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Journal of Organic Psychology and Natural Attraction Ecology (OP/NAE)
Project NatureConnect Akamai University Institute of Applied Ecopsychology
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2011-2013 Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Editor
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Earth is my Other Body
- Michael J. Cohen
CHAPTER ONE and TWO of The Hidden Organic Remedy: Nature as Higher Power.
Personal Experience Is Personal Truth
10:05 AM. “Hi, my name is Mike,” is all I said to the 35 drug and alcohol addiction convicts in the room at the recovery center. They were there because a Judge had sentenced them to a special organic substance abuse program that includes the art and science of Project NatureConnect’s Education, Counseling and Healing with Nature process (ECHN, Magic of Something From Nothing, 1, 3;).
I was teaching them how to create amazing sensory moments that let Nature teach.
The purpose of my visit was to help this recovery facility discover the value of learning how to use genuine contact with nature as a source of higher power in its variety of 12 step programs. The results were spectacular, environmentally sound and far-reaching for these incarcerated First Nation, Native American and European-Origin participants.
In this book I share with you exactly what we did in a one-day workshop and its effects so you, too, may obtain, and help others enjoy, its momentous benefits. The program had already proven itself many times over with groups and individuals who were not in jail (5).
Some parts of what we did are not a pretty picture, but that’s why they worked. The effects of the picture that Industrial Society paints for itself and each of us are seldom pretty when they are not organic. The outrage over these corrupt and limiting outcomes was the extra energy that motivated exceptional growth in our program participants.
Apply Practical Facts
I said to the group: “I warranty (Appendix A, 20) that my purpose in being here is to help your Counselor, Steve, collect and apply practical facts about our relationship with nature. He’s learning how to get exceptional results from applying nature’s healing and purifying powers to our daily lives. Steve is going to school to master this process and today you can learn how to do it with him. In fact, as you know, he was once in your situation with drugs and prison.” With various shades of enthusiasm the addicts all agreed to participate, so I continued. “Let’s start with what I’ve already shared with you. What facts can we discover from me telling you that my name is Mike?”
“Is there anybody here that can’t hear my voice?” I said.
“That’s good. You see, I was testing to see if anybody was going to be deceitful and say that they could not hear me. If they did I would ask them ‘If you can’t hear me how did you know to answer the question since you don’t read lips?” Some laughed. I thought that was a good sign, they were paying attention.
"OK. That you can hear me means that your sense of Hearing is working. There, that’s a fact, right? That you can register my voice and respond to it is your personal truth. I know it is true for you because you experienced it. Do you recognize this, too? If so, say it to each other something like 'I know that hearing the sound of his voice is true for you because you experienced it.' ” I had them say this a few times so they became comfortable with doing it, and some did. It produced smiles. They experienced a degree of happiness that a moment before was not present. It was a contentment or fulfillment that they obtained in a good way, meaning to the benefit of all, as there were no destructive side effects from it for them or for anyone else. They became a touch more positive, whole, energized and present. They were now my allies as we continued, and doing this was contagious.
I said, “Nobody can take this ‘hearing’ truth away from you. I can’t talk you out of it, the Administrators can’t tell you that you can’t have it, that its not allowed. Your mother can’t say you don’t have it. If God walked into this room, do you think He could convince you that you can’t hear my voice right now? You see, your natural sense of being able to register sound is an innate biological and psychological fact. You own it, and you experience that it works so lets put that fact first on the fact list that Steve is making.
Effects of Indoctrination
For you to collect accurate facts about the world is vital. You have been indoctrinated with and traumatized by so many misleading facts about yourself and the world that you have ended up addicted and in jail with some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress because you have experienced it. You got caught by the authorities. The rest of us are caught by excessive stress that injures us and other unseen, innocent people and places on the planet. To remedy this, this program helps you and others find and use truths that you know make sense and engage in them to replace the corrupt facts and situations that mislead you. Just think about this: most of the facts that we believe are wrong. For example, centuries ago false facts said the Earth was the center of the solar system and universe. True facts corrected this error, yet folks that believed them then were “heretics.” They were put in jail until these facts were accepted more than 140 years later. That serves to show how the powers of institutions prevent change (Appendix C).
Today, misleading facts pollute and overuse the Earth so we now take 150 percent more resources from it than it can produce or that we can pay for. That’s a form of slow death for Earth and us. It disturbs us for our sense of reason knows that this does not make sense, that we are not reasonable in this regard. That observation produces underlying, earth-shaking erosion of our self-esteem and credibility in relating in socially and environmentally just ways that do not unfairly threaten or eliminate lives, species and habitats. After all, who knows how to make and pay for another planet half the size of Earth and hook it up to Earth so they work identically and support each other? That’s presently what is needed (18).
