"The human need for nature is linked not just to the material exploitation of the environment but also to the influence of the natural world on our emotional, cognitive, aesthetic, and even spiritual development."
- Edward O. Wilson
Harvard University Pulitzer Prize Recipient (To the American Psychological Association National Convention)
"It is quite clear to me after several years in the environmental movement that all physical problems of man's impact on the environment - pollution of the air and waters, the desecration of the land, the contamination of the food chain - all start within the environment of man's mind."
Founder: the United Nations Environment Program
Co-Chair: U.N. Commission on Global Governance
"Our task must be to free ourselves from (our) prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
...- Albert Einstein
"In order to achieve more effective environmental protection and conservation, internal balance within the human being himself or herself is essential."
...- Dalai Lama
"Our greatest problems result from the difference between how people think and how nature works."
...- Gregory Bateson
"Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living things, he will never, himself, know peace."
...- Albert Schweitzer
...Nobel Prize recipient
"Wilderness is the ultimate encyclopedia, holding answers to more questions than we have yet learned how to ask. That's the magic in you. You've got it; let it out."
...- David Brower
"The environmental crisis is an outward manifestation of a crisis of mind and spirit. There could be no greater misconception of its meaning than to believe it is concerned only with endangered wildlife, human-made ugliness and pollution. These are part of it, but more importantly, the crisis is concerned with the kind of creates we are and what we must become in order to survive."
...-Lynton K Caldwell
Human behavior is rooted most deeply in nature's intentions and desire. The rhythms of nature underlie all of human interaction: religious traditions, economic systems, cultural and political organization. When these human forms betray the natural psychic pulse, people and societies get sick, nature is exploited and entire species are threatened.
"What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another."
"We have repressed far more than our sexuality: our very organic nature is now unconscious to most of us, most of the time, and we have become shrunken into two dimensional social or cultural beings, aware of only five of the hundreds of senses that link us to the rich biological nature that underlies and nourishes these more symbolic and recent aspects of ourselves."
...- Norman 0. Brown
"We are dysfunctional socially and environmentally because we are cut off and isolated from the world of nature and the natural."
...-Albert Gore, (edited)
...Senator, United States
...Author, Earth in the Balance
"The "Great Nest of Spirit" includes matter, nature, body, mind, soul, and spirit, yet they're always situated in the context of the four quadrants (of nature, systems, self and culture) and they are all correlated with one another."
...Brad Reynolds explaining Ken Wilbur, the "Einstein of Consciousness"
"Nurture your felt love for nature. Never deny it. That love is nature's voice, our origins in nature, the eons, the purifying intelligence, beauty and diversity of natural systems sustaining us in the spirit of their perfection and wellness."
...-from The Web of Life Imperative
"He looked upon us as sophisticated children -- smart but not wise. We knew many things, and much that is false. He knew nature, which is always true."
...-Saxton T. Pope (said of Ishi, America's ...last hunter-gather Native American)
"Over the years, I've spent a lot of time fighting. Fighting against logging, pollution, nuclear power...as long as we fight all the time there's going to be a winner and a loser...(we must) build bridges across to the people who are fighting."
...- David Suzuki
"Our religion keeps reminding us that we aren't just will and thoughts. We're also sand and wind and thunder and rain and the seasons. All those things. You learn to respect everything because you are everything. If you respect yourself, you respect all things."
...- Least Heat Moon
."At root, ecology is an erotic attitude of closeness, relatedness and care. We have made it into a rational/activist project and lost sight of its heart."
....-- Thomas Moore
"Sensory experience, we might say, is the way our body binds its life to the other lives that surround it, the way the earth couples itself to our thoughts and our dreams. Sensory perception is the glue that binds our separate nervous systems into the larger, encompassing ecosystem. For the senses are our most immediate access to the more-than-human natural world."
. ..-David Abram
...Author, Spell of the Sensuous
Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.
"The excessive disconnection of our mind from nature's healing powers produces our dysfunctions and disturbed thinking. We can overcome them through a social technology, an organic form of psychology that enables us to genuinely reconnect our psyche to nature's unifying ways. Learn how to use and teach this thoughtful sensory process."
