Subjectivity, Ecology, and Meditation. Dynamics of Heart-Meditations and potential Implications for the Ecological Self

Mancinelli, Tanja (2019) Subjectivity, Ecology, and Meditation. Dynamics of Heart-Meditations and potential Implications for the Ecological Self. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

In this dissertation I analyse and discuss the subjective correlation between the effects of “heart meditations” from the Christian, Buddhist and Sufi traditions on the individual perception of nature, nature connectedness and the resulting sense of ecological self. Along the various spiritual traditions, I also discuss data from cardiological and neurological research, as past research has shown that meditative practices can lead to a change in the physical body thus affecting the behaviour of the practitioners. The overall aim of the dissertation is to evaluate the potential role of heart-based meditations from the Christian, Sufi and Buddhist traditions on the individual perception of nature and thus to evaluate the potential role of these meditation techniques in developing an ecological self. The chosen research method is a literature review coupled with already existing semi-structured and structured interviews with practitioners of heart-based meditation from the Christian, Sufi, and Buddhist traditions. I also include insights form cardiological and neurological research into the evaluation. I hypothesize that the key qualities to develop an “ecological self” are empathy, gratitude, a sense for the interconnectedness of life, and the ability to identify with nature, including human and nonhumans as well as water, air, rocks and the land in general. Whether meditation practices are helpful in facilitating the construction of an ecological self within the practitioners is assessed through the potential of the practices to influence the level of empathy, gratitude, feeling of interconnectedness and ability to identify with other living beings. Even if it is not possible to proof a causal relationship, meditation and in particular heart- meditation seems to facilitate the feeling of connectedness in general and in specific cases of connection with nature as well. The present dissertation has been a first attempt to show the relationship between heart, heart meditation, ecology and ecological self. Initial studies concerning heart-meditations in general and mindfulness in connection with nature connectedness seems to suggest the existence of a positive correlation between heart- meditations and the development of an ecological self. The main contribution of the present work does not lie in providing answers but rather in arising a new question – the role heart meditation in shaping an ecological self- which has so far escaped wider academic discussion.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Natalie Williams
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2021 10:58
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2021 10:58
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1753

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