I suspect that my family is quite confused by the direction of my path in life lately. They were supportive of my decision to work on my masters in transpersonal psychology (although they had no idea what the word “transpersonal” meant), but now that I’ve cultivated a passion for something that was NEVER discussed (shhh. . . the word is “healing”) they aren’t sure what to think. And now that I’ve been hanging out in nature a lot, talking with the birds and meditating with the trees, they are completely stumped. What does all this nature stuff have to do with healing? Everything. Having just completed a powerful Ecospirituality course, I have some definite views about the interconnectedness of all beings and the sacred role nature plays in healing.
I believe that our industrialized society with its historical emphasis on Newtonian physics is one reason humans so easily convinced themselves that they are the superior species, and therefore, should dominate over all other nonhuman beings (the rise of monotheism and subsequent decline of earth-based spirituality is another reason).
Current scientific theories suggest that life can be seen as a great web of information (Quantum Physics, Systems Theory, Chaos and Complexity Theories, and the Principle of Complementarity). Thankfully, we are moving away from the mechanistic beliefs of the industrial age to an understanding that we are all energy beings composed of the same essential particles, surrounded by forces of multiple probability that we can control—without the use of technological wizardry. Unfortunately, we seem to worship our technology more than our inner gifts and our connection to the Earth, which is why we are experiencing tension between what Swimme and Berry describe as the era of the Technozoic and the Ecozoic. (If you’ve seen the movie Avatar, then you know exactly the tension that we are experiencing.)
It is my belief that in an interconnected system such as ours, healing is a natural, inherent gift. As Swimme and Berry state, “we cannot have well humans on a sick planet,” (p. 525), so the healing of our Earth is of primary importance for our wellness—and our continued existence. I believe that healing is simply the process of attaining an inner state of balance. How can we find this balance within ourselves if everything needed to nourish and sustain our bodies is connected to the poisoned land, waters, and air we breathe?
Even if we enjoy being in nature and accept the gift of its healing qualities—which many recent studies can validate—we cannot heal the Earth without cultivating a reverence for all beings. Now we must find the way in which to bring ecospirituality to all humanity. For the past six weeks I have walked the riparian wetlands along the Stanislaus River in California’s Central Valley with the clearly stated intention of connecting with the land and her inhabitants. It has been a powerful experience like none other in my lifetime. This is one example of the type of transformational experience that each human needs in order to cultivate reverence. Will we find the time in our busy lives to push away from our beloved computers and televisions to walk the land? Are there other ways in which we can we bring the sacredness of the natural world to our daily lives?
I have a few ideas to share, but first, I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.
Swimme, B. & Berry, T. in Schlitz, M., Amorok, T., & Micozzi, M. S. (2005). Consciousness & healing: Integral approaches to mind-body medicine. St. Louis: Elsevier.