-Michael J. Cohen
Special NGO Consultant to United Nations Economic and Social Council
Holistic natural system attractions that cure personal, environmental and global dysfunctionSYNOPSIS:
This whole life public education instruction page supports a funded Mother Earth sensory science in action. It explains to educating, counseling and healing with nature participants an organic psychology social network tool that helps us improve health, wellness and counseling by enabling our thinking and feeling to safely tap into the nature's grace, balance and restorative powers. Participants benefit from and strengthen their inborn love of nature as they master social network sites for alternative therapist coaching, natural stress release and management and holistic spiritual psychology.
Now training and hiring instructors and administrators for
Educating Counseling and Healing With Nature
Supportive Degrees, Career Training Courses and Jobs On Line
Project NatureConnect offers nature-centered distant learning that enables its participants to add the benefits of nature-connecting methods and credentials to their degree programs, careers and/or their skills, interests and hobbies.
We honor your prior training and life experience by providing grants and equivalent education credit for it.
You may take accredited or professional CEU coursework and/or obtain a Nature-Connected Degree or Certificate in most disciplines or personal interests. A partial subject list is located at the bottom of this page.
- Improve your income and satisfaction through independent, interdisciplinary or integrated study and Applied Ecopsychology.
- Help people connect their thoughts and feelings with the self-correcting and renewing ways of nature.
- Increase personal social and environmental well being.
- Add the self-correcting sunlight, beauty and spirit of the natural world to your life and community.Visit our Homepage for complete information
The Hidden, Unified-Field Voice in Natural Systems:
Why Counseling, Learning and Relationships Work Better When Connected to the Web of Life
How to Think and Feel the Laws of Natural Attraction.
"Good Morning, Al Gore, Isn't it Time to Wake Up and Smell the Roses Again."
Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D.
Institute of Global Education
By permission this short article is available free for publication.
A broken computer cannot repair itself if its malfunction prevents it from making the repair. Similarly, we suffer our personal, social and environmental dysfunctions because we have "broken" our ability to think clearly with regard to our human relationship with nature. Our broken thinking creates and sustains our dysfunctional relationships because our mind can't repair itself.
Nature can be seen as an energy of God and we are part of nature. Normally, nature's creative intelligence produces the non-polluting perfection and healing ways of natural systems within and about us. But we live excessively nature-separated lives. Our separation removes our thinking from nature's universe of grace, balance and restorative powers. This loss creates a natural system void in our psyche, a void that produces dysfunctions in our thinking.
We must replace this loss by connecting our psyche with nature for our thinking is our destiny.
Today, an organic, nature-reconnecting education and counseling tool is readily available on the Internet. It enables us to genuinely tap our psyche into natural systems and think like nature's perfection works. This tool helps us remedy our mental dysfunctions by inviting nature's ways to fill the void we have produced in our mind and heart and to help us recycle our misguided thoughts.
This Article suggests that our thinking has become so dysfunctional that, without help, our thinking may not appreciate or use the new nature-reconnecting tool and the opportunity it presents. The article also empowers you and your readers to provide the help our thinking needs in this regard.
"Nurture your felt love for nature. Never deny it. That love is the eons, the purifying intelligence, beauty and diversity of nature sustaining us in its perfection. Our disconnection from this holistic love produces our hurt, greed and destructiveness. We must reconnect and restore its peaceful voice in our thoughts, soul and surroundings."
...- Michael J. Cohen,
...Author, The Web of Life Imperative
"We are dysfunctional socially and environmentally because we are cut off and isolated from the world of nature and the natural."
...-Albert Gore, (edited)
...Senator, United States
...Author, Earth in the Balance
Since the publication of his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance, we have heard little from Al Gore about how to deal with the destructive dysfunctions he identifies in our society, dysfunctions produced by our excessive disconnection from nature.
