The Eco Mind

Eco-consciousness (contrasted with ego consciousness)

Eco is a term we can use to denote the mode of intelligence that is Holistic.

It is purposeful to the sustainability and good of an overall system. Eco, as in ecology, is a kind of group functioning, and it also refers to a system of particulars that works as a whole. Also, in an ecology the parts function together successfully, overall, and the greater whole is more important than any single parts. There is a functional interrelationship of parts which serve greater overall purposes.

Ego is a term we can use to denote the mode of intelligence that is primarily individually concerned. Whereas Eco is concerned with purposes of an overall system of parts; ego is concerned with desires and agendas of the part, which is its own self. Ego loves itself more than anything else. Eco loves the whole more than any particular parts. Ego predominately thinks of itself; it self-reflects and enjoys this kind of self-focus; while eco thinks of the greater whole; it enjoys intuition about interrelationship and functional harmony. The value of each ego is its capacity for self-individual reflection; such as thinking about oneself, considering self-values and purposes. The value of the Eco is that it holds a diversity of individual parts and values together in one functioning system.

So we can make this useful distinction between Eco and ego. They are often at odds, so many think they are opposites, or necessarily opposed. But not necessarily. The relationship can be functionally harmonious; just as the parts can serve the whole, while the whole can serve the parts. We know that the overall ecology maintains life for man and provides what he needs. But what can the man-ego give to Ecology? If we think about this, we will find many ways to give and serve the Eco.

Both can serve one another. Eco can take care of ego, serving as its world-to-live-in and context-of-being and higher intelligence. Reciprocally, ego can take care of the Eco, serving as its practical caretaker, protector, and example of intelligent beauty. First note that the Eco already takes care of us, so now is time that we egos take care of the Eco-earth. We can do this by being ecological in our thinking and action, and also moving towards harmony in all of our activities.

There are many possible spiritual enlightenments, which are like big transformative leaps into a greater consciousness. One of these is a realization of our inseparable relationship with the whole of this earth life, our relationship with the whole of ecology. In this realization, one discovers one's spiritual wholeness through one's ecological relationship. This is our relationship with the Greater Wholeness of the life we are part of. Every realization of a greater wholeness, such as the wholeness of this living ecology, helps the ego find its relative perspective and truth in life.

First understand that it is through nature that we discover our own qualities of wholeness, beauty, and life. Then, once we find these qualities outside of ourselves, in nature, we will soon realize them in ourselves. Nature acts as a teacher and a mirror for our own self-discovery.

Next of all, understand that we are not really 'outside' of nature, but rather we are in it, like every other living being. And like all other lives, we are dependent on the whole ecology being sustainable and well functioning. Yet we often act as superior to nature and thus make justifications for dominating nature, instead of working with nature in a balanced give and take relationship.

Our ego tendency, is to dominate nature for our own ends. This is one the great problems throughout history. But if we surrender our dominating tendency in relation to nature, in respect of nature as a divine manifestation of life and beauty, then we enter into a holistic consciousness and can even tap into this great intelligence of nature.

Our unique human function

Rather than believe we are superior to the rest of nature, it is more appropriate to understand that humans have a uniquely significant role to play within nature. This role is very important, so we can be proud of this, but we are not really superior. We are superior in our unique role, but we are not superior to all other creatures in every respect.

So what is our unique human role? Well, there are many, but one role to mention is the function of being an intelligent caretaker, meaning taking care of what is around us and the needs around us. If everyone accepted this role, and worked at it, then what a different world it would be. We should be teaching our children from early on that this is their purpose for being here.

Each part of nature gives something unique and special; each part has unique talents and features to share and give to the whole. So this is our role and our gift – to be intelligent care-takers. Or is it care-givers? Obviously, taking and giving are natural parts of life. We need to balance this taking and giving, and also add the quality of care.

