ECOSPIRITUALITY HAS BEEN ARGUED to be more important as a movement than any one of the great world religions. Ecospirituality is the experience of the Divine Presence or Divine Reality in the natural world.
This yearning for and returning to humankind’s first religious awakening is a recent re-recognition of a timeless truth – and on these terms it is a recent development in the history of spirituality. Ecospirituality, Gaia spirituality, Nature-earth spirituality or Nature-mysticism are all new terms for this recent development.
Wayne Teasdale is one who maintains that ecospirituality and the Green Movement have emerged out of the negative results of modern industrial society. The destruction of the natural world has reawakened a passion for wilderness consciousness and nature-mysticism which is really a sort of spiritual or inner illumination. “It is the ability to perceive the Presence of the Divine immanent in the natural world”; and this is, as Evelyn Underhill tells us, “an overpowering apprehension”.[i]
Teasdale concludes that ecospirituality is the most important development of the twentieth century, ranking it in significance to the discovery of the printing press and the Copernican Revolution. It brings a shift in paradigm, which brings with it a revolution in human consciousness. Teasdale maintains:
“Eco-spirituality is singularly more significant, as a movement, than any one of the great world religions, when regarded from the larger perspective of the earth process.”[ii]
[i] Wayne Teasdale, ‘Nature-Mysticism as the Basis of Eco-Spirituality’, Studies in Formative Spirituality, v.12, no.2 (1991), 218-219. Note: Teasdale refers to Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness (New York: Dutton, 1961), 234.
[ii] Ibid, 230.