It does not make sense to choose to use a corrupt form of higher power whose ‘facts’ lead us to excessively conquer nature, in and around us, and promote personal and planetary deterioration. That’s not organic it’s the opposite and its depressing as we see and feel Nature dying. Somebody should declare that using corrupt higher power is a sin or at least a punishable crime, right? After all, aren’t you are in jail for using or doing something stupid?” That got another smile.
“Let’s continue,” I said, “Now, you also can see my hands and lips moving, correct?" Some nodded in agreement. "The ability to register Motion is also a happiness, an undeniable truth for you because it registered directly on your senses, you experienced it, you would not want to lose it, correct? You would lose the joy of watching football or movies, right?" Again they nodded. I had them again repeat with me “ 'I know my sense of Motion is true for me because I experienced it'." I said, “So there’s two other facts we have discovered. One is that your sense of Motion is working and it can make you conscious of movement. The second is that our natural senses are our inherent ability for us to register the real world. We can do that because we experience them. Let's put both those truths on the fact list." Steve did. “Oh,” I said, “And those of you who have smiled at parts of what we have been learning because you enjoyed experiencing it demonstrates that you have a sense of humor. Steve, that’s a third fact to add to the list.”
Charley, can you see my hand? ‘Yes,’ he replied, and I had them all say with me to Charley, “And we know it is true for you because you experienced it.” I call this little fact-awareness phrase a “Spoken Self-Evident Truth and Happiness Validation” and I represent it by the word: Validate.
(I use Validate. in italic here. It signifies that discussion took place and the group, or some of its members spoke the validation for themselves and/or for and with others. What is monumental about this is that we are validating sensation as a fact. The sensation of thirst becomes just as true a fact as is water as a material.
Validate can take a wide range of time depending upon the degree of familiarity and knowledge in the Leader/Facilitator. Each validation can be augmented and strengthened by adding to it processes described in Appendix B. Validate. is the senses of Reason, Literacy and Consciousness resonating with input from one or more other senses.)
We are all under the destructive influence of our society’s corruption. The facilitator’s challenge is not to be subject to their personal addictions or values and affect others with them. The task is to let the natural senses “speak” for themselves as unadulterated sensations/
NOTE: you may master the abilitat to VALIDATE through a leadership training workshop with Dr. Cohen and others on San Juan Island, Washington and elsewhere. By appointment 360.378.6313.
Validate is an organic affirmation for scientific thinking and feeling that helps folks strengthen their contact with reality. When I think of Validate it’s a reasonable and conscious story of the moment, a reminder to do it, to actually say “And I know it is true for (you, me or us) because (you, me or we) experienced it.” We discover that repeatedly doing this for each sensation and fact, after first taking a few "get real" slow and deep "Earth-Connecting" breaths, is a very important habit. It brings experiential knowledge into the immediate conscious, reasoning and literate moment where it becomes an empirical fact, part of our body, mind and spirit dance. It is a full, first-hand experience way of knowing as natural human beings rather than just another story. Doing it is a practical, free antidote and preventative for being a victim of destructive falsehoods. It produces happiness and you can strengthen it continuously (Appendix B). It’s more reasonable, lasting and safer than using detrimental or addictive drugs to do the same thing.
“Now,” I said, “I’m going to tell you the very simple but significant secret for getting out of the trouble you are in as well as living in happy ways that keep you out of trouble and help others, too, Ready? Here it is. Always Validate each time you discover a fact that is true for you because your senses registered it, because you experienced it. This is simple enough to do, we’ve already done it a couple of times. Being literate is part of our human wholeness.
We each must put into the literate part of our mind what we know is true for us because words strongly influence how and what we think and feel. They are part of the way our mentality works. If we don’t get them right, we end up going wrong.
Ask yourself whether you would rather enjoy your amazing gift of words or would you choose instead to be ‘dumb,’ meaning you can’t talk.
You know that untrue words and ideas have misled you. They have landed you in jail as well as addict you and make you suffer the troubles that this causes. For this reason it’s vital that you make yourself as aware as possible of what is true for you. You accomplish this mighty feat by Validating, by putting into words and saying aloud, or better still, writing, after each fact you identify ‘I know its true for me because I experienced it.’ In addition, you double your learning by doing the same for others here as you help them do it for themselves. If you don’t continuously Validate here today you are missing out on making contact with your uncorrupted higher power, with higher power that you know is true for you because your natural senses, unadulterated, experienced it.
Now, take a minute. Think about the facts we have found and validated already and the importance of validating, and if it makes sense and it true for you Validate validating. Say aloud, ‘I know validating is true for me because I experienced it.’ After that, say it about the others here in the group that you experienced watching them benefit from it, ‘I know validating is true for you because I experienced you experiencing it.”
