Particularly when spiritualism is a major part of life, there are green steps to take to make it better for the spirit of the earth. Regardless of religion or beliefs, most people who consider themselves at least a little spiritual know that taking care of the earth is one important part of their spirituality.
View the list for suggestions on aligning the inner life with an environmentally-friendly green life.
in the park
Scientific research at the Heriot-watt University in Edinburg in the United Kingdom tested mobile brain electrical activity which showed that when entering green spaces such as this part of Central Park in NYC, the brain goes into a meditative state naturally. Spiritualism does not have to be in huge expensive cathedrals with large sound machines that consume earth’s resources. Nature does it automatically and the more natural places people maintain and protect, the more spirits soar.
On the other extreme from nature are the technologies like iTunes apps for iPhones which offer even free ones like this GPS for the Soul. It has this built-in sensor that “gauges emotional state and determines whether you are stressed or calm” but does require flash capability. It is based on the idea that all humans have a centered harmony and balance place within them from which they veer away. There are meditation apps on the iTunes site such as the Chopra Center’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge.
a simple non-toxic prayer room
The Green Meditations website has pages of information on green meditation, setting up a prayer room like this, connecting with nature, inspirational tools, and “ideas on becoming green on the inside.” The steps suggested are:
- “Pick a place where you won’t be interrupted for at least 10 minutes. Lock the door if you have to, or hang a Do Not Disturb sign.
- Get comfortable—loosen your belt, tie, scarf, etc.
- Do a few deep breaths, pushing outward from your diaphragm.
- Closing your eyes is optional, though it usually helps in the beginning to shut out visual distractions. That said, you may find it helpful to get mentally centered by looking at a specific object or image for awhile…
- Allow your mind to become a blank movie screen and see what it plays for you….To start, stay with this exercise for ten minutes if you can.”
In the room:
- Use a durable, washable, comfortable cushion that is United States grown organic cotton with no or low-impact dyes.
- If you use candles, make them locally produced 100 percent natural soy candles, not petroleum-based, releasing no toxins. If children will use the room, do not leave matches where they can get to them.
- Keep the room free of clutter and toxic chemicals.
- Do not have any pressed woods, particle board or plywood paneling which give off formaldehyde.
- Paint the room with Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) -free natural paints.
- Be sure the room is well ventilated.
- Have a few indoor house plants which a Sydney University showed can improve air quality by up to 87 percent in 24 hours.
- If it is part of a bedroom and has a mattress, be sure it is organic and not polyurethane foam or other flame retardants, or coated with water and stain resistant chemicals. Organic mattresses have been found to contain fewer dust mites and are less allergenic.
- Set the mood with green lighting, preferably natural daylight or CFL bulbs with a dimmer switch. Consider tinting any windows for more insulation to save on energy bills. Use heavy backed curtains to retain heat in winter and keep summer sun heat out.
- Do not have a television, computer, telephone or any appliances in the room.
- Do not locate the room within 10 feet of a smart meter.
Getting away to a quiet, peaceful place that overlooks water can be the most green spiritual experience, whether it is beside the ocean, a lake, river, babbling brook, pond or even in a swimming pool or bathtub. In Buddhism, water symbolizes purity, clarity and calmness, and is a reminder to cleanse the mind. The sound and feel of water can provide health benefits. There are websites on meditating with and in water such as How to Meditate in the Bath. YouTube has several videos of hours of relaxing water sounds to play while you pray or meditate such as The Honest Guys’ 3 HOURS Relaxing Music with Water Sounds Meditation when a natural water source is not available or you need to block out sounds like traffic or barking dogs.
green your church
Read books like Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice! paperback by Rebekah Simon-Peter available at Amazon and learn how to green your traditional church. It covers questions like what does the Bible say about taking care of the Earth, what is the Christian view on climate change, and what can you do to make a difference? The author connects science, Scripture, and her personal stories.