In 1990 in person I described to Mr. Gore, and gave him the published blueprint of a holistic social technology that empowers us to to genuinely connect our mind with nature and reverse our dysfunctions. He included the blueprint in his book's bibliography. Today that tool is readily available. The burning question is "Are we, including Al Gore, too dysfunctional to appreciate and use the tool?"
Here's what our mind does not want us to hear. With rare exception, the mentality of industrial society is walking a self-destructive treadmill of denial. We unnecessarily suffer our troubles because we deny that our thinking is dysfunctional and that a readily available, holistic nature-connecting cure enables us to transform our dysfunctions into constructive relationships.
Significantly, in the past decade the often opposing physical (7), biological, social and environmental sciences have discovered a body of evidence to which they agree. In addition, this evidence also agrees with findings in ethics(10), philosophy and spirituality (9). During this same period, the fields of education and psychology have produced a learning process that enables any individual to access this validated knowledge and use it to build relationships that improve self, society and the environment (3).
The holistic evidence mentioned above authenticates what outdoor researchers like myself sense in natural areas. A fundamental, binding, energy underlies every aspect of the world we know (13). Be it a basic form of Love or the Unified Field so highly sought in physics, a cohesive natural attraction holds together, cures, and is a form of communication for sub-atomic, human, and global relationships (8, 6).
Natural attraction connects everything into a system and subsystem so that everything belongs, nothing is isolated or not wanted. For this reason, nature does not produce garbage.
Natural attraction roots
Nature grows from seeds and roots, past to present. The existence of an original natural attraction throughout nature is consistent with how nature works holistically. It makes sense. If the Earth yesterday and today was not held together by natural attraction, it would fall apart, which it hasn't and doesn't. Rather, its natural systems are attracted to increase in growth, diversity, resilience and their ability to support life in a balance without producing pollution.
We are attractive
All material or non-material "things" in nature including people, consist of natural attraction relationships. Thus, as natural attraction produces us, it manifests itself as us, as our molecules, body, mind, sensations and feelings.
On our first real birth day, together, all members of nature's plant, animal and mineral kingdoms "love" us so much that they are attracted to physically and spiritually become us. They supportively flow their eons of balancing life attractions, wisdom and experience through us. In time, they birth us out of our human mother and into the more supportive and universal womb of Mother Nature, so that, as part of the natural attraction process, we help support all of life as it helps support us. We are born as contributing planetary citizens with unique attraction contributions. We are also born as equals; every other member of the global life community has the same natural origins.
Our senses are not sterile. Like everything else they, too, are natural attraction expressing itself. For our survival our senses intelligently help us consciously, feelingly, register nature's ways as they seek fulfillment from their attraction to their origins in nature. For example, our sense of thirst intelligently "knows" when to consciously attract us to water because we are dehydrated.
Effects of disconnection
Biologically, humanity is a holistic seamless continuum of nature and natural attraction. However, a contemporary person daily lives and thinks over 99% of the time while disconnected from their natural attractions in natural areas. This profound disconnection corrupts our thinking to the point that we consider this dismemberment normal. We applaud it even as we suffer its abnormal effects upon ourselves and the environment.
The missing attraction rewards in our nature-disconnected emotionality produce our wants and greed. They arise from our severed, frustrated natural attractions. This stressful void makes contemporary people the only organisms on Earth whose mentality destructively produces garbage, pollution, war, mental illness, loneliness, excessive stress and abusive relationships. These maladies, with rare exception, are absent in nature or people in tune with authentic nature.
The objectivity and science of disconnected contemporary thinking dismisses as subjective most of the natural attraction sensitivities and cures that nature and people hold in common. For example, sensory attractions to water (thirst), life (survival), appetite for air (to breathe), and belonging (community) are not even included in the five senses that we say we learn and know from. Satisfactions from our natural attraction to pets, friends, family, nature, peace, justice and community seldom forge our self-esteem, economics and technologies.
In our nature-isolated thinking, we learn to view our holistic natural attraction senses and feelings as unimportant, as non-measurable, childish or unreasonable loves (12). We condition ourselves to become sensuously sterile and oblivious to them. To our loss, we omit them from most equations. This corrupts us. Our thinking and resilience lose nature's essential, unifying energy, our inherent natural attraction way of knowing and relating that also peacefully holds the natural world in a mutually supportive, cooperative, equilibrium. Disconnected from this common bond, we and Earth are becoming increasingly dysfunctional (4) (11).