We repeated the Validate process noting the fact that they were conscious of the senses of Sound, Motion and Humor and that this was accurate for them so our sense of Consciousness was working and that was a fact we must Validate. From that point on I insisted that they say in full “And we know it is true for (you, me or us) because (you, I or we) experienced it,” whenever a personal fact of life for others or themselves was evident, while Steve wrote these facts down. I’ll continually notate this process occurred here with "Validate." It’s even more effective if folks write out these validation words because writing exercises and connects many more senses than just speaking. This makes the experience more powerful and supports the value of journaling.
Validating Senses and Sensuality
I continued by asking the group if they could understand my words and read the writing on the chart hanging on the wall. They responded that they could, so their sense of Literacy, of registering stories, was a true fact for them. Validate.. They also recognized that it was sensible for them to acknowledge that it made sense that what they sensed was true for them, and that the words they read also made sense to them. This meant that their sense of making sense of their senses, their sense of Reason, was yet another true fact for them because they experienced it. Validate. They could see various colors so their sense of Color was true for them because they experienced it. Validate. They could determine whether things were close or far from them so their sense of Distance was intact. Validate. They could register Hunger and Thirst so these senses were also undeniable personal and group attributes. Validate.
“How many senses have you been taught that you learn from and know the world by?” I asked. They agreed that it was five: Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch and Smell. Validate.
I said, “OK, now think about this. We just sensed, acknowledged and occasionally laughed about the fact that we registered undeniable facts, our personal truths, our senses of Sound, Motion, Sight, Consciousness, Literacy, Reason, Color, Distance, Thirst, Hunger and Humor, too. So now let's use what we have discovered and Validate it. Now, let’s use our sense of Reason to consider this fact: only two of these eleven senses, Sight and Sound are amongst the five we are taught that we are born with and learn from. Doesn’t our sense of Reason register and report that this is true, and that we have made a reasonable and correct observation. Validate.
Now think about this in addition to what we just validated: we have factually determined the truth that we individually and collectively have an additional nine senses. Validate. What does this tell your senses of Reason, Consciousness and Literacy? We have already assured that these three senses are working for us. Do you think the ‘We have and learn from 5–senses story' is accurate or is it a corrupt half-truth in that we have experienced many more senses? Out sense of reason signals ‘half-truth’ and this makes us feel sensible because we have discovered a falsehood.” Validate.
Educating, Counseling and Healing With Nature (ECHN) empowers you to act from these classic observations:
"Nothing is more indisputable than our senses."
- Jean Le Rond d'Alembert circa 1752
"The senses, being the explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge." - Maria Montessori circa 1897
Here’s another truth. In my nature-connection model I have found 54 natural senses (Appendix E, 6). Researchers have shown that we genetically inherit each of them. However, we learn to acknowledge only five of them and this pertains directly to you.
You see, you are incarcerated here because you never learned to make sense of the natural dance of your lives and relationships using the combined intelligence of your 54 natural senses. You mostly thought you only had and used five of them. When you felt stupid or hurt, it was because you were denied your right to know that you were only being taught to reason with ten percent of your inherent 54-sense capacity to think, feel and build good relationships in mutually supportive balance.
We can see from the destructive effects of Industrial Society on the natural environment, that it is involved in an undeclared war against nature, in and around us because we are hurt, needy and therefore excessive. As part of this conquest, it misled, corrupted and molded your nature, your mind, body and spirit while you were very young and unaware, as well as today. Now it is punishing you for its error, for its painful effects on your self-worth and relationships. You seldom find this happening in nature-centered societies."
At this point, one participant offered that he should have told the Judge that it was the corruption in Industrial Society that was guilty of a crime against him and nature, not him, and others agreed. They also agreed that it was completely their responsibility to recognize and remedy what had happened to them by thoughtfully seeking help.I continued, "That injury, and other similar injuries to your young self, is what urged you to use drugs to tranquilize, or to remove your hurt or your “you are stupid or worthless” story that you learned from the war on nature. You suffer from the same the stupidity of the way we injure nature, because you are part of nature. When some types of drugs temporarily tranquilized away your “I am stupid” story they allowed your other 49 senses to safely come into play and gave you the high to enjoy their fulfillment without you being criticized or disciplined. However, this also addicted you to the drugs or alcohol and their consequences. To change this situation is like your sense of Reason deciding it’s best for you to learn a new language and then actually proceeding to learn it. It’s not stupid to recognize that the change takes time as well as takes new skills and repetition to break old habits and find new, more reasonable rewards. Think about this quietly for the next minute, then we’ll discuss any questions, then Validate it if and when you recognize its validity."