Another unique function we can play in nature, in life, in this world, is visionary imagination. This quality is uniquely human. Think about what this is, this visionary imagination. Do you have any? Hopefully. Yet this is not merely about our ego having visions about imagined successes. It is perfectly fine to have great visions for oneself; but the visionary imagination might also have great visions for humanity or for a greater field of manifestation.

So you see, our purpose here is not to merely mimic the other species of nature. Rather, we have our own path, our own role, our own function, our own purpose. First, we are here to be responsible, conscious, intentional care-takers (givers) of the rest of nature. We are supposed to be like the responsible grownups in a big family of children. Do we act that way?

Second, we are meant to be imaginative visionaries. This means using our imagination to have greater visions of the future – visions of greater beauty, harmony and love. This is not talking about having a premonitions about the future – like being a psychic who sees into the future. We’re talking about having imaginative vision about what life could be and what the future could be. In other words, how would one envision the world as most wished to be?

Specifically pertinent to this subject is the question of how we might envision regions of nature. That is, how, through this imaginative capacity, can we help shape the world of nature, the natural environment, the ecology. Some people who are environmental purists, so to speak, might disagree with this and say this is a manipulative approach. But we humans have this unique capacity of being able to imagine possible futures, to have vision of the possible. So this visionary nature has to come into play with the nature as it is, and also with our role as intelligent custodians. For the visionary imagination can see what could be better, more beautiful, or more harmonious. If we can perform this unique visionary function well, with intelligence and caring love, then our planet has the possibility of becoming an ever-increasing paradise of beauty and functional harmony. Imagine this!


Ego stands in opposition to the Eco. The human mind, including thought and will, become divided from the world of nature. The ego thinks of itself as separate from the Eco, separate from nature. Nature becomes mere object of mind, as the self/ego subject is thought to be transcendental and independent of nature. This is often how it all seems to be; nature and objects of the world out there, whole I am reflecting upon nature from a separated distance. So there are these two poles, as it were, the subject and object, the ego and eco. And yet there is an inherent spiritual impulse within to experience more of a unity or wholeness with the world and nature.

Three possible ways towards unity present themselves. One way is to annihilate or surrender the ego-self, so that only the world or nature remains; in other words, surrender the ego (myself) to the Eco, to nature, or to the world. I become nothing. My will is abandoned, and my own beliefs cease to have any value. Thus, one achieves pure egolessness and oneness with the world. Along the way, the individual ego, of will and unique perspective, is viewed as the ultimate obstacle, until finally annihilated by complete surrender. The problem here is that one has also sacrificed personal perspectives and personal creativity, and thus there is no personally innovative contribution to the world. Notice that authoritarian and socially rigid religions teach and demand this way; individual perspective and innovation is deprived, in order to achieve an idealized social harmony and monolithic unity.

The opposite way to reach unity of self and nature is to simply abandon the world that is perceived as outside of oneself. In other words, renounce the reality of this world, call it illusion, or simply believe that the world is just a temporary context for man’s spiritual life of temptation and hopeful redemption. The world, especially nature, has no real significance and no real spiritual value at all, or one just believes it is all an illusion, or that it is but a creation of the mind or a mental projection. This way, or view, places all significance with mind or with self; while the natural world essentially disappears as being either illusion or insignificant. What remains as real is I am, or the human soul, or the thinking mind (Descartes).

The third way to unity does not involve an elimination or disbelief in one of the polar opposites. Instead, it includes and unites these opposites of subject/object or mind/nature or self/world. This way also balances reason with the sensuous. How? The self/mind realizes that nature/world is the external-objective aspect of Being/Spirit, while mind/ego is the internal-subjective aspect of the One Being. Self-mind essentially realizes that it is the awakened Mind of Nature (or the mentation of God), though in a limited portion. External nature is the objective aspect of the Divine Creative Process, while the understanding mind is the subjective aspect, though each aspect is a limited portion and is also unfolding over time. Thus, there is a realization that mind/nature or self/world are two sides of the same Coin (the One Being).

