Opening up and Exploring our Love for Nature, its sacredness

Love of Nature as a basis for activism

Love and Nature

  • What do we mean when we say “I love Nature”?

    • What do we mean by love, and by nature?
    • How would you articulate it?
    • Are beauty, wonder, sacredness part of the answer?
  • Do our articulations capture the answer completely, or is there something missing?

  • In our culture, the Sacredness of Nature, and in general, tends to be overlooked, dismissed or could even be mocked

    • Both secular humanism and religious fundamentalism don’t acknowledge it
  • Where there was sacredness there is now a void

  • climate change is not just a crisis of technology and Capitalism, it is a crisis of values (and the views that condition our values)

Defining Love?

  • In a way, Love is undefinable, and it’s good to admit that

    • But it doesn’t mean that we should stop our exploration there
  • Love includes, but is not limited to


  • Metta

    • Unconditional, universal, well wishing
      • It tends to fabricate less
      • It brings to a sense of equality (“everything is Love”)
    • It’s not just a feeling, it involves an intention, and it needs action
  • It doesn’t necessarily lead to the care and passion that’s needed for activism or protection of the Earth

    • Cooling effect on activism


  • Eros (also undefinable)

    • A starting definition could be “a desire to connect more” (which is not necessarily part of Metta)
    • Includes sexual desire, sexuality etc…, but broader than that
  • Erotic Love of Nature is not confinable to a wonder of it, appreciation of physical sensations, because Eros seeks to continue to grow

    • Experience and know more connection
    • It will enjoy its connection to the object for a while, and then seek to expand to know more
      • In wanting more, it will open more of the psyche and fantasy
    • Eros’ expansion could be hindered by clinging to a certain image or conceptual framework
      • e.g. Modernist ideas block any possibility of divine
  • It includes the experience of Nature, its image (psyche), and the conceptual frameworks of it (logos)

  • Unlike Metta, Eros complicates and fabricates more its object (could be vague or specific)

    • Opens up a multiplicity of dimensions (of perception) of the erotic other
      • Not a denigration of the materiality (“Spiritualization of matter and materialization of spirit through perception”)
    • More and more image and fantasy are involved
    • We can start seeing aspects of Nature as particular expression of the Divine
      • Erotic imaginal practice in meditation can help us sense the specific divinity of another, and then to start spreading that sense of divinity to nature and other people


  • The idea of interconnectedness thst’s common in Buddhism and Ecology is Horizontal and material

    • Refer to the interflow of matter in ecosystems, in a certain time and space
  • It doesn’t include a vertical dimension that’s connected to the Divine

    • Nature as image of the Divine


  • Doesn’t This continuous wanting more of Eros easily become greed?

  • When the psyche and/or the logos are constrained, the eros is subverted into greed

  • Modernist Conceptual Framework

    • If we see ourselves as separate, maybe above Nature, which we see just as dead matter, than it will be easy to become greedy
  • Idea of Bucket Lists, Traveling around the World, Collecting experiences, etc…

    • Involves a certain sensuality (wanting to experience new cuisines, sights etc…)
  • Sacredness of Nature is sometimes seen as a reason to respect and thus protect it (there’s much more to be found in its sacredness)

  • If we allow the Eros to expand vertically, without limits on our conceptual frameworks and on our psyche, there is no need to become greedy about material stuff

    • Eros is able to get what it wants at other levels of perception in non-exploitative, non-commodified way


  • Both Metta and Eros involve a certain way of looking of Self, other, World

  • Views are part of dependent arising

    • Views depend on culture, our state of mind and heart
    • Our views affect Love, the way we see Nature

Views of Self

  • Views of self are sometimes limited by our cultures

    • Traditional Dharma’s Archetypal images don’t allow for The Warrior or Revolutionaty Achetype
      • Most archetypes involve equanimity and calmness
  • Through Metta, the sense of Self can be dissolved in a sense of oneness

  • Through the Eros Psyche Logos Dynamic and Imaginal practice, our sense of Self can be expanded

    • Other dimensions of Self are opened

Views and Activism

The views we hold about ourselves have a strong impact on our engagement in the world

Nobility can bring strong engagement

A protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart … that would be destroyed by acquiescence. - Wendell Berry

You follow your conscience not in order to change the world but in order to be a noble person. You are prepared to go against all norms, conventions, dictates and decrees, even to risk your life in order to remain true to yourself. - Confucius

Views of the Dharma


  • We see the Dharma as looking at self as “No Self”, or “Self as a Process”
  • If we truly understand the teaching of Emptiness we’ll see the Self as thoroughly empty, even the process
    • That allows us to play with images and ideas of Self (knowing that they’re empty)
    • We can see the practitioner as a “warrior” or “troublemaker”

4 Noble Truths

  • Do we only include our individual suffering, or do we allow it to include all beings?
    • So many issues going on in our society causing suffering to living beings. Dharma practitioners should address them

Aspirations & Clinging

  • Cognitive Dissonance around teachings of Attachment and non-clinging

    • Practitioners adopt the ideal of living a life of non-clinging…THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!
    • It doesn’t even get questioned
    • We do need to cling to ethics, for a while at least
  • What if we explore and practice letting go of clinging and then letting it come back?

    • What if we allow ourselves to play along the spectrum of clinging?
    • That allows us to see how perception is fabricated, and that everything is empty

Views of Other and Nature

Scientific Revolution

The scientific revolution led to a widespread belief/assumption that the scientific method of looking at things (in terms of things that can be measured, cause and effect, one-dimensionality) is the only possible one

Something that started out as a (scientific) method, became a widespread belief and assumption, a hidden dogma

Knowledge valued only for its instrumentality - It is knowledge only if it has a practical, material value

Effect on Activism

This view, with its focus on measurability and instrumentality also affected the way we approach activism:

  • We need to measure the impact of our activism
    • It’s surely extremely good and important to do so
    • But overemphasizing the instrumentality or what can be measured we will lack potential other dimensions
  • Something in us needs more than the material, instrumental dimension, you could say a soulful dimension
    • Why do we have funerals, if not to satisfy a part of our soul needs (instrumentality would just call for burying dead bodies to the ground for hygienic purposes)

Eros, Skillful fabrication, Nature

Eros allows us to love our object horizontally, as other, but also vertically, as a reflection of the divine

Do we love nature because we see it as sacred? Or in loving it, do we open up the possibility of sacredness? Maybe both

Skillful fabrication: Opening up the levels of perception to the possibility of the divine creates more love, which feeds the view of the divine further.

We can skillfully fabricate the ways we see and experience self, love, other, nature to be more and more beautiful, to include more soul.