How to Practice Nature-Based Spirituality Responsibly
Possibly something like this has transpired for you: you’re out hiking in a grove of trees when sunlight streams through the branches, warming your skin. Suddenly, you realize that you are a living creature and that you are a part of the ecosystem in which you are situated. Alternatively, you reach the summit of a mountain and are completely taken aback by the view below and how nature reveals itself to be a metaphor for life, over and over again—you must endure physical and mental challenge in order to shift perspective and see transformation; there is no constant other than change, whether it is the weather or the people with whom you are in a romantic or business relationship.
Either way, you may start with seeds in your garden, water and care for the soil, and watch them develop.
Sacred space in nature is ideal if you are looking for spiritual connection without being influenced by religious doctrine.
Prior you taking a nature-based baptism or sitting in silence under a tree like Siddhartha, here are a few of things to think about regarding the foundations of nature-based spiritualism and how you can practice it without appropriating or harming the natural world.
The Roots of Western Environmental Spirituality
The Western explorers of the 17th and 18th centuries discovered exquisite moments in the wilderness on their journeys. They wrote about it, told stories about it, or created famous, ethereal works of nature in locations like Yosemite Valley, among other things. The ethos of John Calvin, René Descartes, and other philosophers and religious leaders who believed the natural world was full of sin (like the Garden of Eden) and separate from us remained in their impressions, whether they were tamed and conquered or observed from afar remained in their impressions.
On their journeys of self-discovery and self-transformation, Thoreau and his fellow transcendentalists—including artists, authors, abolitionists, campaigners, and others—were redefining the Western connection with nature and making spiritualism far more accessible to the public.
Gary Snyder and other beat poets took up the mantle throughout the mid-twentieth century, drawing on creation tales from diverse indigenous tribes to underline our non-duality in our relationship with nature (an effort he won the Pulitzer for).
In this intriguing and helpful amalgamation of religion, Eastern philosophy, and nature, there was one very glaring and destructive omission: the acknowledgement of indigenous peoples and rituals that existed before to colonialism and their proper designation and recognition.
Indigenous Lands and Cultural Appropriation
Adventurers in the West discovered beautiful moments in the wilderness throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Yosemite Valley was a site where they wrote about it, told stories about it, and painted classic ethereal masterpieces about it. The ethos of John Calvin, René Descartes, and other philosophers and religious leaders who believed the natural world was full of sin (like the Garden of Eden) and separate from us remained in their impressions, whether they were tamed and conquered or observed from afar remained in their perceptions.
On their journeys of self-discovery and self-transformation, Thoreau and his fellow transcendentalists—including artists, authors, abolitionists, and other activists—were redefining the Western connection with nature and making spiritualism far more accessible to the general public.
Gary Snyder and other beat poets took up the mantle throughout the mid-twentieth century, drawing on creation tales from diverse indigenous tribes to underline our non-duality in our relationship to nature (an effort he won the Pulitzer for).
Decolonizing and Unlocking the Benefits of Nature-Based Spirituality
The first step in practicing responsible nature-based spirituality is to acknowledge the unceded territory and historical significance of the land on which you are currently standing, according to Dr. Rita Sherma, the founding director of and associate professor at the Center for Dharma Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. You can then become more conscious of the divine ancestral presence in nature and how it unites us all as a result of your experience. If you don’t have access to natural environments, you may still pay homage to indigenous peoples and cultivate a spiritual connection by planting indoor plants or taking a walk through city parks.
In Sherma’s words, “If we can transcend beyond individual ambitions to shared visions, then land-based theology and wilderness spirituality may become beacons—moving us toward a sense of belonging to the beauty of America’s geography as well as a sense of purpose that provides meaning to life.” She thinks that our relationship to nature has the ability to alter us both inside and outwardly, providing us with the optimism we require to make a difference in the world.
Learn More About Greening Spirituality
Listen to Sherma on the Talk Healthy Today podcast to hear more about nature-based and environmental spiritualism, or take the Graduate Theological Union’s four-part online learning offeringGreening Spirituality to learn more about environmental spiritualism. Students will learn about the rich history of Eastern impact on American environmental spirituality, including its linkages to Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as its relationship with indigenous traditions in this nation, from Drs. Rita Sherma and Devin Zuber.
Visit gtu.edu/x to learn more about and sign up for learning opportunities on issues like as justice, spiritual care, theology, ethics, and other related topics.
How to Practice Nature-Based Spirituality Responsibly
When faced with a worldwide epidemic, the concept of New Year’s goals might seem trivial — forget about taking an after-work walk or eating nutritious meals; instead, I hope you’ve gotten vaccinated and boosted. When you’ve completed those critical tasks, your personal contribution to the public health mission to halt (and finally terminate) the epidemic, there are, of course, other aspects of staying healthy to consider, ranging from mindfulness to injury prevention.