After the minute had passed I repeated, “You are not here because you are stupid and getting into nonsense. You are here because you were misled, you were taught to be this way and you simply got caught while many others didn’t so this workshop is not about or for you alone. Most of us are in situations similar to yours. We all disobey the law at some point. The difference is that we were lucky enough not to injure others, or to get apprehended or become addicted to disobeying authority. Think about it. Some examples of common violations that folks enact include: texting while driving a car, or going through stoplights,
or over the speed limit; lying on tax forms, lying in general, shoplifting, cheating on exams, jaywalking, driving while drinking, littering, being too rowdy, using false prescriptions or illegal substances, trespassing, personal and environmental abusiveness etc. Each of these is not uncommon and can have unhappy and life-threatening results including jail time. We are all socialized to become crazy-makers; we don’t seek help because we have not been caught or punished. Instead, the unknown people places and things we affect are unjustifiably injured or trespassed.
How about this, how about we stop thinking incorrectly about ourselves right now? Do you remember, think or feel that you have been misled by an injurious or corrupt part of society at home, school or work? Do you think that this has led to you having your present sickness or disorder that you now must remedy? If so, let’s put this as a fact on our list because it is true for you, your senses of Reason and Consciousness are experiencing that story right now. Let’s share our personal history with each other. Validate.
I’m here teaching this nature connection program to Steve and you in order to help you reverse the injurious effects of our Society’s misleading education and guidance. It continues
in this very moment because the corruption that pervades our society is considered “normal” or unchangeable. On a mass level, this may be so, but you don’t have to choose to be part of it.
As I mentioned earlier, what we are facing in using nature as higher power is the same challenge Copernicus faced when the reasonable truths he collected registered on his senses and he declared the sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system, that the Earth actually moved even though the Bible said that it did not. Even a century later Galileo was placed in jail and house arrest for saying Copernicus was correct.
You are in jail because the truths that your senses signal to you is that they/you have been hurt. It’s because you used illegal substances to deal with the hurt and that got you into trouble with the law. Now, you are learning something more reasonable, how to let higher power in nature help you deal with the hurt in a legal way.
Nature can heal the injuries to your psyche in the same way that it heals a scraped knee. It takes time and sometimes it leaves a scar. Nature sometimes can’t change the scar, but in a group such as this one, as you support each other in this work, your supportive, shared thoughts, feelings and experiences become replacements for the scars in each other. In this way you become part of each other’s lives as you commune and communicate. You become community and this brings happiness to your natural sense of Community. This means that each of you holds or is a key for others to connect with 54 natural senses that you and they have in common. The more you do this for each other, the better off you all are. That’s why sharing Validations is attractive and so important to all.
A Monumental Warranty
What is different and significant about what I’m teaching you here is that it comes with a Warranty (Appendix A, 20). It guarantees that the key information in my Project NatureConnect (PNC) program is indisputable, felt-sense, scientific fact that is not corrupt and that does not corrupt, until proven otherwise. You can trust it as much as you can trust that there are fish in the sea.
It is just like your immediate sensory experiences that we have just explored are true facts for you. They didn't corrupt you or anything else and they were rewarding. That’s the opposite of using some of the “facts” that govern Industrial Society.
I think we have come to a point where we can Validate that it is reasonable and valuable to explore, discover and think with facts that we know are true because we experience them, again like the fact that you can hear the sound of my voice, and not let other influences corrupt this fact. So now let us ask each other this: how much money would it take to have any of you say that you can’t hear my voice, or any voice, when you actually can?
Let’s say that Steve, here, is going to give me a million dollars (big laugh), yes a million dollars to say that I can’t hear his voice when I know I can and so do you. I’d take the money, here, because we all are aware of an additional fact, we all know what I’ve said is not true. I’d be acting so I can have the money. But if we did not know I was playing a role and I was paid to say that I could not hear when actually I could, that would be a corruption of my personal truth and a breach of trust and community that could cause trouble….for example, you might say things aloud that you did not want me to know because you were misled to believe that I could not hear your voice. You’d be at risk with respect to what I did with the information I actually heard. Steve would have bought and owned my personal truth as well as misled you for his purposes. How else do you think he got the million dollars, (big laugh). That’s corrupt. It’s also the way many parts of Industrial Society operate. They pay us or otherwise reward us to be unreasonable, we lose our integrity and, feeling bad, we tranquilize ourselves or become excessive to relieve the discomfort or to get into feeling better. As we find this works and is rewarding, we addict to doing it. We also addict to knowingly becoming addicted and/or making money by selling addictive substances. Meanwhile, we have given our power and integrity to those who are corrupting us, a destructive vicious circle. Tom Lehrer joked about living this way, “Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends upon what you put into it.”
Antidote for Corruption
What I will teach you today is how to put Nature as organic higher power into the sewer part of your mind, to compost its contamination and recycle it into its natural purity. Nature does this all the time, its how Nature works. I will give you the ability to use Nature, including your natural senses, as a trustable and rewarding means to gain satisfaction in ways that benefit all, including Nature. It works because the process also helps you determine if what I teach is true and has value for you. You can fully experience, consider and Validate it, just as we have done here today. Remember, even its side effects are beneficial.
