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Year of Forests - 2011

Reflection: Forests: Intimacy. Communion, Connectedness…Hope


Prior to the reflection together, we each spend some time either in a forest/grove of trees or under a tree. Take time to listen to the tree/s, to look at them contemplatively, to touch them tenderly, to breathe in the fragrance around them.
What is stirring within you? What are your desires?

Prepare five sacred spaces in different parts of the room or outside. The names “Forests”, “Wishing Well’,” Poetry” “Meditation”, and “Action” to be posted each in one space.

Readings: “We need to move from a spirituality of alienation from the natural world to a spirituality of intimacy with the natural world, from a spirituality of the divine as revealed in verbal liberation to a spirituality of the divine as revealed in the visible world about us” Thomas Berry
“…the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations’ Rev.22.2

We are invited to move into the context of the new consciousness and a new culture, a place of geo justice and engaged cosmology. Move to the five different spaces taking our own time and pace in any order we desire.

Forest Space: Here, amid candles, cloth and statements about forests, we are invited to plant a seed of a tree in a paper cup in the moist soil provided and to water it. We then place the newly planted seed among the candles. This is the place where the seeds of our passion for our forests can grow and flourish. Spend time getting in touch with how I feel for forests…what do I need to do to nurture what is already there or how can I begin a relationship of intimacy with our forests.

Wishing Well Space: Here we are invited to take a pebble from a tray provided and place it in a “wishing well”, while making a wish for the Forests of our Earth. What is my deepest desire for our forests? What is my vision for the forests of my country? The seeds we have planted need to be nurtured and fostered by a vision strong enough to make it a reality.

Poetry Space: Here we are invited to compose a poem that comes from our hearts about our trees and forests. It is an invitation to use the gift of imagination to create a new future for our forests. In the journey of justice making, what awaits us in the future has no predetermined pattern or outcomes. We have to liberate the imagination in order to create a culture of justice and peace.

Meditation Space: In this space cushions and chairs are provided around candles, leaves, tree saplings, barks of trees, and we are invited to spend time in silence and contemplation. A new creative and just culture will only be realized when we who are committed to nurturing a dynamic relationship with earth, recognise that deep consistent times of silence and sitting still are necessary.

Action Space: In this space provided with paper, pens etc we sign petitions to preserve our fragile forests, or write letters to editors or political leaders for policies/ support that will keep our forests and its eco systems alive and well. An engaged spirituality culminating in action is an essential part in our movement toward the new consciousness of a dynamic relationship between our culture and cosmology.

Coming together to form a Mandala:
When we are all ready we gather around a large circle in the centre. We place our seeds, pebbles, prayers, poems, petitions to form the Mandala which is a symbolic image of our deep connections and oneness with our forests, our earth our cosmos. Each of us is also an intimate part of this Mandala, and form a community based on geo justice and engaged cosmology.

Concluding Hymn: A New Consciousness


Forest Facts

Did you know that:

  • Forests cover 31% of the total land area. 
  • Primary forests account for 36% of forest area
  • The livelihoods of over 1.6 billion people depend on forests
  • Forests are home to 80% of our terrestrial biodiversity
  • Trade in forest products was estimated at $327 billion in 2004.
  • Forests are home to 300 million people around the world
  • 30% of forests are used for the production of wood and non wood products.


Reflection taken from India Connections IPA Newsletter February 2011