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The Restoration of Our Integrity:

Nature-Connected Meditation Techniques
Nature connected meditation procedures help us gain deeper reflection, inspiration and healing

Project NatureConnect
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington, USA
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Practical distance learning to strengthen meditation and happiness


This page describes funded natural sensory science in action,  an organic psychology 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
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The Restoration of Our Integrity:

Nature-Connected Meditation Techniques

Michael J. Cohen


Attracted to the joyful chorus of spring peeper frogs as they sang their praises to this chilly March night (4), I sought their consent to help me express a compelling reason for adding a nature reconnecting component to the practice of meditation (14). As if in response to my request they sang more attractively and I felt this meant they agreed to participate. I let my mind drift with their music and the bright stars to see what might come to mind . Here are those thoughts and experiences.

"I and the frogs are alike in many respects, citizens of our global community and living planet (1). One difference is that I'm like a frog from a group of eggs that ware washed into a well. I was born and raised living in that hole. That's quite the opposite of living in a countryside pond, like these little singing folks. My "well life" is actually a disease that has me in a hole so I'm unwhole. My unholy surroundings have trained me to be content and protective of my cut off, limited environment and relationships in the well bottom (6). "

I didn't fully divest myself of my nature disconnected life and fully commit to come out of the well until my thirtieth birthday.

A story about a family in good health in Maine comes to mind. They could not get a permit to extend their house because their property did not meet the building code. Their problem, said the Health Department, was that their septic tank had long ago been installed too close to their well. That was now illegal . So they fixed the problem with the Health Department's assistance. At great expense they moved the septic tank to the other side of the house.
Soon another problem arose. The well went dry.

Like myself, most of us are unknowingly born and raised in the environment of a nature-separated, polluted, well (shouldn't it therefore be called a sick?). It's all we know so we think the problems we face are normal. This is little different than a frog living at the bottom of a well and thinking that the sky is a plate. That makes perfect sense to the frog. From the bottom of a well, it sees the sky as a small round sometimes light, sometimes dark, circle above it. Although this error in interpretation might bring little harm to the frog, if we contemporary people thought the sky was a plate it would further corrupt our thinking. It would also further corrupt our relationships with the world and each other (13).

- Our explanation for where water and air came from would be wrong.

- The value of the wind, landscape and ocean would be unknown to us.

- Thoughts of Earth and Nature's balance and beauty might be considered a form of insanity.

- We would have a corrupt view of how the world worked and would relate to each other accordingly. For example, the goal of our society might be to train frog slaves to be strong enough to throw garbage out of the well so the slave owners could own more toys.

This is not just idle imagination. There are well known, profound, often lasting, effects upon organisms, including people, that live in nature-separated places. Limited sensory stimulation there de-energizes many natural growth and relationship sensitivities. Animals in caves lose the ability to produce pigment in their skin and eyes. Children brought up in a closet often die when removed from it. Healthy young people subjected to sensory deprivation (blindfolded, ears sealed, immersed into luke warm water, etc.) develop hallucinations and delusions and lose their sense of who they are after a few hours. People living in canyons have distorted long distance perception (8).

Most of us spend our lives, womb to tomb, in a psychological and spiritual "well." It consists of cultural ways of thinking that excessively separate us from the natural world (9). On average, over 95% of our time and 99.9% of our thinking is sensuously disconnected from Nature. We describe this sensory dismemberment of our ourselves from our Earth Mother along with its associated problems and suffering, as "normal," "progress," and "excellence in education" rather than "desensitizing psychological and spiritual dismemberment (2)."

Our minds, hearts and consciousness are out of tune with the natural systems that operate the world, even though we are part of these systems. Our Nature disconnected everyday environment and its ways additively attach and mold us to its disconnected ways by rewarding us with survival and immediate perks. For example:

  • You perceive the words you are now reading but seldom perceive the the individual letters that form them. However, as a child, it was the letters that were important. Now that I've brought this to your attention you can see the letters, but before long, the words will addictively dominate again.
  • If I ask you what do you see that's very important to you as you read this sentence, how long would it be before you mentioned your nose? You always see your nose; isn't it important?
  • Did you notice the word "the" was doubled in the first button sentence above or did you overlook it because you have learned, like your nose, to take "the" for granted?