This reminds me of when I was a child and a magician visited our elementary school. He explained in his show that he was going to perform a miracle: 'Miraculously, I am going to make something from nothing,' he said. He first rolled up his sleeves, then opened wide both his hands and twisted them so we could see them, back and front. He asked us if we recognized that that they were bare and empty. We agreed. They were. No doubt about it. The others and I, including our teacher, saw this with our own eyes.
Then came the miracle. Out of nothing, there came something. The magician made a loose fist with one hand and with the other hand he pulled from his fist many scarves of different colors. While he was doing this he repeated, 'You see, I have the power to make the impossible happen."
We all believed his story. Why not? We experienced it, we saw it. Validate. The magician said he could perform magic, why should we not believe him? He certainly didn't lie, he did what he said he would and could do. This built and established our trust in him.
Sight, Sound and understanding stories, our Literacy, are just a few of the 54 natural senses that our body and spirit inherit in order to register the world around and in us (Appendix E , 6). If the magician's label or story had been honest, or had his integrity invited us to come closer or touch and feel his hands, we would have known what we needed to know about his ‘miracle.’ Our senses would have been able to register that he was deceiving us. He would not have corrupted our thinking into trusting him.
About sixty years later I became aware of the magician's secret. He had an imitation, hollow plastic thumb placed over his real thumb and he knew we didn't know this. Inside the hollow plastic thumb there was space enough to hide the scarves. So, while his fake-thumb was buried in his fist he pulled his real thumb out from its plastic cover. With his other hand he took the scarves out of the plastic thumb shell while telling us corrupt and deceptive stories about his miraculous powers and empty hands.
Why did the Magician mislead us innocent youngsters? Because he was paid to do it or he liked to do it, it gave him notoriety or power as a professional magician. Somehow it was attractive and rewarding.
Fooling people is how magicians make money and gain prestige. It is entertainment as well as a way the economy works to satisfy our need for entertainment, be we magicians or their audience.
As long as I trusted the magician's label or story I did not get all the facts that I needed. He did nothing to help me as a child think he was a fabricator or help me figure out his use of a fake thumb. He did not encourage me to "impolitely" not trust his word or demonstration, to demand that he let me fully experience his hands through ‘transparency,’ through my 54 inherent sensory ways of knowing.
As a consequence of the Magician withholding information and misleading me, I ended up believing in magic. I don’t believe in magic any more, not even Magic Johnson. What I believe is that reasonable, whole life, self-evident experience is the best teacher and that scientific research supports my multi-sensory experiences with nature. This is something that happened in my life. Validate. As I describe in my book Educating, Counseling and Healing With Nature, I stuck with these facts and have used them to achieve Ph.D’s as well as develop books and courses that help folks use the facts effectively (1). Validate.
There is one more truth we must put on the list before we continue any further.” I said. “Do you remember, think, feel or sense, that some individual made you study how to sense and feel. Did somebody teach you, or make you read a book about how to do it? Or do you think, instead, that you inherited your sensing and feeling ability in your genetic makeup, that it is part of your natural self in the same way that you nose, eyes or ears are inherently parts of you, parts that give you the ability to register the world directly, in a felt-sense, non-story, pure truth, way?”
Soon, the group participants agreed that they were born with their ability to register sensations, that it was genetic to have an immediate, natural, felt-sense way of knowing unadulterated facts about life and their lives, Validate.”
The Hidden Obvious
10:24 AM. “Let me share more about myself with you” I said, “I suffered similar corrupting childhood trespasses and injuries to yours, in fact most everybody has in some form since our society is teeming with corruption. However, as you can see, I’m not in jail, or homeless, or on welfare, or substance addicted so what I’ve learned and done will be helpful to you if you use it.
Now, I am going to complete my original opening sentence:
My name is Mike and I have two bodies,” I offered. Most of the group looked surprised. I continued, “Planet Earth is my non-literate other body. I know this is true because when I think about who or what I would be without my other body, Earth, I feel the pain of loss, anguish and despair. These sensations tell me that Earth is my other body is true for me because its loss registers in my senses and it hurts when I experience its removal from me in my imagination, or in reality. This is not a hallucination. It is a fact for me because, like we just did, I long ago validated that felt-senses that I experienced were my personal truths. The more I think about what it means to not having Earth as my other body, the worse I feel. I also experience this in reality if I separate from my ‘other body’ by holding my breath for a long period of time. I feel the pain, I’m painfully sure I’m losing contact with the Planet’s air. This discomfort is true for many other separations and sensations such as thirst, hunger, place, community, beauty, reason and gravity. I am aware that this is true for other animals and plants, too (21). For this reason Earth being our other body (Other Body) is included in my PNC Warranty to the world because I experienced it, as have many other people (20). Validate (after first taking a few "get real" slow and deep "Earth-Connecting" breaths)
Now each of you think about the dance of Earth being your other body. Try it out. What do you think and feel when you imagine being yourself right now minus your other body, Earth including your natural senses like Hunger, Breathing or Sex Awareness being taken away from who you are?" Most of the participants recognized that, like myself, this would leave them hurt, spinning and bewildered. Earth was obviously their other body. Some held their breath until they felt the pain from the air-disconnection they choose to explore.
