From March/April 'Resurgence Magazine':
'Explanation is rational, understanding is intuitive'
'Knowledge is fragmented, understanding is holistic'
When studying for my degree course Environmental studies, a good few years ago now, I wish I had had more of an understanding of the way in which the environment and our lives interact at a cultural, social, spiritual and emotional level. It has taken me many years to finally grasp that there might be more to nature than just identifying plants and measuring clumps of grasses. Building links between psychology, spirituality and nature has, for me anyway, taken around 20 years.
Although it may have said it before, I think that being in an envangelical Christian environment for those 20 years denied me of the ability to take responsibility for my life's journey and to search openly for what I feel is in tune with my soul. Have I now come to a point of understanding? I certainly don't feel at a point of knowledge. I feel like a learner, a trainee, an explorer - in everything - from the garden, to designing, to my faith. For me, I just understand that I am part of this great thing called Gaia, Earth, or whatever you may like to call it, I don't know how though.
I have to develop a language that enables me to communicate with the environment. I can communicate with other people (well, sometimes!) but can I communicate with the bigger sense of belonging that I have? This probably leads on from my previous post about the language of Nature.
I just caught the first few minutes of a programme on TV about Christian fundamentalism this evening but my stress levels rose too high for me to be able to continue to watch it! But I have to ask myself, what would Jesus' view have been to Nature. Where was 'Love Nature as thyself' in the sermon on the mount? How did he empathise with the earth around him? His philosphies and those of the gospels are hugely people-centric. I am not, so I need a different language with which to identify his teachings. Intimate knowledge of the Bible has never been of interest to me - i just don't get it I'm afraid, but I can approach it from an earth perspective when I am in the right mood or get inspired by others who have done so.
People get passionate about their connection with the Bible and Jesus. I get passionate about my search for belonging between my soul and the Earth. They may tell me I will perish in Hell and may deny my search for understanding. I seek understanding, and the still quiet voice of intuition from within, that confirms my path. It is there.
Man clearly does not understand Nature. As the recent flooding Burma and the earthquake in China shows, we have a lot to learn about the clouds around us and the earth beneath our feet, and we ignore it at our peril. I believe we have no right to be on this earth, we have been given it for a short time, but somehow we just don't get it.