Religion's role in restoring the earth’s ecological balance
21st January, 2009
Laura Sevier meets the man trying to broker a better relationship between God, man, science and the natural world.
A long, low drone fills the air. We are all chanting the same sound: OOOOOOOHHHHHHHH. Whistling overtones start to ring out above the group sound and then a lone female voice sings out:
Where I sit is holy
Holy is the ground
Forest mountain river listen to my sound
Great spirit circling all around.
The voice then invites everyone to join in and we sing this verse seven or eight times. Then there is silence.
It’s not often you attend a talk given by an eminent scientist that begins with a session of Mongolian overtone chanting followed by a Native American Indian song about the holiness of the earth. It’s especially surreal given that we’re sitting on neat little rows of chairs in a Unitarian Church in Hampstead, in London.
I was there to listen to renowned English biologist Rupert Sheldrake talk about how the world’s religions can learn to live with ecological integrity. The chanting, it appears, is the warm-up act, led by Sheldrake’s wife, Jill Purce, a music healer.
So far so extraordinary, but then Sheldrake is no ordinary man. A respected scientist from a largely conventional educational background, he’s devoted much of the past...
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