In more practical terms, the ego-self realizes their non-separative relationship with nature, world and others. Nature shows aspects of one’s own human attributes, sometimes literally or sometimes symbolically; and thus one learns of oneself through aesthetic and intellectual perceptions in nature. We reflect nature, as nature reflects us. Nature has intelligence and reason, like us; hopefully though, we are conscious of this and volitionally act with reasoned intelligence. And reversing the perspective, we are like nature, since we come from nature and essentially are nature, though consciously. So we come into a non-separative realization, without a hard and strict dividing line between ego and nature, or between mind and the physical world. And with this conscious non-separative view, we realize our special role in the greater creative process - which is to consciously and volitionally harmonize with the whole of nature; thus developing a new evolutionary Symbiosis between human will and nature, or between human egos and Eco. This harmonizing Symbiosis is the Ideal to keep in mind, and it will save us from destruction by the hands of separative egos.

world and self are reflections in the psyche

Everyone I meet are different aspects of myself.

Realize everyone as a different and unique facet of myself. Self separateness, or I being differently separate from others, is ultimately an illusion. If I maintain this illusion by believing in it, then I cannot see the illusion. It’s only by taking a leap into another kind of consciousness that it is possible to know the real truth of our relatedness.

Myself and others/world are reflective aspects in the psyche.

This doesn’t mean that self and others are the same; it just means that both have similar recognized qualities. That is, similar qualities are recognized in both self and others. And both are treated similarly. For example, similar qualities of goodness will be recognized in others when also recognized in myself. If I’m feeling good about myself, then I tend to feel good about others. We might think of this as an underlying mood about everything, including oneself and all others.

Understand, though, that this is all within our own psyche, or mind. The real world might be different from how we think it is or how we feel about it. The real world is quite independent of how we think it is, or what we see in it, or how we feel about it. What is being discussed here is to do with each person’s own psyche, the complexity of our self mental-emotional sphere. In each of our minds is the world as one believes it is, and also our patterns of reacting to this world as one believes it is. This can be called ‘our world’. Close the eyes and see something about others and the world; this is ‘our world’ – the world as we believe it is and how we feel about it. When we have dreams of others and the world, we are perceiving in this ‘world of our psyche’. Another appropriate term for this is our ‘world-knowing’. We each have our unique world-knowing, though in more primitive and simpler societies people have a very similar world-knowing. This is the world and everyone in it, as it is in our own mind, our psyche.

Our world-knowing, the world as we believe it is, is not the exact same as the world in truth, but hopefully it is very closely the same or nearly corresponding. To improve on the mental wellness of this correspondence we need to continually observe and listen to others around us, in order to adjust our world-view or world-knowing. Yet there is also work we can do just in our own mind, regarding the world and life. For example, we can love those people and also love the world in general, and also love ourselves.

Independent and Ecological Consciousness

Two kinds of consciousness are significant and life changing. One is an independent consciousness, and the other is an interdependent consciousness.

Everyone has the potential to reach independent consciousness. Independent consciousness is free of the world and anything that happens; it is free of reaction, free of emotions, and free of mental worry. Here is only the Light of Consciousness. Here is the independence of Conscious-Being. Yet here is a secret. Everyone has this innate capacity for independent consciousness, to be free from everything, yet everyone reaches the very same ‘place’ or reality; because there is only one independent consciousness, so when people reach this they have really merged into the same Conscious-Being. There is only one Independent Consciousness. So ironically, one is freeing oneself from all in the world, becoming independent in self-consciousness; and yet, if successful, one enters into an essential unity with all others.

The second kind of significant consciousness is ecological consciousness. This is an awareness and realization of being interconnected and interdependent with all other beings and the rest of life. In this consciousness, one realizes there is no getting away from the rest of the world, at least while we are here in it. This seems to contradict Independent Consciousness, so let’s explain.