We are not immune to our surroundings; our environment molds us into who we are. If you live in the illusion that you are "The captain of your fate and master of your soul," decide to hold your breath for ten minutes, Captain. You'll soon discover something else is in charge. Or consider this experiment: people played a card game in which they randomly selected cards. They were paid a dollar reward whenever they received a card with the Figure 1 image below. They forfeited a dollar whenever they received the Figure 2 image-card .

    ........... ...........,,,,,,, ..,,,,,,,,,,........

......../////..Figure 1 ..............................................Figure 2

After an extended period, the players were shown Figure 3 below. Most of them easily recognized Figure 1, the money winning figure but Figure 2 was often very difficult for them to perceive.

    ...................................Figure 3:

    ....xz..........((Fig .1.....Fig. 2

    With respect to this example on average contemporary people spend less than twelve hours per total lifetime rewarded by life for being genuinely in tune with Nature, with our origins in its demonstrated biological and psychological perfection. Thus Nature is Figure 2 and the extreme number of hours of our disconnection overwhelms our ability to think freely. Similar to brainwashing, it fixates us on our nature estranged ways of thinking and relating. Is it any wonder then that most of us are in denial, that we deny that we are addicted to our nature destructive ways of thinking and relating, deny that we should treat them as addictions if we want to change them? As Upton Sinclair observed "It is difficult to get people to understand something when their salary depends upon them not understanding it" (6).

    When you swim for a long time in a sea of pollutants, they pollute you and your every thought, including those about how to escape or change your situation. It pollutes the value of swimming in an unpolluted sea, of getting out of the well when possible. This is similar to a broken computer not being able to repair itself no matter how smart it is.

Increasing Awareness
By far the best way to judge the value of any way of knowing or relating is by noting its short and long term effects(10). Quite obviously, while we have made great strides in furthering some aspects of our nature-disconnected, down-in-the-well society, the destructive effects of our continued disconnection on the environment and people leaves much to be desired. This holds just as true for people who meditate as for those who don't. As did the healthy well owners in Maine, through meditation, some of us wisely make ourselves less vulnerable to our nature disconnected society and its discontents. However our contamination largely remains intact; for some meditators it actually increases. Their meditation success helps them become stronger and more powerful. They may then, with pride and applause, drive a Cadillac when a bicycle would do, or pat themselves on the back for living a cloistered life in a polluted world.

By definition, nature disconnection immediately subsides when you choose to add a nature connecting component to your meditative practice. The connection automatically enables you to intentionally uplift yourself to out of the well. Then you meditate where the peace produced by eons of the balanced, diverse, attractions and integrity of the sun, sky and landscape touches you and helps brighten your thinking. You benefit and grow accordingly, in conscious, sensuous thankfulness for Nature's contribution because it feels attractive and right. Your thinking becomes unmistakably aware of the value of reconnecting, of removing yourself and others from the shortcomings of polluted, isolated life in the well (5). The availability of nature connecting activities enables anyone to make this choice.

The effects of living in the well long ago made me hard of hearing. Yes, I can still hear the Spring Peepers but I've become deaf to the ideas, stories and relationships of most contemporary thinkers. I'm too aware that these products usually come from the polluted minds of nature-disconnected folks whose thought process has been contaminated by living too long in the disconnected hole we daily dig deeper. Sadly I am also deaf to some folks I know who meditate. My suggestion that they might simply add a genuine nature connecting component to their meditation practice seems as foreign to them as to anybody else (11). Sometimes it seems even more foreign because they think they already have an answer in disconnected meditation, so why change a good thing? Regretfully, there is then nothing more I can say. I retreat with my good wishes for them and an inner hope that authentic nature will do the best it can do for itself as they meditate. Some won't even believe that a readily available science that enables us to genuinely reconnect our thinking with Nature is possible, no less exists(2). To learn how to use it is unthinkable to them. Sometimes it takes extra motivation like mid-life crises to extend their thinking in this regard.

A Confession:
Truth to tell, I was motivated to write this discourse only because some of the students in my nature-connected outdoor programs have shared with me that they gave up meditating while on the program(12). They said meditation there felt superfluous, it pulled them away from things that assumed more importance, things that happened while they were in greater contact with Nature in the environment, each other and themselves. I've also heard this from folks regarding their religious beliefs, too. Perhaps nature connected meditation offers greater peace and therefore a soulution (sic) to the strife in the Middle East and the other fifty wars being fought that we seldom hear about. Each can be seen as the effects of disconnection, of a war that rages within us as we excessively estrange ourselves from our global life community (6).

