Contemplation as Environmental Practice

Prior to beginning work on this assignment, read Eggemeier’s essay  Ecology and Vision: Contemplation as Environmental PracticeLinks to an external site. . Eggemeier’s thesis is that poetry and other forms of art can help us learn to pay close attention to the beauty of the natural world and therefore to appreciate its non-instrumental value. In other words, aesthetic experience breaks us out of our anthropocentric viewpoint so we can see that nature has intrinsic value apart from its benefit to human beings. Note that, while Eggemeier links these ideas with the spirituality of Christian monasticism, his argument should still be relevant to non-Christians since it is based on the philosophy of atheist Iris Murdoch and pantheists like Aldo Leopold and Henry David Thoreau.

After reading the Eggemeier essay, choose one of the poems from the Poetry Foundation’s  Poetry and the EnvironmentLinks to an external site.  web page that speaks to you personally. Print the poem out (or bring it up on your phone or other device), take it outside to a spot where you feel a connection with nature (whether in the wilderness, a city park, or simply your back yard), and read the poem to yourself. Then write two to three pages about the experience, reflecting on how the poem helped you contemplatively encounter nature, citing specific lines from the poem as appropriate.

Finally, briefly brainstorm at least four spiritual practices other than poetry that might have a similar effect in helping you break out of your anthropocentric viewpoint on nature. Write a sentence or two about each practice, describing how you will engage it and what effect you think it will have. Your total paper will be three to four pages, including the list of practices. If you need help thinking of spiritual practices, see the  Suggested Spiritual PracticesLinks to an external site.  and  Spiritual Practice ToolkitLinks to an external site.  web pages for examples.

In your paper,

· Analyze how a chosen poem facilitates a contemplative encounter with nature.

· Cite specific lines from the poem.

· Describe four spiritual practices.

The Week 2 Writing Assignment

· Must be three to four double-spaced pages in length.

· Must utilize academic voice. See the  Academic VoiceLinks to an external site.  resource for additional guidance.

· Must include an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Your introduction paragraph needs to end with a clear thesis statement that indicates the purpose of your paper.

· For assistance on writing  Introductions & ConclusionsLinks to an external site.  as well as  Writing a Thesis StatementLinks to an external site. , refer to the Writing Center resources.

· Must document any information used from sources in APA Style as outlined in the Writing Center’s  APA: Citing Within Your PaperLinks to an external site.

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