Artwork by Carter Murdoch

Tiefenökologie / EcoPsychology

 

One is confident when present in the body, present in the moment, filled out to the edges, connected to and able to take action toward what is of most concern.”

                                          ~ Denise Benson in Strozzi-Heckler

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“ Embodied Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of our bodies, aware in the moment, and present with ourselves and others. When we begin to practice Embodied Mindfulness we are no longer at the mercy of our old habits or the pressure we feel from others to do things their way. By becoming aware of our animal nature and innate drive for survival we develop the capacity to respond with “choice” versus “reacting” to the pressures of life. Working with the horses can help us become better humans. From them we learn to be present and aware of our inner world and how it is projected and perceived by our external environment.  With this awareness and understanding, it is amazing what we can accomplish in our lives and relationships.

 

Unlike humans, horses are prey animals.  Instinctively, as prey animals, their survival depends on their ability to sense underlying energetic and emotional currents in their environment. They use their animal wisdom – keen sense of smell, hearing, body awareness, and vigilance – to keep themselves safe.  You could call horses ‘Masters of Mindfulness,’ because they are fully in the present moment, have no judgment, and don’t hold on to the past or project into the future.  Furthermore, they are completely congruent and authentic with what they experience – in other words, what they show on the outside matches what they feel on the inside.  They don’t deny or mask their feelings and our masks/personas do not fool them.

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We often say that horses are like living, breathing biofeedback machines with a heart and a soul.  Their keen awareness of, and ability to interpret, the body language and emotions of the animals around them not only makes them successful herd animals but enables them to be steadfast interpreters of our underlying, true feelings. They are powerful messengers that mirror back their direct experience of us humans. And, they do so without the judgment or biases typically associated with human beings. „

– V. Colman

 

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Ecopsychology studies the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles. The field seeks to develop and understand ways of expanding the emotional connection between individuals and the natural world, thereby assisting individuals with developing sustainable lifestyles and remedying alienation from nature (wikipedia). 

Here are 9 Principles of Ecopsychology, as pointed out by the Shenoa Retreat and Learning Center:

  1. The Earth is a living system. Human beings are fundamentally interconnected with the Earth and with all life. Neither the Earth’s problems nor humanity’s problems can be resolved without taking full account of this interconnection.
  2. Ecopsychology seeks to heal the alienation between person and planet, and establish a healthy relationship between the two. A key element of this is recognizing that the needs of the person are the same as the needs of the planet. The rights of the person are the same as the rights of the planet.
  3. Rather than viewing the ecological dilemma as a crisis “out there” in our physical environment, ecopsychology recognizes that human consciousness is intricately involved in creating and maintaining the ecological crisis.
  4. Ecopsychology calls for a new cosmology that embraces not only scientific models and understandings, but also spiritual teachings, ancient wisdom, and the non-Western knowledge of indigenous cultures.
  5. Ecopsychology calls for a profound revisioning of mental health and human consciousness. Today’s dominant models of human consciousness define the human being as an isolated and fragmented entity living in a mechanical purposeless universe. This model of human reality is a product of the old cosmology: the scientific industrial era that now weighs heavily on the planet.
  6. The drive to live in harmony with the natural world and its rhythms is primal innate. Suppression of that drive is just as disorienting and damaging as suppression of other human needs.
  7. The very notion of sanity must be redefined to include our planetary home. Today’s psychology and psychotherapy “stop at the city limits, as if the soul might be saved while the biosphere crumbles” (Roszak). A healthy mature human being naturally develops an ethical responsibility for the Earth.
  8. Ecopsychology utilizes a pluralistic epistemology and methodology, drawing on mythological and archetypal understandings, intuitive and emotional modalities, scientific approaches, and spiritual practices.
  9. Ecopsychology embraces the goals of gender equity (equality between women and men; masculine and feminine), racial equity (equality for non-white races), and “cultural justice” (honoring and learning from non-Western cultures and indigenous peoples of the world).

(Source: the unbounded spirit)

 

 

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Cordula Delia Frei