– Heartwood Path Waypoint 1.9 –
Draw Close To Nature And Count Your Blessings
This series of courses presents a way for people to develop and put to use a specific type of necessary but uncommon maturity. For the sake of finding solutions to our serious problems and for the sake of the happiness of humans we need to move people beyond the more typical arrested state of psycho-spiritual development—a condition I will describe subsequently. We need to instead return to “our species’ original intimacy with the natural world” (Plotkin, 2010, p. 11-12). As we shall see, Dr. Cohen’s methodology will be very helpful in this regard.
Becoming significantly reacquainted with the natural world will help create not only eco-centric elders but also a human/earth partnership. The mutuality that is implied by the forward slash in the previous sentence can only occur if we determine a way to ripen people, to teach them how to grow up fully, to allow them to become, not only old, but also wise. Simply put: we need more people concerned about others and respected for having skills that help people grow into responsible adults.
To deserve this respect, elders will need an appreciation for the natural world (for that is where the blueprint of human development lies); they will have to have valued traits; they will need to be able to see what is needed for the present and the future; and they will need to be willing and even driven to stand up persistently to injustice, not just for their own benefit, but also for the welfare of others. Respect for such elders ought not be based on their chronological age, their place in society, their physical development, nor their mental abilities. Respect for elders ought to flow naturally to those who do the psychological and spiritual tasks associated with each stage of human development (as described subsequently). Respect and gratitude ought to flow to those who persevere in their efforts to transform the world for the benefit of all.
Such eco-centric elders––whether they be volunteers or professional life coaches––, by their words and actions, show us that there is no survival in isolation. Eco-centric elders demonstrate that our species will simply have to start showing more concern for others, and not just human others.
Humanity’s tumultuous troubles ––including, hunger, resource depletion, wars, climate change, and species loss–– have finally awakened a few people to the need for a paradigm shift. This alone is a good start, but it is not enough.
Only when there are enough vociferous voters, guided by ecologically-minded elders and clamoring for change, will governments react and enact the necessary changes. This required movement of people will only happen if someone or some group makes it happen. It will occur as a result of a significant conversion of humanity towards valued values, treasured traits, prized priorities, esteemed ethics, and beneficial spiritual beliefs.
Such subjects ––morals, ethics, mores, beliefs, and collective values—in short, “ethos” ––will be presented in detail in Heartwood Path Course # 4: The Development of Valued Traits. As we will see, these are critically important topics. More so than politics, economics, or technology, ethos will ultimately be the root cause of humanity’s and the earth’s pursuit of salvation.
Unless we ponder, discuss, and hone an ecological ethos, I feel the other instruments of change will not be enough. We do not need more religiously imposed moralistic restrictions. We need a moral or spiritual heading.
It will take the development of eco-centric elders (volunteers and coaches) to spread this way of being amongst us. And someone or some group will have to train the trainers of the eco-centric life coaches. That is where you, a participant in this series of courses, one of a cadre of so-called “eartHearts,” can serve a vital role.
There is not only an ecological crisis in the outer world. There is also a spiritual crisis in the inner world. Together, these crises are hitting us hard and just in time to wake us up so we can avoid answering T.S. Elliot’s question about which sound would accompany the end—a “whimper” or a “bang.”
Despite the seriousness of these crises, there remains a continuous array of blessings for you to appreciate. While remembering that serious issues confront us all, let us begin our journey to Gladandgreen Junction by developing the useful habit of focusing on the positive.