3. Spiritual Experiences of Interconnectedness

Environmental Spirituality and Wellbeing - Integrating Social and Therapeutic Theory and Practice - Jeff Leonardi

Marianne Rankin [+-]
Alister Hardy Trust
Dr Marianne Rankin is Director of Communications for the Alister Hardy Trust, which supports the work of the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre (RERC) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter. Marianne is a linguist who lived in the Far East for about twenty years, working as a teacher; interpreter and translator; and free-lance writer. On her return to UK, she gained a Master of Studies in the Study of Religion at the University of Oxford and in 2021 at the University of Warwick, a PhD on Researching the Fruits of Experience in the Alister Hardy RERC Archive. She has written on the Modern Hospice Movement, illustrated a book on Zen and is the author of An Introduction to Religious and Spiritual Experience (Bloomsbury, 2008).


Many religious and spiritual experiences (RSEs), particularly those which take place in nature, lead to an enhanced appreciation of the natural world and to an understanding of our interconnectedness with every living thing. Sir Alister Hardy’s youthful experiences of nature mysticism led him to value the spiritual side of human nature, and to establish a centre for the study of RSEs in Oxford in 1969. Today the renamed Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre (RERC) maintains an archive of over 6000 accounts of RSEs, and continues to receive new additions as people seek to have their experiences valued and validated. In this chapter I will select accounts of experiences of oneness from the RERC Archive to illustrate the positive effect of this altered perspective. I will show how the change from a focus on the individual self with problems of isolation and alienation to an understanding of our essential interconnectedness can lead to a sense of wellbeing, as well as compassion for other people and care for the environment.

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Rankin, Marianne. 3. Spiritual Experiences of Interconnectedness. Environmental Spirituality and Wellbeing - Integrating Social and Therapeutic Theory and Practice. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jun 2025. ISBN 9781800505841. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=45139. Date accessed: 21 Jul 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.45139. Jun 2025

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