DEALING WITH SPIRITUALITY VALUES WITHOUT OFFENDING ANYONE

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1 DEALING WITH SPIRITUALITY VALUES WITHOUT OFFENDING ANYONE Richard R Jurin University of Northern Colorado Deborah Matlock Antioch University, New Hampshire

2 Consider how you feel about each of the following statements 0=no thought about it to 5 = rankles me highly The Earth is only about 6000 years old Global Climate Change is a hoax Poor people deserve to be poor Humans are the top of the life pyramid We are meant to use and manipulate the Earth A person s horoscope is the most important thing about them

3 Consider how you feel about each of the following statements 0=no thought about it to 5 = rankles me highly Trees are more important than humans The Bible is the inerrant word of God Wealthy people earned their money through hard work Balancing natures energy goes with balancing our own Chakra sr Wilderness must be used or it is wasted Wilderness must be preserved or it is lost forever

4 Globally, environmental educators give lipservice to the need to be more spiritual in our lives if we are to attain sustainability, yet there is a paucity of research on spirituality in relation to Environmental and Sustainability Education. A large body of research does confirm how a direct connection with nature leads to improved mental health of both individuals and hence, the larger communities in which they live.

5 How do you know if you are living a fulfilled life?

6 How do you know you are fulfilled? Happy (fulfillment) Content Satisfied Meaning found in one s experiences Purpose Continued personal growth Feel alive Ability to cope In sync with everything

7 What is Spirituality?

8 What is Spirituality? Sense of awe; Connectedness; Mystery; Grounding; Deeper purpose; Things greater than the human mind; True self; Presence; Creation; Inner peace; Purpose; Compassion; Life force; Energy; Divine; Sacred Oneness; Now; Understanding of our place in the Universe; Part of our nature; Sense of expectation; Place; Spiritual and physical being

9 What are the Components of Spirituality? Community Faith in the natural system Experience meaning gained from the path travelled Worship can be ritualistic or simply silence in a place Recognition Gratitude Acceptance

10 How can we be inclusive of diverse beliefs in our programs?

11 What Kinds of Beliefs? All together in this Nature can manage alone not need our intervention; Ruler something that controls us such as predestination or God; Control can be human or beyond human such as karma generally a human ego related need; God may be a ruler, or not, but implies responsibility to nature; A right vs. a wrong; Living in the NOW

12 What role does Spirituality play in Interpretation?

13 What role does spirituality play? Spiritual leaders need to have influence on behavior Helping kids connect to nature to find their own connections; Crossing barriers in society Environment is a spiritual place Create spiritual experiences Connect to the whole person

14 Spirituality In a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters regarding humankind's ultimate nature and purpose, not only as material biological organisms, but as beings with a unique relationship to that which is perceived to be beyond both time and the material world.

15 Spirituality As such, a perceived sense of connection forms a central defining characteristic of spirituality and relates to matters of sanity and of psychological health. Spirituality as a way of life concerns itself with aligning the human will and mind with that dimension of life and the universe that is harmonious and ordered.

16 For a truly sustainable future, it seems we need to shift our worldview from individualism and competition to a more holistic eco-centric worldview. How individuals perceive this shift varies on how people perceive spirituality on a continuum from new-age eccentricity to religious fervor.

17 Despite varied descriptions of spirituality some core concepts emerge Positive emotions such as love, gratitude, and awe Explicit connections to something larger Expression of a need for deeper purpose Gratitude for many aspects of one s life A focus on mutual benefits of help A broader sense of extended community A desire to build natural world relationships A reaction to a materialistic worldview

18 The concepts of Emotional Intelligence Social Intelligence Ecological intelligence all fit comfortably with spiritual intelligence. Ecological literacy would seem to espouse all the various intelligences that relate to spirituality (e.g. Bowers, Orr, Stone & Barlow).

19 Core Components of Spiritual Intelligence: 1. The capacity to transcend the physical and Material 2. The ability to experience heightened states of consciousness 3. The ability to sanctify everyday experience 4. The ability to utilize spiritual resources to solve problems 5. The capacity to be virtuous.(emmons 2000).

20 Intangible relationships with environment schema. (Porteous 1996, p9).

21 So where are Americans on connectedness? (Nature Connectedness Scale) Numbers Responding =no connection to nature, 150=Extremely connected to nature

22 Advice: Be aware of who you are presenting to Stay away from hot buttons topics Separate science and faith but do define scientific theory Use phrases like Our best scientific understanding is Don t get into arguments Find common ground with each group (i.e: sustainability, stewardship, etc.) Share enthusiasm, be inspiring, and draw them into an exploration of the place without counteracting their values

23 Advice: Get them to exploring the world and our place in it Explore amazing things in nature - Knock on nature s door Wrap-up that nature is everywhere Trust that nature can inspire we just set the stage Facilitate connection and interconnection Be sensitive to vocabulary ( is it charged? Ambiguous?) Help them use sensory awareness Display compassion

24 Advice: Create a sense of community and bond among group to demonstrate sustainable principles of community Connect to the larger community (more than human) Avoid heavy-handed spiritual message let people draw their own conclusions.

25 Business as Usual (BAU) A New and Better World?

26 Blue for blissful Ignorance and BAU Red for the Painful Truth and desire to change things

27 MASLOWS HIERARCHY Self-Actualization Life Purpose Respect Relationships Security Biological Needs

28 MASLOWS HIERARCHY modern living where we are coopted by materialism Life Purpose Respect Insecurity Relationships Hedonism Security Biological Needs

29 Sustainability = Better Quality of Life and true wealth (well-being)

30 The things that really count for Happiness and Well-being: Physical Comfort Good health Good Good nutrition interpersonal Satisfying jobs relations Purpose Interesting cultural activities

31 It all begins in the HEARTS and MINDS of the PEOPLE. A return to the Pursuit of happiness and a desirable Quality of Life for all Relationships Not commodities

32 Keep within nature make that connection Sustainable living Living simpler Living as if the future mattered Living for Quality not Stuff

33 A New Path Far from being an impediment to progress and Sustainability, Mindful Thinking, Attention to Relationships, a focus on Well-Being in which we are Spiritually Connected to ALL LIFE is a precondition for our long-term success

34 We need to reinvent ourselves. What kind of America do we want to see?

35 Comments? QUESTIONS? Thoughts?