"Now, lets take 5 minutes to walk through the natural area outside slowly while looking around and continually repeating to yourself ‘I’m walking through my Other Body.' What occurs? What benefits do you sense and feel? Is this a reasonable thing to do.’
Upon our return, most felt refreshed and it did not take much time or discussion for the participants to acknowledge that I was not crazy, that not only was Earth my other body,
it was their other body, also. They, too, could feel the pain of its loss, of missing its refreshment, from just the thought of it being taken away, Earth being our other body had to be reasonable. It was as if we were all conscious that every aspect of Earth was dancing its cycles through, in and around us: air, water, food, gravity, temperature, balance, changes, life, people and beauty along with our ability to sense them. We belonged. We felt-
sensed from each other and ourselves that biologically we and Earth were really one body, Validate and that this was also part of the PNC Warranty.
One participant upon return shared that he did not experience Earth as his other body, that he was whole onto himself and to everything he did or sensed as an organism was within his own natural genetics and personhood, so his whole body was all he had or needed. I agreed that what he said made sense and then added in exaggeration, “In fact, your body can and has done this so well that you have taught or given the body of a dog or mouse these same living organism abilities that you have, sight, hearing, reacting, hunger. How did you do that, and if you didn’t, who or what did?” Slowly a glazed look came over his eyes, they almost crossed and he replied, “Oh, I see what you are getting at.” I continued teasing him, “How does you body create the genetic makeup of the Dog, or the rest of life.” “I get it,” he responded, “Yes, I can see that Earth is my “Other Body, wow, it makes sense now. I can’t wait to see what happens next time I try the activity outside”
ECHN empowers you to act from these classic observations:
"What greater grief than the loss of one's native land."
- Euripides circa 450 B.C.
"Ishi, (the last hunter-gather Native American) was sure he knew the cause of our discontent. It stemmed from an excessive amount of indoor time. 'It is not a man's nature to be too much indoors." - Theodora Kroeber circa 1965
The result of the activity and its discussion was that we confirmed what we discovered by going around the room and having each person state their name and then add that they had another body, that it was Planet Earth and how that felt. “My name is Charley and Earth is my other body. I know this is true for me because I feel reasonable and happy when I experience it.” A Validate by the group that helped us became aware that we all know Earth as our other body followed this. We said, “We all hold in common that Earth is our other body” We knew this was true for us because we had experienced it, unedited, directly through our senses. It made sense to both our bodies. It also made sense because it was not an LSD or other drug induced illusion or dependency with harmful side effects. This common experience unified the group to some extent; they began to help each other increase the health of their individual and collective Other Body while vowing to defend it from injury by the conquering and exploitive ways of Industrial Society.
In summary, I asked them "Isn't the Divine everywhere, can't the nature of your Other Body be your higher power in your 12-step program?"
ECHN empowers you to act from these classic observations:
"Although each particular thing be conditioned by another particular thing to exist in a given way, yet the force whereby each particular thing perseveres in existing follows from the eternal necessity of God's nature."
- Baruch Spinoza circa 1651
"We belong to the ground. It is our power and we must stay close to it or maybe we will get lost.”
- Aborigine (Jennifer Isaacs) circa unknown.
When is Nature?
10:30 AM “So,” I said, “Let me ask you a key question that I’m positive you can answer because you have experienced it as part of your contact with nature. Ready? ‘WHEN is, or was, your Other Body?’ “
Most said they did not understand the question, others remembered good experiences they had in nature and said they now could see that their Other Body was in and part of those experiences. To them I replied, ‘When is or was that happening?’ and they gave an approximate date, often in early childhood.
I said, “Think about this: the only answer to the question of ‘when’ is your other body is ‘Now.’ You see, what happened
in the past no longer exists, it is a memory, a story that you are experiencing in the present, in the immediate moment, and similarly, your Other Body is here, now,too. It and its sensory abilities help your two bodies experience that memory of the past in the singular present. In this way the two are unified as one single point in time. So, in this sense, everything you do or have
done only exists in the present. The past and future are simply stories, true or false, about those different times and places, but the stories only exist and are registered by you in the present, in the Now of life. Why is this? Because the dance of all
of nature and the universe only exist in the Now, and this includes you and your ability to experience and Validate them since you are part of them. Significantly, in addition, the only time you can influence or change the world or yourself, or Validate, is also in the Now. You, along with your Other Body, your stories and desires, only exist in the Now. In fact, scientists say that Nature is continually creating time and space so we are all part of creation.
