Ecospirituality: The Way of the Coyote





The word “spiritual” comes from the Latin “spiritus,” which means, “breath.” Originally, that which was spiritual was simply that which was breathtaking. From this perspective a spiritual experience is an awe-inspiring experience. People of all religions…or none…can experience such awe-inspiring events in nature. Ecospirituality can be spiritual without being religious. Those breathtaking moments for me most often occur when I have made some sort of connection to nature.

Ecospirituality is the process of seeking wonder and awe in those moments in natural environments. The Ecospirituality Program is available for use at any organization that teaches principles of ecology and/or mental and spiritual health. If you are interested in presenting the program at your organization, training is available for facilitators at

If your organization would like to implement the Ecospirituality Program, Charlton Hall, MMFT, PhD also offers facilitated live instruction and consultation on the program, as well as volume discounts on copies of this Ecospirituality Workbook.

Learn more at the Mindful Ecotherapy Center’s website at


Ecospirituality: A Paradigm Shift

The human race is consuming natural resources at a rate that far outpaces nature’s ability to replenish them. It is clear that we cannot go on with our present course of action if the human race is to have a future. The damage we’re doing to the environment causes widespread anxiety. What is needed to heal this anxiety is a grassroots paradigm shift to a new way of being in the world.

Ecospirituality is one of the paths to help to make this paradigm shift. Ecospirituality is a 16-week nature-based spiritual self-improvement program. Each session meets outdoors for about 90-120 minutes and is guided by a trained Ecospirituality Coach.

This handbook was designed to accompany the 16-week program, but if the program isn’t offered in your region you may also use this book to complete the exercises on your own. If you successfully complete the program, find it helpful, and are interested in training to be a coach for the program, visit for more information on the Ecospirituality Certified Facilitator Training.

If you are completing this workbook as part of an ecospirituality program or workshop, your homework is to read the material for each session prior to participating in that session. The activities in each session will be done during the workshop, so don’t try to complete them ahead of time. Just read over the materials so you’ll have a good idea of what to expect in each session.

If you are completing the workbook on your own, feel free to do the activities at any time, at your own pace. Many of the activities require or suggest outdoor locales. You may use your own best judgment as to whether or not the weather is appropriate in your location for any suggested activities. If you’ve had to postpone an activity due to bad weather, make an effort to try it again when the weather is better. In doing so you’ll get the full benefit of each exercise.

About Ecospirituality

Scientists have discovered what the Native Americans knew all along: That the Earth is a living organism and that we are all a part of the web of life. We are all connected. This idea of the interconnectedness of all things is “deep ecology,” and deep ecology is at its core a spiritual movement.

If we are all connected, then what we do to the web of life, we do to ourselves as well. If we poison the water, then we drink the water, we take the poison into ourselves. If we pollute the food with pesticides, then eat the food, we take the pesticides into our own bodies. If we pollute the air, then breathe in the air, we take our own pollutants into our lungs. If we fatten our beef animals with hormones, then eat the beef, we take the hormones into ourselves. If we poison the minds and souls of our neighbors with hatred, anger, and bitterness, then interact with those neighbors in negative ways, we take the hatred, anger and bitterness into ourselves as well.

The deep ecology of ecospirituality teaches us to be one with nature. This oneness with nature is the ultimate in spirituality. This is true even if we are agnostic or atheist. We don’t have to believe in supernatural beings in order to realize that nature is something larger and more transcendent than ourselves. The “divinity” in ecospirituality is nature itself. This is true whether or not we choose to personify nature as a separate, conscious entity.

We are all interdependent, and ecospirituality teaches us that if we cannot live in a sustainable, ecological way, then the human race will have no future. This planet has limited resources, and we currently don’t have anywhere else to go. Eventually everything will run out, and when this happens, how will we survive? The only way that the human race can survive is to embrace a way of life that honors all life on the planet. Such a way of life is what ecospirituality entails.


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