Nature's Intelligent Attractive Love
Dr. Michael J. Cohen is a true pioneer of ecopsychology. He has developed a coherent view of our place in Nature and effective methods for healing our relationship to our living planet. Project Nature Connect offers online courses and degrees and Dr. Cohen and his associates often lead nature-connecting workshops. Here we present reactions from two participants. Dave attended two noon-hour nature meditations led by John Scull and then wrote this poem. Allison Weeks, an associate of Dr. Cohen, writes about insights she gained at an advanced training activity. To learn more about Project Nature Connect, see the introductory article Healing ourselves and the world through applied ecopsychology
LESSON FROM NATURE: DISAPPEARING BOUNDARIES
At a recent Project Nature Connect Conference on San Juan Island, our study group was interviewed by an author who was in the process of writing a book about the recent WTO protests in Seattle. In particular, she was seeking insights from us for a chapter she included about the impact of the protests on the future of global trade. Mid-way through the interview the author agreed to do a nature-connecting activity with us and suggested we ask nature, "What is wealth?"
Reconnecting with Nature activities begin with sensing an attraction in nature. Usually something claims my attention right away, but this time it was different. As I walked alone along a forest path asking permission from nature to learn from it about wealth, I waited for something to attract me. Everything looked beautiful, but nothing in particular held my attention. As time went by I began to realize that this time my attraction was not the vibrant color of a flower, the beautiful song of a bird, the strength of a massive tree, or the softness of the moss on a rock. It was the forest in its entirety. My attraction to the forest held firm, so I sat on a small boulder to listen as the wordless lesson began.
As I watched, the attraction energies giving rise to the diverse and teeming life before me became apparent: The insect attracted by the nectar of the flower, gaining sustenance from it as it helped it by assisting pollination. The plants reaching for the life-giving energy of the sun and sharing it with the caterpillar. Roots attracted to the damp, moist earth while holding the earth in place. Dead leaves and trees transforming before my very eyes into new earth for new life.
As I became increasingly aware of the exquisite interconnectedness of the forest, my consciousness shifted and I stopped seeing separate entities. Instead, the physical reality before me became a beautiful, continuous flow of attraction relationships that gave rise to Life. Everything received just enough energy to sustain itself in health, returning energy in like kind to the web. Even the death of an individual returned the energy it had gathered during its life back to the Whole. I sensed myself as part of this whole -- and I, too, experienced the seamless flow of energy, the joyous fulfillment of mutual support and reciprocity available in the Web of Life."Ah," said my rational brain, never too happy to be wordless for long and very determined to translate my nonverbal awareness. "This is the lesson about wealth you are seeking. True wealth is the seamless flow of attraction energies in mutual support and reciprocity. When a sense of separation blocks this flow, the result is fear and greed. Blocking the flow disrupts the intricate and exquisite balance of the web of life, and soon many problems arise. Those who take and hoard more than they need without giving back to the web, thinking this makes them 'wealthy,' are really spiritually impoverished and bereft of true joy and fulfillment. Energy flow, besides being the basis of wealth, is also necessary for health -- individual, social, and environmental. When energy is blocked because of a sense of separation and attachment, illness results. Health and wealth are really identical, the result of a seamless energy flow of mutual support and reciprocity."
I returned to the group. We each shared our personal experience that the wisdom of nature had provided about the meaning of wealth. In the end our personal values shifted closer yet to those of the Web of Life of which we are a part--a web in which boundaries are only illusory.