Fifth Tenet: It is not nature which heals but awareness -developing embodied mindfulness is the path

Since we replaced God with nature, the idea has spread that nature is good; even that healing is achieved through it. This is a thought from the Age of Enlightenment, further developed in the Romantic Movement, and one cannot help noticing that nature has since been equipped with the classical attributes of God: omnipotence, wisdom, goodness, beauty. Before this point, things were different; nature was alien and dangerous; mountains unfathomable; the sea treacherous and the darkness of night definitely anxiety-provoking. Of course, this change in how we experience nature is owed not to God’s tiredness but to our own busy restlessness; only cultivated nature is “good” nature; only countless new safety mechanisms allow us to look calmly at the sublime. In fact, nature is not healing; it is not true that as the title (not his own!) of the essays by Paul Goodman promises “Nature Heals”.2 Instead, having a respectful attitude towards nature could, perhaps, have a healing effect. It is a naive and sometimes dangerous illusion to confuse untouched nature with the Garden of Eden. People irredeemably exist in a complex and broken relationship with nature. We are never quite at home; must always build a shelter first. Always we must work on nature, reshape, and change things in order to have a chance of survival. The relationship between our organism and its environment is never an innocent one. It is true, there have been indigenous peoples who for a long time in certain ecological niches managed to live in relative balance with their natural environment. But they also paid a price for this, which we should examine closely: less than half of our life expectancy for example, and certainly not living in peace with their neighbours. The method to keep their population constant was mostly so-called female infanticide, killing many female children. Supernumerary men could still hunt, as well as going without a sexual life if required.

It is not nature that heals, but awareness: this is our uniquely human potential. There is no such thing as original harmony with nature and we will continue to work on her, to reshape her in future. 1 also do not believe that this is a question of securing ethical boundaries or even the preservation of

God’s creation, and I say that knowing that we are about to make hugely significant steps with gene technology and the new embryology as well as with the development of artificial intelligence. But there is no way in which we can randomly establish quantitative limits to growth and to our hunger for increasing knowledge. What counts is the quality of our conditions, our products, our relationships; it is the “when” and “where” and above all the “how” of our actions that matters. A beautifully esoteric insight formulates it thus: “God sleeps in the stones, breathes in the plants, dreams in the animals, and tries to wake up in human beings.” Perhaps human beings, a movement of God’s eyelid, are His/Her eye opening. If so, then it is up to us to keep our still-sleepy eyes open. When we start thinking less in material terms than in terms of consciousness and awareness perhaps we will see that human beings are a transitional phase where waking either succeeds or fails. In any case, everything is moving now very fast indeed, and there is no longer time for being asleep.

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