Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mindfulness & Healing Artificial Splits: Sacred-Profane, Man-Nature ...

     "Quasi-religion involves 'groups and activities which deal with the sacred but are anomalous given the American folk category of "religion" [ie they lack formal organizational components, particularly a church].'
     ... quasi-religious phenomena ... can be just as sacred or spiritual as 'sacred' ones. (and may elicit) spiritual experiences that rival and perhaps even surpass the sacred nature of much formal religious observance.
     An important component of the quasi-religious reaction against modernity is the deep ecology movement whose operative assumptions lead to its central thesis: In order to prevent a generalized ecosystems collapse before the mid-twenty-first century, humankind must experience a change in consciousness comparable in its intensity & comprehensiveness to the cultural shifts accompanying the agricultural & industrial revolutions. Transcending what deep ecologists see as environmental tinkering in the form of limited, disconnected laws & policies ('shallow' ecologies), this change in consciousness centers on healing humankind's alienation from nature in terms of a dualistic subject/object split that permits violence directed towards the earth, justified by the drive for material accumulation.
     In their pursuit of resources to heal what they see as alienation from nature, deep ecologists have focused on Eastern religious traditions, particularly on meditative phenomena. In a meditative experience, following deep ecological assumptions, the dualistic, subject/object split of Western science and materialism is assumed to recede, to be replaced by a sense of unity with one's natural environment. Deep ecologists, then, see meditative experiences as a primary vehicle for humankind to transcend anthropomorphism and find a wider identification with nature, culminating, by definition, in an ecocentric worldview."

       Brinkerhoff MB, Jacob JC. Mindfulness and quasi-religious meaning systems: An empirical exploration within the context of ecological sustainability and deep ecology. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 1999; 38(4): 524-42.


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