Inner Ecology

January 29, 2009

I am tempted to post here the full article which appeared in yesterday’s Organic Consumer’s Association newsletter. It is at the heart of what I feel is true and essential. Here is an excerpt, written by Leonardo Boff:

…we must understand that our relationship with the Earth, at least in recent centuries, has been based on false ethical and spiritual premises: anthropocentrism, negation of the intrinsic value of every being, domination of the Earth, and degradation of her resources. Such premises have produced the present unhealthy state of the Earth, which is reflected in the human psyche.

Ok, this we already know, so he defines inner ecology like this:

…the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the trees, the mountains and the animals are not only just there, outside. Rather, they live in us, as figures and symbols charged with emotion. The experiences -good or traumatic- that we may have had with these realities have left profound imprints in our psyches.

We have a long way to go before anyone recognizes the fish pond and the fir tree inside of themselves, that they actually stop for a minute to feel what that tree says to them and how it says it. We have become too overstimulated and desensitized in our society to naturally understand what he is saying here. Here he uses an example:

That profound spirituality helps us understand, for instance, the exemplary ecological attitude of the Sioux nation of North America. In some of their ritual celebrations, they celebrate a certain type of beans that grows deep in the soil and is very difficult to harvest. What do the Sioux do? They use the stores gathered to eat in the winter by a species of mouse native to the prairies of that area. Without that reserve they risk starvation. When taking the beans, the Sioux are clearly conscious that they are breaking their solidarity with brother mouse, and are stealing from him. This is why they offer this moving prayer: «You little mouse, who are sacred, have mercy on me. You are feeble, yes, but strong enough to do your job, because sacred powers communicate with you. You are also wise, because the wisdom of the sacred powers is always with you. May I also be wise in my heart, so that this dark and confusing life be transformed into permanent light.» And in a sign of solidarity, when they take the beans leave in their place small pieces of pork and corn. The Sioux thus feel spiritually united with the mice and with all of nature.

And he continues with this message:

It is urgent that we revive this spirit of mutual belonging, because we have lost it through the excesses of individualism and competition that underlie the current crisis.

Is this not true? Do we not walk by the trash bags on the street, say hello to plastic bags blowing in the wind and decorating our trees and think to ourselves ‘maybe this is a little excessive?’. Do we not feel drained by the disconnect we feel when we are out and about? I know of only a few vendors here that actually look me in the eyes during our ‘transaction’. What I really want to say, Boff has said it best:

The dominant system indulges the desire to have, at the expense of another, more fundamental desire, which is to be and to develop our own singularity. This demands the capacity to oppose the dominant values and to live ideals linked to life, to caring, to friendship and to love.

This is what I yearn to say to all who have lost their jobs, who may loose their jobs and who want to loose their jobs: now is a great opportunity to start over. We can not go on desiring to have our whole lives and not at the end of our lives look back and see anything but the relationships we’ve created and destroyed- all that junk we were striving after deep down was something called love and happiness. We just didn’t recognize it, so we bought a new __ instead. If we simply acknowledge what values and ideals we really want, we can live happier and fuller lives. We are being robbed blindly of this but we have the opportunity to wake up and change. Boff concludes:

Inner ecology, also called, deep ecology, seeks to awaken the shaman that hides in each and everyone of us. As all shaman, we can enter into a dialogue with the energies that have been at work in the construction of the universe for 13,700 million years. Without a spiritual revolution it will be difficult for us to get out of the present crisis, which demands a new contract with life and with the Earth. Otherwise, we will continue our lonely wandering.

Read the article

Leonardo Boff’s Website


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