A Note From the Pond
In daylight I returned to the pond just now to discover if anything else there wanted to be said. A wild goose with an arrow through its neck met me at the pond entrance. The arrow stuck out from both sides of its neck and banged noisily against its wings as it took to flight. It deeply saddened me. A local gardener, upon hearing about the goose, expressed her disgust:. "It's terrible what some people will do," she said to me as she to me while she was applying weed killing chemicals to her lawn.

If the purpose of meditation is to become conscious of the cosmos, to know ourselves to be a part of it and realize our unity with all of it, are we not injured like the goose or ecosystem if our meditation is restricted in reality to the isolated well-bottom and does not include the means for authentic Nature to speak for itself? Sunlight, soil, water and air systems are vital, active, supportive parts of our origins and daily being, including our consciousness. To realize our unity with all, shouldn't we include them by tearing down the well walls within and around us that separate us from the true Nature of the cosmos and ourselves? Won't we benefit by using a newly researched social technology to connect with Nature as part of meditating(7)? The very least you can do is learn how to ask the Cosmos to help you answer this question(14). Maybe a pond, some Spring Peepers, a goose and neighbor will then be of service to you in this regard.

Consider the state of the world, its people and ecosystems and you can conclude that our thinking regarding Nature has become traumatically amputated, desensitized and bewildered (meaning removed from wilderness) (3). Is this why most people ignore the suggestion that we include nature connecting activities as part of our practice of meditation(4)?

Have we become like the Professor who wanted to learn the effects on a frog's performance from the loss of a limb? To determine this, first he measured how far a frog could jump when he frightened it by shouting. Then, in the name of science, he cut off one of its legs, shouted, and measured its jumping ability, noting it was less. Scientifically trained to be oblivious to the pain, morality and ethics involved, he repeated this experiment three additional times, each time removing another leg. Then he shouted at the poor limbless frog to jump yet again. Noting that it did not jump, he concluded that removing all of a frogs legs made it deaf.

Is this not similar to how we have become deaf to Nature's non-verbal ways? Are we not injured? Is it not time to reconnect (7)?

Genuinely connect your meditative practice with Nature and note the effects. Most people obtain greater benefits.

"My how my mind does chatter with words that can mislead me. When I make contact with nature and think with nature's intelligence, it guides me with a wisdom that helps me keep in balance. The contact is non-verbal because nature does not communicate with words. As I worked through the Introductory Course, I began to use the RWN book's methodology to quiet my mind. As I went through the activities I began to sense a subtle, but perceptible, shift in my ability to attain a non-verbal awareness. Then one day, as I was doing one of the activities that asks us to unify the verbal mind with Nature, I suddenly connected, WHAM, there it was - non-verbal awareness. No naming, no concepts, just being with Nature's wholeness. What a relief! It didn't last long but it did change my life. Since then I have extended my abilities to just be. Now my "mind chatter" is only a murmur when I ask it to be. This has opened up experiences so far beyond anything I even dreamed of a few years ago."




Best Nature-Connecting Meditation Link: The Web of Life Imperative



1. Can you validate the truth of a personal connecting experience?...naturelov30thank.html

2. Questions and responses from reviewed articles and research...references.html

3. An update on the state of Planet Earth ...zombie2.html

4. The secrets of connecting with Nature ...ttrailattract.html

5. The results of connecting with Nature...survey.html

6. Putting knowledge into practice...psychart.html

7. The best way to learn: an online practicum in connecting with Nature....orient.html

8. Acting sensibly about a critical disconnection ...karen.html

9. Have you retained your ecosensory IQ; do you use it?...i q.html

10. The results of nature disconnected consciousness ...globalview.html

11. A free introductory course you can take online...gift.html

12. Nature connected degree programs and courses...degree.html

13. Applying Ecopsychology to deal with our denial zttheory.html

14. Global wellness and unity: obtaining conscious consent to belongztnstpactivity.html





Special NGO consultant United Nations Economic and Social Council


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The Natural Systems Thinking Process

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All programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the books
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