Thursday, April 21, 2016
Quote of the Week 346 - Contrasting and Bridging the Scientific and the Indigenous
From as far back as I can remember, I had this notion of plants as companions and teachers, neighbors and friends. Then, when I went to college, a shift occurred for me. As an aspiring botany major, I was pressured to adopt the scientific worldview; to conceive of these living beings as mere objects; to ask not, “Who are you?” but, “How does it work?” This was a real challenge for me. But I was madly in love with plants, so I worked hard to accommodate myself to this new approach.
Later in my career, after I’d gotten my PHD and started teaching, I was invited to sit among indigenous knowledge holders who understood plants as beings with their own songs and sensibilities. In their presence, and in the presence of the plants themselves, I woke from the sleep I’d fallen into. I was reminded of what I’d always known in my core: that my primary relationship with plants was one of apprenticeship. I’m learning from plants, as opposed to only learning about them.
Let me add that my appreciation of plants has been greatly enriched by knowing the beauty of chlorophyll and photosynthesis, and hormones and cellular biology. Ideally the two ways of knowing can reinforce one another.
Both Western science and traditional ecological knowledge are methods of reading the land. That’s where they come together. But they’re reading the land in different ways. Scientists use the intellect and the senses, usually enhanced by technology. They set spirit and emotion off to the side, and bar them from participating. Often science dismisses indigenous knowledge as folklore – not objective or empirical, and thus not valid. But indigenous knowledge, too, is based on observation, on experiment. The difference is that it includes spiritual relationships and spiritual explanations. Traditional knowledge brings together the seen and the unseen, whereas Western science says that if we can’t measure something, it doesn’t exist.
Western science explicitly separates observer and observed. It’s rule number one: keep yourself out of the experiment. But to the indigenous way of thinking, the observer is always in relationship with the observed, and thus it’s important that she know herself: As I watch that bee and flower, as I study how water moves, as I observe the growth of the grass in this meadow, I understand that the kind of being I am colors how I see and feel and know. Furthermore, my presence might even be influencing how the world is working around me. It’s important to recognize the relationship that exists between the observer and the observed.
--Robin Wall Kimmerer, a native American with a PhD in botany, interviewed by Leath Tonino in The Sun magazine, April 2016
Meditation (Click your selection, scroll down to view it)
- Audio Link: A Foundation for a Fruitful Meditation Practice: Science of Breath/Pranayama/Relaxation - Theory and Practice
- Meditation Basics - Expanded Version
- Meditation Basics - Condensed Version
- Mantra Meditation Basics
- Nada Meditation - Anahata/The Unstruck Sound
- Jewish Yoga Meditation
- Hebrew Mantras
- Hebrew Mantras, Part Two
- Hebrew Mantras, Part Three
- Hebrew Mantras - Adonai Hineni
- Healing Meditation: Ruach El Shaddai/Breath of Balance
- Meditating, Eating and Sleeping
- Shortcuts to Spiritual Development?
- Audio Link: Guided Meditation - I Am and Empty Shell, Therefore I Am Full; A Meditation on Emptiness and Dark Luminescence Based on the Opening Lines of Genesis
- Guided Meditation: The Stage
- Guided Meditation: I Am an Empty Shell, Therefore I Am Full; A Meditation on Emptiness and Dark Luminescence Based on the Opening Lines of Genesis
- Guided Meditation: The Rod, The Staff, and The Star
- Torah-Veda Meditation Class Site
- Interspiritual Contemplative Group