What’s important to see is that your Other Body is only available to you in the present because that’s the only time it exists. If you want its companionship or help, you must include it in what you sense, think, feel and do because, again, all things are simultaneous, we all only exist in the Now. Think about it. The Now is the only time your life dances and that you have access to higher power. So if you want Nature or your Other Body in yourself and others to help your recovery, you need to make sure your past and present experiences with them are part of the immediate ‘higher power’ that you turn to.
The greatest thing you can trust in your life is not God, love, honesty or nature. The greatest trustable truth is what you sense and feel in any given moment, in the ‘Now’ of life, like you can hear my voice or see me. Validate.
I emphasize the importance of the Now to you because, due to our education and socialization, on average, 99.9 percent of the time we spend thinking and feeling in the Now is disconnected from, and out of tune with, Nature and your Other Body. Our institutions (Appendix C) teach us to spend, on average, over 95 percent of our time indoors, separated from our Other Body and it’s amazing wisdom that is also ours when we have access to it and use it. That access, too, can only happen in the Now. It’s what makes what we sense and feel in the moment true for ourselves. It explains why we can reduce our stress and feel happier from just a short quiet visit to a natural area. Then, without even knowing it, we are making unadulterated sensory Now contact with our Other Body’s dance of the eons.
Think of it this way if it helps, the next layer of your body is the over 100 microorganism, web-of-life species that live on your skin. Then the next layer of you is the air, for you live in, not on, our planet as I have warrantied.
For my own part, I know I have two bodies because they continually tell me so since a day in 1965 when my years of outdoor experiences reached me fully. They convinced me that there was nothing that I did that Planet Earth did not also do, that if I was a living organism, it was, too, and I was a like a cell in it (Appendix F, 7). We were the singularity of the dance of one living, diverse Being, moment by moment, and I was part of its diversity.
It became obvious to me that the hurt of my childhood in 1936 was discomfort caused by the assault of Earth, my other body, by our unchecked stories of conquest and excessive exploitation of it. I watched as that pain drove and had driven some of my friends and their parents to substance abuse. My family avoided this discomfort to some extent simply because we were "addicted" to getting fulfillment from contact with nature and its values, in and about us and our friends. To my parents, that made sense so they chose to live in an experimental New York City "utopian garden community" developed by Eleanor Roosevelt and Louis Mumford in 1925. Even then, the pain injured my relationship with my Mother and the relationship never fully recovered.
Today, the only thing that makes me into two bodies is my thinking and feeling when it entertains a false story that says that the dance that Earth's life dances and the dance that my life dances, are different. They are not. The two dances are part of the total, whole, Dance of Life. They are each a variation of it but identical, they feed it and each other, one through nature-connected literacy, the other (Earth) in non-literate ways.
The dance of the Other Body of another person is also my dance and we relate with love, care and support when we find each other as dancers.
When I ask myself who or what would I be if my other body, Earth, was taken away from me, the answer is that I would be an illusion (2). I would be my attachment to a false story that says we and our Other Body, Earth, are different. I'd be just my name and my thoughts and voice talking to themselves because what makes Earth and me 'two different things' is that I let that incorrect “difference” story influence my thinking and feelings. In other words, I'd be a false story and words alone. I'd be a no-body instead of a two-body that is me, my singular dance of Earth, a beautiful and wise unity (8).
My “logic” for all this is that I sense for sure that time and space are attractive parts of this Universe, which is Nature. This means that if I’m seeking higher power in Nature, as the saying goes: “There’s no time (and space) like the present”
ECHN empowers you to act from these classic observations:
"This earth which is spread out like a map around is but the lining of my inmost soul exposed."Now, lets take 5 minutes to visit our Other Body, the natural area outside, and ride it like the crest of a wave through time and space because that’s what it is. We will cancel our out-of-the moment stories by continually repeating ‘I’m experiencing my Other Body in this moment.” What occurs? What happens if you also repeat 'Unity'. What benefits do you sense or feel? Keep in mind that you are making them happen because you choose to participate in this higher power, Other Body, connection activity. You are part of it. In addition, you know you can always choose to benefit from this activity again and again. That would make your attraction to do this activity your higher power in action."
- Henry David Thoreau circa 1850
"I want to blend with the hills, shrink into them and finally disappear in them. All of nature is in us, all of us is in nature. That is as it should be.”
- Pete Catches, Sioux medicine man, circa 1985
ECHN empowers you to act from this classic observation:
"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." - Maurice Strong circa 1989
Our Natural Self: Living With our Other Body
We are biologically born to live in tribal wilderness communities and we are genetically compatible with their citizens today. In general, within these nature-based cultures the average primitive is competent and organic in nearly every activity his tribe and family engage in. He or she is an expert hunter or gatherer, a keen observer of nature, a craftsman who can make a kit bag of tools and weapons, a herder who knows the habits and needs of cattle and a direct participant in a variety of tribal rituals and ceremonies. He is likely to be well versed in the legends, tales, and proverbs of his people, more so than most of us. He participates more fully and directly in the whole of life as an actively participating, complete person, not mediated, not vicariously or as a consumer. Most of his natural senses are engaged and satisfied by producing the happiness of survival in balance.
