What is Environmental Spirituality?
Environmental spirituality involves the embodied sense of interconnection we have with nature, including natural places such as rivers and mountains, and both plants and animals, as well as other people with whom we share our natural and built environments.
From bioenergetics, we know that our bodies are an important part of how we either diminish or enhance that sense of interconnection. By improving the flow of energy within the body, we increase our sensitivity, awareness, creativity, compassion, and humility--we become more vibrantly alive and aware of our interconnectivity. Without felt access to the body's vibrancy, the mind becomes disconnected from not only the body, but also from nature and others. Such a dissociated mind is mostly concerned with ego security and ego gratification, allowing disinterest toward the environmental destruction that is currently ravaging our planet or, worse, allowing active participation in this destruction without any sense of feeling abut the horrific damage being done.
Bioenergetic therapists know well the tricks of the mind when out of touch with the body, such as the ability to deny, defend, and obstruct against a person's path towards health and well-being . This is also true in a parallel way about environmental concerns, as many of our institutions, such as laws and regulations, emerged as products of the unfeeling mind that has tended to deny, defend, and obstruct meaningful attempts to redress our severe environmental problems. Just as a patient in psychotherapy resists change, so do our institutions seek to maintain the status quo, which places us on a destructive path, all too evident to those who are connected with their feelings.
Bioenergetics offers a unique key to implementing positive changes in people's lives that can impact the felt value people place on their environment , namely by achieving a sense of environmental spirituality. As a mind-body therapy, bioenergetics leads not just to an intellectual achievement. Rather it requires an experience of feeling within the body, resulting in an embodied realization that we are neither fully masters of our selves nor nature. Such a felt shift fosters striving toward harmony with the environment and this feeling is only possible individual by individual, as personal experience based on recovering the feeling of interconnectedness within the body.
Good institutional changes, such as through legislation and economic incentives, are important in addressing environmental issues, but these alone are not enough. An increase sense of needing and wanting to safeguard the well-being of our environment, and consequently our selves, is required to regain the motivation to resist the degradation of our environment . This shift is sorely needed for our well-being and security--as well as for the future of our and many other species. The Alexander Lowen Foundation is on a quest to explore ways to contribute meaningfully to solving our environmental problems through developing a greater appreciation for environmental spirituality as felt, not just cognitively understood. Join us...it takes a community.