has the potential to address the root causes of the ecological crisis. The encounter with emptiness is a fundamental stick in the spokes of the operations of the human mind and all it wishes for and all it projects onto the world in the myriad forms of exploitative desire, that endless grasping for more. Emptiness negates all of our attempts to affirm our independent existence. Not too many people want to go there, but contemplation cannot be understood without emptiness. Continue reading “Emptiness Changes Everything”
My preoccupation for the last 30 years has been to articulate an authentic, ecological spirituality that erases the division between the spiritual life, the life of the body, and the living Earth. That body-spirit division lies at the heart of most of what we call “spirituality.” It might even be fair to say that this is what most of us mean by “spirituality:” a belief that something exists beyond this physical world, and that our true nature, our essence, the thing that makes us most human, belongs to that disembodied realm. Whatever we imagine the spiritual world to be, it usually stands in contrast to the material world. Continue reading “Ecological Spirituality”
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I met Dr. King on April 22nd, 1967, slightly less than one year before he was killed. I had just turned six. He was coming to Brown University to speak, and my father, who was a chaplain at the university, was given the job of meeting Dr. King at the airport. I went along for the ride and shook the great man’s hand. I remember the total attention that he gave to me as he met me. Two weeks earlier, he had come out publicly and forcefully in opposition to the war in Vietnam, and an ocean of criticism had fallen on him for doing so. Here was a man carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and yet, he had the time and attention for an unknown six-year-old white kid from Rhode Island. Continue reading “We Must All Be Changed”
The following is a modified version of the final part of the post The Whole World Is Sacred. I am reposting that part because it is a good summary of what I am trying to communicate.
The human presence on Earth has become so dysfunctional; our ways of living and working, of growing and catching food, of making things, of gathering the resources to make things, and our ways of disposing of those things are so fundamentally out of harmony with natural, life-giving processes, and so destructive to the basis of life, that we must be utterly changed, inwardly and outwardly, in our sense of identity and in the structures of our societies. New technologies and a few policy changes are insufficient and often merely perpetuate the problem in a new form. Continue reading “We Need an Ecological Spiritual Revolution”