Life's hidden purpose
The absence of natural attractions from our thinking leaves us to conclude that life systems, including ourselves, operate by the laws of chance and are without purpose. However, any thoughtful person may observe that, locally or globally, a life system does have a purpose. It is to survive by following its holistic natural attraction to grow in support of life. Throughout nature, minerals, plants and animals achieve this purpose and perfection by fulfilling a multiplicity of natural attractions that resonate and beneficially modify each other. Things in nature thereby intelligently, by "consensus" (many sensitivities together), unite as global citizens to their mutual benefit. The "fittest" are those that best sustain mutually beneficial cooperative relationships with their environment.
As part of nature, when our senses and feelings are not thwarted by nature-conquering stories, artificial substitutes or social pressures, they attract us to responsibly support life. Each time we do they reward us with joys that keep us on that path.
Most therapies, healing, and learning work better and produce greater cures and responsibility when connected to natural attractions in nature. It is no longer heresy to say that the greater a person's natural attraction desensitization or disconnection, the greater are the problems that person suffers and causes. Conversely, sensuously reconnecting with attractions in nature is our salvation. The connection enables us to benefit from the real thing, the unique supportive and regenerative powers of nature. They help us transform our disorders into unifying, constructive relationships (5A-E).
To help us repair our mentality's destructive disconnection from nature, at the Institute of Global Education a newly researched Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP) provides a psychologically organic tool, a missing link. To our "normal" way of thinking, the NSTP tool enables us to do what seems impossible. It's activities helps us safely make thoughtful, conscious, sensory contact with healing natural attractions in nature, backyard or backcountry. Through this purifying connective process, we invite natural systems to "compost," or recycle or renew, polluted or injured parts of our psyche. This is not unreasonable. We simply tap into the normal ways of natural systems and let them do what they usually do best. Through this safe and enjoyable process we reduce our dismemberment stress and improve our thinking and ways of relating. We dissolve "mind pollution" and its destructive effects. The sensory information that registers from contact with natural systems helps us think and co-create with, rather than against, nature (3).
The presence of these additional senses in our normal awareness enables us to enjoyably think and speak with and through them, to make greater sense and thereby improve our relationships with our selves, each other and the flow of natural systems through, within and around us. This holistic cure feels good. It becomes very attractive, therefore repeated, and thereby lasting (2).
NSTP helps anybody restore the inherent joy of their culturally suppressed natural attractions. Senses of community, trust, place, compassion, reason, belonging, consciousness, global citizenship, empathy, literacy, humor, spirit, relaxation and sustainability, along with our forty-one additional natural senses, come into play. This enables us to holistically come into balance as our thinking rationally taps into nature's natural attraction to uncontaminated reason, peace, spirit, community and Higher Power.
It is neither sensible nor attractive for us to remain sensuously disconnected from nature and continue to produce the destructive effects we and Earth presently suffer. To help us end this deterioration NSTP is readily available through holistic online scholarships, courses, degree programs and training for nature-connected education, counseling and leadership. NSTP empowers caring individuals to help people, nations and religions share with each other what they deeply hold in common, an innate ability to make conscious sensory contact with natural attractions in natural areas. This unification improves personal, social and environmental relationships and restores peace. To knowledgeably omit this supportive nature-reconnecting process from any endeavor simply reinforces our dysfunction.
"Personal transformation is best cultivated by partnering with the supreme agent of change, the Earth. Life is change, and nature is the wizard who enlivens its magic cycles."
-Philip Sutton Chard
"Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people."
1. Bloom, Howard. (2000.) Global Brain. New York. John Wiley and Sons.
2. Cohen, Michael (2005) A Survey of Participants: Reactions to NSTP and Studies of Effects, The Web of Life Imperative, Victoria, B.C. Trafford.
