Eco-spirituality / Sacred Ecology
My own environmental philosophy, sometimes called Sacred Ecology, aims to shows how embodied (or somatic) knowledge often drives the eco-activism of eco-spirituality, and can bring a revolutionary shift in our awareness.
Most Green thinkers seem stuck in the intellectual mind set typical of our culture. They create systems that live in the head, in the rational, analytical world of argument & counter-argument.
This is the conventional mode of thought in the West, and though it is a powerful and valuable technique it is not the only path to understanding. To move to a more profound level of awareness requires another way of knowing that moves beyond the cerebral. This embodied way of knowing may lead us to a direct experience of a wholeness rooted in the body that can be profoundly healing.
In my paper 'Sacred Ecology'. I outline this mode of understanding, which I called 'Somatic Knowing':
"Besides the cerebral knowledge we all possess, the words & ideas stored in our heads, there is a deeper knowledge held within the tissue of our bodies. It is a somatic, physical knowing which comes from direct experience. This is the knowledge of faith, of emotion, of the gut feeling."
(Harris, 'Sacred Ecology', published in 'Paganism Today'. The full text is available online).
The older term 'embodied knowledge' is more familiar and descriptive than 'Somatic Knowing', so I have now adopted it in my own work.
Embodied knowledge is a phenomena familiar to sports people and performers. But I believe that this kind of knowledge is central to spiritual experience and can bring an experience of a wholeness and greater ecological awareness.
The notion of 'Somatic Knowing' emerged from my personal experiences in ritual as a Wiccan witch with eco-activists for whom 'the personal is political is spiritual' ('Religious Experience in Contemporary Society', Harvey, p.7 ).
I am continuing to research the connection between embodied knowledge and Nature religions. I would be pleased to hear of your comments on this work.