In contrast to the "primitive," few of us are competent in organics, much less expert at more than a few activities that contribute to the functioning of our mass artificial society. We are dependent and skilled in media stories, not real life organic relationships. To make things worse, as technologies become more complex and society increasingly fragmented, we become less self-sufficient with reduced self-worth or esteem. We have lost our ancestral knowledge and confidence of how to survive in balance in the Earth so a prejudice against and fear of nature as death lies at the base of our “civilized” psyches. We learn to ignore nature as our caring mother Earth, our greatest life-support, Other Body friend. Our transition from nomadic foraging in new habitats to agricultural and technological civilizations that artificially imitate the life-supportive tropics constitute the original displacement, dispossession and alienation of people from their unifying survival base accompanied by the inequality of women. We have lost leisure time, natural birth control, intimate decision-making, appropriate material goods, a sense of global community and joining together for food gathering and ceremonies rather than warring against other groups that often included relatives. The sensory disassociation and frustration from these hurtful losses underlies our disorders.
Our experts and leaders inform us about these problems but seldom give us a tool or process that helps us solve them. This explains the urgent need for nature reconnecting activities. We presently pay ourselves to addictively build and live in a socially and environmentally destructive shoe that does not fit us. The more we do this, the more painful the shoe becomes. We have a great need to simultaneously learn to think like nature works, overcome our addictions and make organic shoes. This book/course and its activities begin the process of fulfilling the need. It is continued via additional Project NatureConnect training, certification and degree programs
An Additional Other Body Activity (Optional: time and interest
The words ‘psyche’ and ‘spirit’ are ancient names for air. Green plants produce oxygen, the part of air that we breathe, the part that sustains our lives.
Air is a product and part of our Other Body, Earth and so is our sensory desire to breathe. We call the breathing process and feeling Respiration, meaning re-spiriting (21).
Approach an attractive green plant in this area and have your sense of Consciousness tell yourself to stop breathing. Then actually stop breathing as its verbal command has requested. This disconnects an important part of you from your Other Body. Notice the disruptive natural feeling of suffocation (#25 pain) that shortly comes into play and intelligently asks you to reconnect by breathing again.
Only allow yourself to start breathing again by holding onto or embracing part of the plant because it produces the oxygen you need for survival. This lets your Other Body natural senses feelingly bring to your story-brain consciousness and sense of appreciation that the plant supports you. Notice the rewarding feeling from your natural sense of Respiration being fulfilled.
Release the plant, stop breathing and see what happens as you walk further. Continue repeating this activity with other plants to continue learning from it.
Remember that our relationship with our Other Body is balanced and fair, for example, as we breathe the oxygen it makes, it breathes the carbon di-oxide that we make.
The Remaining three hours of this workshop are experience based and described in the book Certified Organic: Nature as Higher Power Visit, call or Skype Mike Cohen for the experience. The remaining chapters of the book empower its readers to validate for themselves the provisions of the PNC Warranty and proceed with the Orientation Course.
Read the unprecedented results of this group completing the workshop and then doing the Orientation Course for four hours once a week for eight weeks and counting (August 2013).
The substance of the workshop experience has been described in Cohen's book Educating Counseling and Healing With Nature (ECHN), the article "The Magic of Something From Nothing" and other PNC books, web pages and online course responses that increase personal, social and environmental wellness. However, just reading about the experience rather than being it and sharing it first hand with Dr. Cohen are not the same. Taking the PNC Orientation Course online is the best alternative if you can't visit. Often its a requirement before you visit.
There are 160 Other Body connection activities that help us habitually re-connect 160 disconnections from nature and help think like the perfections of our Other Body work. Each resemble playing "Hide and Seek" and validating what is discovered about our ourselves as our Other Body. All one needs to do is choose to learn, use and teach these activities and VALIDATE your truths as you find them.
Visit the many links at our Survey of Participants to view the results of ECHN
Enjoy further information about Organic Psychology and Natural Attraction Ecology:
- Key Page Index<http://www.ecopsych.com/annotatedpages.html>
- Publishable Article<http://www.ecopsych.com/hallucinatearticle.html>
- Process Synopsis<http://www.ecopsych.com/transformation.html>
- Fundamentals <http://www.ecopsych.com/mjcohen22.html>
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War On Terrorism
Body Mind Spirit
Attention Deficit Disorders
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Readily available, online, organic psychology tools for the health of person,
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APPLIED ECOPSYCHOLOGY IN ACTION
The Natural Systems Thinking Process
Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director
All programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the book
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