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It is in the book of Genesis that one of my favorite pictures from Holy Scripture is presented. Consider the splendor of the Garden of Eden, which was beautiful in every manner and brimming with every good thing imaginable. A paradise on earth with lovely flowers and trees, peaceful creatures of all kinds, pure rivers, and soothing breezes – it is certainly a paradise on earth. God has created Adam and Eve to dwell in perfect harmony with him in a place known as the “Paradise of Pleasure” (Genesis 2:15).
God spoke to them in the same way that you and I would speak to our own children.
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Can Nature-Based Solutions Be an Answer to the Climate Crisis?
Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, is perched on the coast of the Indian Ocean, set against a backdrop of rising office buildings, colonial structures, temples, and minarets, and it appears to be no different from any other bustling South Asian urban metropolis on the surface.
However, intermingled within Colombo’s metropolitan environment is a teeming network of wetland habitats that support a diverse range of wildlife. earth.com
How we experience nature is partly hereditary
Although it is widely recognized that spending time in nature has positive effects on both mental and physical health, not everyone is pulled to the natural world with the same zeal. Individual variations in our experiences of nature have been studied extensively, with environmental variables (such as parental views and access to natural regions) receiving the greatest focus in the quest to comprehend them. The possibility that genes have a role in this variance between people has been underappreciated.
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A near-Earth comet that triggered a devastating airburst across North America 1,500 years ago may have been the cause of the quick fall of Hopewell civilization, an ancient pre-Columbian Native American civilisation, according to some researchers. Evidence of a cosmic airburst was found at 11 archaeological sites in three states stretching across the Ohio River Valley, regions that were once home to the Ohio Hopewell, a notable Native American culture found throughout much of the American East.
When a comet passed by the Earth more than 1,500 years ago, it dropped debris down into the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in the formation of the.olneyenterprise.com website.
Perhaps the abrupt fall of the Hopewell civilization, an old pre-Columbian Native American civilisation, was triggered by a near-Earth comet that unleashed a devastating airburst across North America 1,500 years ago. Evidence of a cosmic airburst was found at 11 archaeological sites in three states stretching across the Ohio River Valley, regions that were once home to the Ohio Hopewell, a notable Native American culture found throughout much of the American East. Scientists, including those from the University of Cincinnati, discovered evidence of a cosmic airburst at the sites.
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Religions and environmental protection
Regardless of religious affiliation, all religions believe that nature is a divine act and should be honored as such. With varied degrees of clarity and precision, almost all faiths address the subject of the origin of the world, or universes, in various ways and in differing degrees of detail. All religions, on the other hand, believe that creation is an act of God and that it should be treated as such. The success of the worldwide solidarity for an ethical, moral, and spiritual commitment to conserve the environment and God’s creation is dependent on the leadership of spiritual leaders at all levels of society.
They can also make public promises, tell the narrative of their commitments, as well as the challenges and rewards of upholding them, and welcome others to join them.
A consideration of how faiths have addressed religious responsibilities to the environment is presented in the next section.
The writings of Bahá’u’lláh are infused with a great reverence for nature and an understanding of the interconnection of all things, with the prophet finding in nature a mirror of the divine and a symbol of humanity’s oneness with one another.
It is only because of its diversity and variety that it is so beautiful; each flower, each tree, and each fruit, aside from being lovely in and of themselves, draws out the traits of the others by contrast, and reveals to advantage the particular beauty of each and every one of them.” (‘Abdu’l-Paris Bahá’s Talks,’ Abdu’l-Bahá) “We cannot compartmentalize the human heart from the external world and claim that if one of these is reformed, everything will be improved.
Man is a part of the natural environment.
One acts on the other, and every lasting change in the course of a person’s life is the product of these reciprocal interactions.” (Executive Summary of Shoghi Effendi’s Statement) Buddhism: The concept of karma alone, which is a significant aspect of Buddha’s teachings, transmits the principles of conservation and responsibility for the future to the listener.
The Buddhist Connections to the Environment and Reflection on the Environment: “As a bee collects honey from a bloom without hurting the blossom, its color, or its scent, and flies away: so should the sage pass through a community.” Blossoms (Pupphavagagga: Blossoms, Dhammapada IV, 49).
As a result, Christians have an obligation to protect the environment and promote behavioral change for the sake of future generations (OpenBible.info., n.d).
“Don’t let anything go to waste.” (See also John 6:12) “Nature must be treated with the same reverence and awe that we accord to human beings.
