Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi teacher and author of 19 books on Sufism and Western Psychology. Profiled in our Living Spiritual Teachers Project, he is the founder of the Golden Sufi Center (www.goldensufi.org). In recent years, he has focused his writing and teaching on spiritual responsibility at this time of global ecological crisis (www.spiritualecology.org) and the emerging global consciousness of oneness (www.workingwithoneness.org).
Now Vaughan-Lee has edited Spiritual Ecology, an inspiring collection of essays by spiritual teachers and writers marching under the banner of spiritual ecology. It's time for spiritual people to step up for the Earth, writes Joanna Macy: "When you look at what is happening to our world — and it is hard to look at what is happening to our water, our air, our trees, our fellow species — it becomes clear that unless you have some roots in a spiritual practice that holds life sacred and encourages joyful communion with all your fellow beings, facing the enormous challenges ahead become nearly impossible." Thanks to our greed, selfishness, thoughtlessness, and obsession with progress, the good Earth is crying out in agony. The essays by spiritual teachers and writers serve as "bells of mindfulness," according to Buddhist Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. His contribution challenges us to serve the planet with kindness and compassion.
Chief Oren Lyons, the Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, urges us to show our respect to the wounded Earth by giving thanks for all the blessings it has bestowed upon us. John Stanley and David Loy, in the name of engaged Buddhism, counsel us to create a new story that emphasizes our interdependence and not our separation from nature. Sister Miriam of Genesis Farm wants us to drop to our knees in our backyard and know that the dirt beneath us is sacred.
Other essayists share their hopes for better connections with the environment: Jungian analyst Jules Cashford salutes Gaia, goddess of the Earth; depth psychologist Bill Plotkin admonishes us to care for the soul of the world; Sandra Ingerman shows how shamanism can work wonders as medicine for the earth; and Franciscan monk Richard Rohr reveals the healing power of seeing creation as the body of God.
After his closing essay on the healing power of divine love, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee shares a prayer in which he states: "May we remember our role as guardians of the earth, custodians of its sacred ways, and return once again to live in harmony with its natural rhythms and laws."