We are in two kinds of reality. The first reality is Spirit, or Pure Independent Consciousness. This is our Essence and our Source. It could also be called God or even Heaven. In Buddhism it is Nirvana, or Empty Consciousness. This is freedom from the world. It is sort of like returning to pre-creation, or before you were ever born. Few people born in this world ever reach this state while alive, but really it is not very difficult and certainly not impossible. In fact, we should all be able to reach this state, or back into this state, back into our Pure Consciousness. But to just remain here would mean a non-engagement with life. We should be refreshing ourselves in this Pure Consciousness, in Spirit, and in some sense it is like taking time to quietly read in a library to gain wisdom. Yet once refreshed, there is work to be done and a life to be lived, people to meet and things to do. After we have spent some time everyday in the library, we then need to go out and share what we learned, and also tell others about the library and how to get there.

We are here on Earth to be in this world, and we are here in a body to live a life. But by being here, we are all affecting one another, we are all inter-connected, and we are all living in one great ecology of Earth and Mind. The physical ecology and our human connection with the environment is by now well known. But we should also realize the Mind Ecology. We are all in an interconnected ecology of Earth and Mind. This means that everything affects everything else. And we cannot get out of this. This is very important to realize; you cannot escape the ecology of Earth and Mind.

We are all in an inescapable Web of Life, whereby our actions, our emotions, and our thoughts affect others inter-relationally, and we ourselves are affected by everyone else, including the other species on this planet. We are in it! We are in this Web of Life, so we might as well face it and deal with it. As long as anyone lives here, they are not free of everyone else. So as long as there is pain, we are affected by it. As long as there is ignorance, we are affected by it. As long as there is anger or mistrust, we are affected by it. No escape. Except that we can escape into the Independent Consciousness. But we cannot realistically stay there, so we have to live and deal with this world, on all those levels. Money does not get anyone out of all these effects. Money does not pay off the mind and emotional affects. The ecological consciousness Realizes this inter-connected existential situation.

So we can go back and forth between Independent Consciousness and ecological consciousness, which is the best way, and hopefully we find a balance in this. Everyone needs time to cleanse the mind and emotions from accumulated energies and concerns, as collected from social and thought interactions. We become cleansed when we retreat into the Independent Consciousness. Here, we also refresh our self with divine light. Then, we can move back into the ecological consciousness, where we feel our connections with others and the world, and we respond to what is needed.

We have an essential relationship with the Divine as well. We are like plants needing sunlight and good soil to grow. Good soil is provided by our physical and social environment. We all need a supportive and nurturing environment, and if this is lacking then something about this needs healing or correction. This support and nurturing is primarily from our local environment, the place and people closest around us, though the greater world has indirect influence on us as well. Next, we need sunlight, which comes to us from the Divine, the spiritual dimension. Receiving this sunlight depends upon our relationship with the Divine. Being conscious of this relationship is more efficacious than being unaware of it, or neglectful of it. Though sometimes the sunlight comes through and gets to us anyways. This can also be understood as our relationship with God.

As well, this relationship has similarity to an ecological consciousness, in that our small self is in relationship with the Greater Self. I in relation with God is a dependence of the small upon the Greater, similar to our dependence upon the Whole Larger ecosystem. Each of us is in and of God -- in and of the One Universal Being. Our energies and our life is changed when we are conscious and knowing of this relationship. Sometimes this is called remembrance, and in meditation or prayer we can be evermore conscious of this relationship.

A further possible step is to merge into the Greater Being, which is to lose oneself into the Greater. This brings about mystical unity – [could also be called bliss or nirvana]. Yet this possibility, or actual realization, does not diminish the importance of our relationship. Unity consciousness is a level or state. Relationship consciousness is another level or state. Both are equally significant, and both are encouraged; neither being more important than the other. Just as a social ecological consciousness is, as well, equally significant, and so is a physical ecological consciousness. All levels are equally important; since we really exist on all levels, and all of these levels are of the Whole Reality. Similarly, each of us is a multi-level being, from physical reality up to the mystical spiritual, and all that is between. Each level and part of our self is important. A goal might be to be conscious in all levels at once, but at least we might learn to access each level.