3. Cohen, Michael (1997) Reconnecting With nature: Finding Wellness Through Restoring Your Bond with the Earth, Eugene, OR, Ecopress
4. Cohen, Michael, Editor (2001) The State of Planet Earth: Results of Ecozombie Thinking (http://www.ecospsych.com/zombie2.html)
5A-E. Chard, Philip Sutton. (1994.) The Healing Earth: nature's medicine for the troubled soul. Minnetonka MN. NorthWord Press.
5B. Kahn, Peter H. (1999). The Human Relationship with nature: Development and Culture. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
5C. Frumkin, Howard (2001). Beyond toxicity: Human health and the natural environment. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 20(3): 234-240 (March)
5D. Wilson, Edward O. (2001). Nature matters. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 20(3): 241-242
5E. Stilgoe, John R. (2001). Gone barefoot lately? Nature matters. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 20(3): 243-244
6. Einstein, Albert et al (1952) Science and Philosophy http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/philos1.htm
7. Laszlo, Ervin. (1995.) The Interconnected Universe. London. World Scientific.
8. Laszlo, Ervin. (1996.) The Whispering Pond: A Personal Guide to the Emerging Vision of Science. Rockport, MA. Element.
9. Newberg, Andrew. (2001.) Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. New York. Ballantine Books.
10. Pojman, Louis P. (2001.) Environmental Ethics, 3rd Ed. Belmont, CA. Wadsworth.
11. Roszak, Theodore, Mary E. Gomes & Allen D. Kanner. (1995.) Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco. Sierra Club Books.
12. Shepard, Paul. (1982.) Nature and Madness. San Francisco. Sierra Club Books.
13. Thomas, Janet (2005) On All Nine Legs - Teaching Outdoor Love to an Indoor World, Taproot, SUNY Cortland, NY, Coalition for Education in the Outdoors,
LINKS to people that have expressed or shown support for this article.
Other materials that appear in this article are drawn from Michael J. Cohen's professionally reviewed publications in:
The Journal of Humanistic Psychology,
Journal of Environmental Education,
Interpsych Journal of Mental Health,
Greenwich University Journal of Science and Technology,
Councelling Psychology Quarterly,
Proceedings of the North American Association for ..Environmental Education,
Journal of the Oregon Counseling Association,
U.S. Department of Education Educational Resources ..Information Center,
Between the Species,
International Journal of Humanities and Peace
(for additional references, see the author's personal page at http://www.ecopsych.com/mjcohen.html
For further information about natural attraction see nature Connected Psychology in the Greenwich University Journal of Science and Technology http://www.ecopsych.com/natpsych.html
For references to frequently asked questions, visit http://www.ecopsych.com/references.html
About the Author
Recipient of the 1994 Distinguished World Citizen Award, Ecopsychologist Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D., is a director of the Institute of Global Education, a special NGO consultant to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, where he directs the Integrated Ecology Department and Project NatureConnect. He also serves on the faculty of Greenwich University, International University of Professional Studies and Portland State University. Dr. Cohen has founded several sensory environmental education programs, conceived the 1985 National Audubon Society Conference "Is the Earth a Living Organism," and is the award winning author of Reconnecting With Nature (Ecopress, 1997), and Einstein's World (Institute Of Global Education Technical Bulletin 2000)
"The Natural Systems Thinking Process provides a readily accessible ....and.wonderfully effective means for students to acquire, understand, and act upon the transforming experience of being connected to nature; of being in respectful relationship with the natural world of which they are a part."
J.Marc McGinnes, J.D.
University of California at Santa Barbara
"We dramatically increased our program's effectiveness by adding the Natural Systems Thinking Process to it. It enables our participants to connect with their sensory origins in nature and use that peaceful power to improve their relationships with self, society and the environment."
James Rowe, Ph.D. Director of the Outward Bound School in Costa Rica
INSTITUTE OF GLOBAL EDUCATION Special NGO consultant United Nations Economic and Social Council
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360-378-6313 <email> www.ecopsych.com
ORGANIC ADVANCED ECOPSYCHOLOGY IN ACTION
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Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director
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