We require it in order to breathe; we require it in order for us to just be.” (Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, 2010) “The pressing problem of protecting our shared planet involves a concern for bringing the entire human family together in order to pursue a sustainable and integrated development, because we are well aware that things might change.
- Humanity still possesses the power to collaborate in the construction of our shared home.” Pope Francis (2015, 2015).
- Confucianism has been referred to be a civic religion or a distributed religion by certain sociologists (Center for Global Education, 2018).
- For Confucians, everyday life was a religious arena in which to practice their beliefs.
- Connections to Confucianism and Reflections on the Environment: In the words of the author, “.
- Rivers, mountains, plants, animals, and the soil are all mentioned in the holy texts (Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Epics), and there are numerous references to divinity in nature in the sacred texts.
Connections to Hinduism and Reflections on the Environment: “I will now describe the knowable, and once you understand it, you will be able to taste the eternal.” “Brahman, the spirit, which is without beginning and subservient to Me, exists beyond of the realm of cause and consequence in this material universe.” (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13.13.) ‘According to the diverse modes of material nature — the modes of goodness, passion, and darkness — there are distinct types of living creatures, who are known as demigods, human beings, and hellish living entities, depending on their mode of existence.
Even a specific mode of nature, when combined with the other two, is divided into three, and as a result, each type of living being is impacted by the other modes and develops their habits as well.” (According to Bhagavata Purana 2.10.41) “There is an inextricable tie between man and nature,” says the author.
- Many Islamic groups advocate for the relationship between Islam and environmental sustainability.
- The planet is God’s creation, and as humans, we have been given with the responsibility of preserving it in its natural state.
- Furthermore, Islam forbids the excessive consumption of resources that the world offers to humans (Qur’an 7:31, 6:141, 17:26-27, 40:34, and other verses).
- The Islamic Climate Change Symposium, held in 2015, resulted in the adoption of the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change.
- “You will never be able to tear the earth apart, nor will you ever be able to match the height of the mountains” (Qur’an 17:37).
- If Allah is your Lord, then Allah is blessed, for He is the Lord of the worlds.” (Qur’an, verse 64) Jainism: As a religion that originated in India, the basic precept of Jainism is Ahimsa, or nonviolence, in all aspects of one’s life.
- Kindness for animals, vegetarianism, and self-restraint in order to reduce waste are all aspects of the Jains’ way of life.
- Connections to Jainism and Reflections on the Environment: Inflict bodily harm or psychological harm on any creature or living thing.
- Insult them.
- To murder them.
- As an example, the book of Genesis suggests that the garden of Eden was initially the selected region chosen by God for human beings to reside in before the fall of man.
“The earth belongs to the Lord, and everything that is in it” (Psalm 24) “the earth belongs to Me, and you are My tenants” (See Leviticus 25:23 for further information.) Japan’s traditional religion, Shinto, is founded on Kamis, or spirits that correlate to natural phenomena such as the wind, rocks, water, and so on.
These kinds of relationships assist the preservation of the natural environment (Japan Experience, 2017).
Because woods are considered sacred in Shinto culture, the religion is already intensely concerned with the environment.
“This is the goal,” says the plan.
‘Sikhism’ is a native Indian religion that originated in the late 15th century and was formed by the first teacher, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who is also known as Guru Nanak.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.) manages the Sikh holy site, and it is this institution that takes decisions on behalf of the global Sikh community, particularly in the area of the environment.
(Guru Granth Sahib, Maru Sohele, page 1020) Guru Granth Sahib, Maru Sohele, page 1020 You, Yourself are made out of water and other elements such as desert, ocean, and pond.
(Guru Granth Sahib, Maru Sohele, page 1020) Guru Granth Sahib, Maru Sohele, page 1020 Taoism: Taoism, also known as Daoism, is an ancient Chinese religion that emphasizes the divine harmony that exists between nature and humans.
Taoist Connections and Environmental Reflection: A Taoist Perspective “This primordial essence is the everlasting law,” says the author.
He who is uninformed of nature’s rule will act foolishly, and as a result, he will draw tragedy upon himself.
Being charitable entails being unbiased.
“Nature is sovereign in and of itself.” (Chapter 16 of the Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu) The following are the Harmonious Principles (from the Daoist Faith Statement of 2003): “The Earth must acknowledge the changes in Heaven, and Heaven must abide by the Dao.” (Source) Also, everything develops according to its natural path, according to the Dao.” “Those who have only a cursory comprehension of the link between humans and nature will indiscriminately misuse the natural environment.” Those who have a thorough knowledge of the relationship will treat nature with respect and will learn from it,” says the author.