A Wild and Sacred Call


By Will W. Adams
Foreword by David R. Loy

Subjects: Transpersonal Psychology, Humanistic Psychology, Environmental Psychology, Buddhism, Spirituality
Series: SUNY series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology
Hardcover : 9781438492056, 422 pages, February 2023
Paperback : 9781438492063, 422 pages, August 2023

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Table of contents

David R. Loy
Preface: Deep Calls to Deep: Hallowing Our Relationship with Nature
Introduction: Transpersonal Ecopsychology by Way of Phenomenology and Contemplative Spirituality

1. Seeing Those Peach Blossoms Changed My Life: Keeping Joy, Wonder, and Gratitude Alive in Our Heart

2. The Ghost Bird’s Haunting Cry: Letting Our Heart Break . . . Open

3. All Real Living Is Meeting: Losing Nature, Losing Our Humanity

4. The Dissociative Madness of Modernity’s Shadow: Constructing, Deconstructing, and Reconstructing Culture

5. The Supposedly Separate Ego: Delusion, Paranoia, and Greed in Conventional (Co)Existence

6. No Longer I: Christian Mysticism, Self-Surrender, and Transpersonal Realization

7. Nature’s Conversational Consciousness: Awareness as an Ecological Field of Relations

8. Bashō’s Contemplative Therapy for Narcissus: From Ego-Centered Alienation to Eco-Centered Intimacy

9. Nature-Healing-Body-Healing-Nature-Healing-Body: From Desensitization to Embodied Attunement

10. Living Means Being Addressed: Embracing Earth’s Wild, Sacred, Ethical Call

11. Love Is Our Nature, Our Calling, Our Path, Our Fruition: It All Comes Down to This

Coda: Deep Calls to Deep—Deep Listens from Its Depths—Deep Serves Deep
About the Author

An ecopsychological, ecospiritual exploration of humankind's relationship with the rest of nature.


Our current ecological derangement is not only a biological crisis but more deeply a crisis of consciousness, culture, and relationship. The core ethical responsibility of our contemporary era, therefore, and the aspiration of this ecopsychological/ecospiritual book, is to create a mutually enhancing relationship between humankind and the rest of nature. To address the urgent concerns of global warming, mass extinction, toxic environments, and our loss of conscious contact with the natural world, psychologist Will W. Adams weaves together insights from Zen Buddhism, Christian mysticism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and the practice of psychotherapy. Through a transpersonal, nondual, contemplative approach, Adams explores the fundamental malady of supposed separation (or dissociation): mind over body, self over others, my tribe over others', humans over the rest of nature. Instead of merely discussing these crucial issues in abstract terms, the book presents healing alternatives through storytelling, poetry, and theoretical inquiry. Written in an engaging, down-to-earth manner grounded in vivid descriptions of actual lived experience, A Wild and Sacred Call speaks across disciplines to students, experts, and nonspecialists alike.

Will W. Adams serves as a psychology professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and as an ecopsychologist, psychotherapist, and meditation teacher.


"Thanks to the author's thought-provoking writing style, this awesome masterpiece will especially interest readers concerned with ecopsychology, deep ecology, spiritual ecology, or environmentalism … Highly recommended." — CHOICE

"A Wild and Sacred Call is an invitation to awaken to restorative ways of relating to life and nature." — H-Net Reviews (H-Environment)

"Who but the huge-hearted Will Adams could have written this work? There are many fine volumes on the confluence of ecopsychology, spiritual practice, and ecology. Here, however, is a genuinely talismanic text that enacts the healing it so carefully elucidates. This is a quiet masterwork of both scholarship and sensitivity, one that carries the reader into the depths that it gently discloses shimmering around us. A book of simple power that, like a struck prayer bell, keeps reverberating in the hollows of the body, dissolving the shackled habits that block our eyes and ears and heart from really noticing, really attuning to, really feeling what meets us in the relational thick of the present moment." — David Abram, author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

"This book combines a lyrical invitation with an insistent demand. Both involve taking seriously our kinship with the earth and with all our fellow-species, whether we understand this call to become part of a mystical/transpersonal whole, or—in a pluralistic spirit—to respond to the other and the others. In either case, Adams insists, we are called to exit from our own self-centered and possessive egoism, to take up our responsibility for the widow, the orphan and the stranger, as well as for other species and for our shared home." — Donna M. Orange, author of Climate Crisis, Psychoanalysis, and Radical Ethics

"This work is perhaps the most comprehensive and ambitious text in the fledgling field of ecopsychology, extending its tableau to include transpersonal, literary, and spiritual wisdom sources. Most importantly, it enacts the healing for which it calls." — Jason M. Wirth, Seattle University, author of Mountains, Rivers, and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dōgen in an Age of Ecological Crisis

"Our twenty-first-century Earth community is in deep trouble, heading toward destruction due to the violence perpetrated by humans against one another, and due to the violence wrought against the natural world brought about by human hubris and greed. A Wild and Sacred Call addresses our critical situation, offering a worldview grounded on the fundamental interconnectedness of nature, the human psyche, and spirit. To convey its powerful message, this work deftly combines scholarly erudition with poetic imagery and insight, using stories from the author's own personal life as well as from the store of rich narratives from various cultures." — Ruben L. F. Habito, Guiding Teacher, Maria Kannon Zen Center, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and author of Be Still and Know: Zen and the Bible

"This is an insightful, in-depth inquiry into the psychological and spiritual dimensions of healing in troubled ecological times. As one of its many precious gifts, the book provides a vivid demonstration of how classical and contemporary sources of spiritual wisdom are directly relevant in our day-to-day lives." — James Finley, Center for Action and Contemplation and author of Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God