Elevating Earth Care: 9 Examples of Soulful Stewardship from Tradition

Image credit @Zahara Chetty

 

Exploring soul-inspired stewardship

Science has unlocked countless mysteries of the natural world, but with this understanding comes a sense of disconnection from something greater. Evolutionary theory, a fundamental aspect of modern biology, can leave us feeling like mere by-products of nature, without a divine purpose or connection. Instead of feeling insignificant in the grand scheme of things, we can choose to explore the idea that we are more than just physical beings, that there is a spiritual essence to our existence.

 

Embracing the belief in a soul and its purpose

We are not just insignificant by-products of nature but we have a purpose, a divine connection and the power to shape our destiny and the world around us. Embracing the belief in a soul and its purpose of development through learning and experience can give us a sense of connection, a sense of purpose and inspire us to strive for personal and spiritual growth, leading us to a better future for all living things. It illuminates the fact that our experiences, choices and actions all have a profound significance and that they shape and guide our soul towards a higher purpose, inspiring us to strive for something greater, to seek personal and spiritual growth and to make a positive impact on the lives of all living things.

 

Connection with our soul and its purpose

Connection with our soul and its purpose naturally inspires us to seek inner peace, to develop compassion, empathy, and love for others — because ultimately, we are all connected. It calls us to act in ways that are environmentally friendly and sustainable, as we understand that we are connected to the natural world and have a responsibility to take care of it, and in doing so, also take care of ourselves. Whenever we act in ways that are disconnected from our impact on others, we bring disharmony to the entire system. If we look at the current world we find ourselves in, we can see the disconnection by the destruction we have caused.

 

Stewardship and its role in different cultures and communities

Many cultures and communities have a deep reverence for the natural world and a belief that human beings are responsible for taking care of and preserving it. This stewardship is based on the idea that everything in the world is interconnected and interdependent, and that all of creation, including humans, animals, plants, and the natural environment, is our responsibility to respect and care for all living things and to protect the environment for future generations.

 

Examples of soul-inspired stewardship from different cultures

Here are some examples from different cultures and practices that share the same message of soul-led stewardship:

  1. In many traditional indigenous cultures from the Sub-Saharan Africa, the concept of Ubuntu is closely related to the concept of stewardship. Ubuntu is a Bantu term that translates to “humanity” or “humanness.” This concept emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things, and the importance of community and interdependence. This belief often includes practices such as conservation, sustainable hunting, and resource management.
  2. The concept of khalifah in Islam is rooted in the idea of stewardship. Muslims believe that they have been entrusted by God to act as responsible guardians and stewards of the Earth, and to use its resources in a sustainable and responsible way. They are encouraged to respect and care for all living things, including animals and plants, and to protect the environment for future generations.
  3. In many Native American cultures, the concept of seventh generation or “seventh generation principle” is similar to the concept of stewardship. This principle states that all decisions and actions should consider the impact they will have on the seventh generation to come, and that the well-being of future generations is just as important as the well-being of the present generation. This principle often includes practices such as conservation, sustainable hunting, and resource management.
  4. Ayni is a Quechua term that translates to, “today for you, tomorrow for me,” suggesting that giving comes before receiving. It is about reciprocity. “Ayni” is the only commandment of the Incan religion that the Andeans know and keep until this day. Ayni is the thread that holds the fabric of Andean existence together. This concept emphasizes the importance of balance and harmony in the natural world, and the need to use natural resources in a sustainable and responsible way. It also encourages individuals to respect and care for all living things, and to take a holistic approach when making decisions about the use and management of natural resources.
  5. Tapu is a Polynesian term that translates to “sacred” or “forbidden.” This concept emphasises the importance of protecting and preserving certain natural resources, such as certain fishing grounds, hunting areas or certain animals, which were considered sacred and were not allowed to be hunted or used. This concept is closely related to the idea of stewardship, where certain resources were protected for future generations, and the idea of balance and harmony with the natural world.
  6. Fudoshin is a Japanese term that translates to “immovable heart” or “unshakable spirit.” It is a concept that emphasizes the importance of being in harmony with nature and the belief that all living things are connected and interdependent. The concept of fudoshin is closely related to the idea of stewardship and the responsible use of natural resources.
  7. Dreaming is the belief of the Indigenous people in Australia, that the natural world is a source of knowledge and wisdom, and that humans have a duty to protect and preserve it. This belief often includes practices such as conservation, sustainable hunting, and resource management. They have a deep understanding and knowledge of the natural resources, and the importance of using them sustainably to ensure the survival of future generations.
  8. Kaitiakitanga is a Maori term that translates to “guardianship” or “stewardship”. This concept emphasizes the importance of protecting and preserving the natural resources, and the belief that all living things are connected and interdependent. This belief often includes practices such as conservation, sustainable hunting, and resource management.
  9. In many traditional indigenous cultures from the Siberia, the concept of “shamanism revolves around the belief that all living things are connected and interdependent, and that the natural world is a source of knowledge and wisdom. This belief often includes practices such as conservation, sustainable hunting, and resource management.

Preserving the natural world for future generations

In this way, the concept of soul-led stewardship encourages individuals to live in harmony with nature, and to take a long-term perspective when making decisions about the use and management of natural resources. It emphasises the importance of preserving the natural world for future generations, and the need to use natural resources in a sustainable and responsible way. It also reminds individuals that they are not the only inhabitants of the earth, and that other living things have the right to exist, and that humans have the responsibility to protect them.

By embracing the belief in a soul and its purpose, we can reconnect with our spiritual essence and find meaning and purpose in our lives. By recognising our role as stewards of the earth, we can inspire ourselves and others to make a positive impact on the lives of all living things and to ensure a better future for generations to come. It’s time we should start taking the responsibility of preserving the earth and its inhabitants, it’s our duty and privilege to be its caretakers.

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