I've just finished reading 'The Voice of the Earth - an exploration of ecopsychology' by Theodore Roszak (Phanes Press, 2001). A big juicy book that delved into the realm of psychology, ecology and an exploration of ideas into how we came into existence on this earth and where we might be going.
To be honest, much of the book was too deep for me and difficult to absorb in many places. I have often said that the subject of ecopsychology interests me, but the book did reveal how I only understand it at a very superficial level. Without a deeper and more technical understanding of Freud, Jung and psychology in general I just have to take what bits I can understand and see how it adds to my awareness of an ecological self. I am, though, glad I read the book as it was quite enlightening in parts. And odd bits of it will sink into my thoughts and writings anyway.
It is a big question - does our mind exist solely within us or is does it somehow have a wider field of operation? Is there a wider creative 'mind' that belongs in the universe? And do the two minds have any interraction?
When I look at the plant life around me, and then consider the fact that throughout the whole of creation humans have only occupied a small timeframe of existence in Gaia, then I wonder how human-like that cosmological creative spirit might be. Does a humancentric idea of "God" reinforce the ecological separation that we face in our lives - the paternalistic industrialisation of society, consumerism of desirables, ecological unsustainability, financial greed and political and social instability? Is God a plant? A bizarre question indeed but, at a superficial level, if the world has a creator God then it must surely have some 'plant' characteristics. After all, we humans have only appeared on the earth in the last tiny fraction of the time it has existed.
I know I keep struggling with all this God stuff and keep looking for ways to help me frame an understanding. Sometimes I think I have I have it all sorted but then something will happen or someone will say something that gets me questioning again. Should I bother thinking about it? Is it ultimately all a waste of time? No, I think not. I have my time here on this green planet and I should respect both as a gift to me. When I look around me all the things I see people believe, I don't see one set of people who have obviously got it right at the expense of all the others. I see people who do amazing things because of their deep beliefs - whatever their religion. If my belief system can empower me to do value things in my life, then that is a place I want to be in.
My mind seems very much attuned to the ecology and presence of plants. I'm not an animals person, nor an insect person, and nor at times a human person. But stick me amongst plants and I feel very much at home. They inhabit a very different world to the one in which we live and one that I can only observe from the outside. I admire people who know a lot about the folklore of plants and have learnt to work with them.
When I awake my ecological self and take my mind of the busyness of work, family and all that is going on around me, I feel a deep sense of peace and belonging in the journey that I am walking. It feels like a return to home, but also to a place of deep mystery, challenge and unknowing. At times it may feel like a refuge, but at times it feels like entering a den of lions.
How do you bring about global change and environmental respect to diverse cultures where there is little awareness of a personal responsibility to the environment? I don't know whether we have the ability to do that. With so many people striving to work, repay mortgages, own cars, shop more, compete for jobs, seek western affluence, satisfy personal 'wants', fit into business, political and social structures etc, there may be little time for more 'earthly' needs - whatever they may be.
Not sure if this is all very coherent.... I just wanted to jot down a few things.