The word “Spirituality” has always been tricky for me since it seems to have a different meaning to each person. That word tends to most often be used by people who I do not share much in common with philosophically. Since I don’t have any beliefs that could be considered “supernatural” or "mystical" I have usually leaned away from the term “Spiritual” as well. I do not believe in any intelligent designer of the universe, or gods. I do not claim to know with 100% certainty that such entities do not exist, however, since I have not yet seen any compelling evidence of their existence, my default position is disbelief. That is my thought process for whenever I hear a supernatural claim. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary amounts of evidence to support them". For me, it all comes down to epistemology, the study of knowledge itself, the questioning HOW you know what you know, and what standards of evidence are needed before I'll be able to consider a theory valid or invalid. I'm skeptical of everything, even my own conclusions.

However, despite this, I have had people tell me that they consider my lifestyle and philosophy to be “very spiritual” so maybe others are more easily able to see the spirituality in me which I am not able to see myself. But still, “spiritual” is not a label that I am comfortable applying to myself.

That being said, I do still feel that it is possible to derive spiritual value from naturalistic sources, especially the fields of Ecology and Cosmology. When studying the universe, it can initially make a person feel very small and insignificant, on a cosmic scale. However, with a shift of perspective, we can realize that we do not "only" exist as tiny specs in the universe, but the universe also exists as tiny specs within us as well, we are mutually in it as much as it is in us, which literally makes us as one. Each of the heavy atomic elements inside of our bodies which make life possible were forged inside of the dying stars billions of years ago. The water inside of our bodies was carried to earth by comets and asteroids streaking across the skies of a glowing molten earth. The very seasons of the year which our natural lives have evolved around, and which we have based so many spiritual traditions around, are linked to the celestial impact of the planet Theia, which collided with the earth 4.5 billion years ago and gave the earth its 23.5 degree tilt, the cause of our seasons.

Earth's unique quality of supporting life could have an ecologically based spiritual component as well. During the earth's history, the sun's heat output has increased over billions of years. Theoretically, this should have resulted in the earth becoming too hot for life to exist, yet it seems that the cumulative effect of life existing on earth has changed the atmosphere to an extent that the earth is able to thermoregulate, like a living being that cools itself off by sweating when it gets too hot. In living beings, this is called "homeostasis" so it is possible that the earth itself can be thought of as a living being, one capable of regulating certain parameters and variables between the atmosphere and the geology in order to maintain favorable conditions that will allow life to thrive. Whether or not this can be considered an "intelligence" is unclear, there isn't much evidence that I'm aware of to suggest any kind of conscious intent behind the planet itself, but possibly new evidence might be discovered one day that does prove that gaia is conscious and intelligent.

If the earth is a living entity, then it could be considered a superorganism comprised of many trillions of smaller organisms. This would be similar to the way that a human being has more cells of microorganisms than human cells in our bodies, and without these healthy microbiotic cultures living within us, we would get sick or die. If we zoom out, we can look at the earth itself and ourselves living on it as microbes who can contribute to making the world a better place (or contribute to its destruction)

The term “Biophilia” or, the “love of nature” seems to be present in most mentally sound people and animals. This love of nature only makes sense, we evolved in nature and not in artificial environments. So we prefer some expression of that nature, even if it is fake and decorative.

My own biophilia has led me down the path of permaculture, to work with nature closely every day.

Does nature have a conscious intelligence? Probably not in the sense that we think of human conscious intelligence, but what other examples do we have to compare to?

Plants and fungus have their own intelligence. Trees remember, learn and count. Slime mold solves mazes. Fungal mycelium connects tree roots in a forest, transmitting chemical/electrical information to them about what else is happening in the forest. If one tree is being attacked by insects, the wood wide web lets the rest of the forest know so that they can defend themselves with naturally produced pesticides.

If an entire forest can have intelligent behavior, could the entire planet? There doesn’t seem to be a single mycelium network that spans the globe to be able to transmit information. But there might be other ways to transmit information on wind or in the ocean, if not underground.

What kind of properties would an intelligent entity have that spans the biosphere and is 4 billion years old? We can barely understand the intelligence of a plant or mushroom. We can barely understand our own intelligence.

If there is a planetary intelligence (and I am still not sure that there necessarily is) would it have the ability to transmit information to individuals, in the same way that a fungal mycelium network can transmit information to individual trees? Is that my “muse” directing me down a path of biophilia and permaculture in an attempt to heal some of the wounds that humanity has inflicted on the earth? Or is that too much of a grandiose vision for my own purpose? “I have been called by an ancient goddess to do her bidding” doesn’t really sound like something I would proclaim with a straight face.

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