Last night I was walking with my girlfriend and her dogs. As I was paying attention to the dog, I was thinking about the documentary we had watched earlier called “no impact man”. I saw the dog come to attention, senses alive, she turned her head and then turned in the opposite direction. I followed her gaze to see a rabbit three houses in back of us. As we turned to go on down the road, I looked up at a massive tree and felt so grateful that I have the opportunity to be alive with that tree. I thanked the tree and felt gratitude back. It was like the tree was telling me that the story/drama we live in day to day is not a natural attraction, yet the love in the form of natural attractions is always present and that’s what grounds me when I get upset about the story and it’s effects on nature, those I care about, and me. Nature is designed to produce happiness and love in the form of our senses. Anything that does not promote that seems to be part of our nature-conquering story. I now understand more fully the Buddhist idea that being free from suffering is not the absence of pain, hurt, or death, it is fully experiencing what is real in the moment. So, when I feel disconnected at work, I know that it is accurate. Knowing that and being able to stay with that sensation is what leads me to connection with nature. It’s telling me what I don’t want/need. It’s telling what I’m not attracted to.
When I started this program, I had little knowledge about nature and had not made many significant connections to nature. Now I know that this was the missing link in my life. I have been well trained in psychology, which lead me to ecopsychology, but had not made the connection with nature. I had also studied Buddhism and eastern philosophy for years, which in retrospect helped me to understand RWN (reconnecting with nature) and even more RWN helped me understand Buddhism. It’s weird, I feel like the same person only almost completely different.
An example of this for me occurred while running the other day. I had been connecting with nature and then running. I was feeling the importance of paying attention to my surroundings for survival purposes. I was attracted to this level of attention. As I ran in this park, I came across a basketball. This object seemed so foreign and out of place that much of my attention was drawn to it. I thought “an unnatural ball of rubber just distracted me from paying attention to my survival attraction, that’s what happens to me (and us) so much of the time”. All of these industrial things are wranglers (wranglers are anything that promotes the nature-conquering story of our culture).
I started to feel bad: depressed, hopeless, trapped like I needed to flee into the forest. I realized that this is also not part of nature. Nature nurtures mutually beneficial relationships to produce harmony and love, which are natural attractions. That was not what I was feeling. I realized that I could connect with nature and feel those attractions come back. I can still know about what is going on and how I am being affected by the industrial world, yet the way to heal from this is not through thinking about how I can fix it. It’s how can I be more and more connected to nature and let nature guide my thinking. This develops a supported ground to meet these wranglers on and a feeling that I can joyfully connect with nature in all places.