"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)











We seldom live and think organically. Most of us unnecessarily suffer from Natural System Dysfunction (NSD) because we live excessively nature separated lives. Over 95 percent of our time is spent indoors. Over 99 Percent of of thinking is out of tune with the restorative workings of natural systems within and around us. Fortunately, Organic Psychology enables us to reverse this disorder

..- Michael J. Cohen
.. .Author: Web of Life Imperative










"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."
-Stephen Aizenstat











"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."
-Mahatma Gandhi











"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











"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











"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










"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










"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
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










"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











"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











"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."
-Jimmy Carter















  Friends of Natural Systems: online disorder healing education for Natural System Dysfunction (NSD)
The Organic Psychology antidote in action


Special NGO Consultant, United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO)

Friends of Natural Systems
Natural System Dysfunction (NSD) and Education to Heal its Disorders



Examples of the effects of Natural System Dysfunction (NSD) and overcoming them through Organic Psychology Activities


"Any disorder is a condition in which there is a mental, physical, or psychological disturbance of normal functioning; one that perturbs us, makes our psyche uneasy or causes us undue distress, worry or alarm.

But, something, somewhere within each of us is hope. Hope recognizes that our thinking is our destiny. It also knows that if the unthoughtful separation of our consciousness from the ways of natural systems produces and sustains many disorders, it makes perfect sense that the genuine reconnection of our natural senses to the grace, balance and restorative powers of natural systems will powerfully help us reverse our troubles."

- Michael J. Cohen

Sleep and Sense of Self

"I thought late last year of changing my life in regards to living simpler and rented my house in town to friends and have been living out on my property in the woods with man, daughter and dog since January. I totally love it. When we had a cyclone out there in February, there was nothing as far as possessions or power to blow away... lots of trees down yet mostly very exciting and a good late summer clean up of all things. Our biggest concern was being with each other, dog included as the weather passed.

I especially have noticed that I am now stronger in my sense of who I am in relationship to the social paradigm that I work in and deal with. From this stronger sense of living outdoors self I have had way more energy for my work, and an identification of non-attractions clearly and faster. I sleep better... much better - I bath outdoors - I talk with birds in the morning while preparing breakfast and I have access to usual computer stuff in my house in town when I want it.

I recommend making the change, simplify and grow stronger."

Ecopsycholgy Student, Project NatureConnect


Isolation, the Lack of Belonging and Peace

"As I reflect back upon my experience in nature I am filled with a deep sense of reverence for the earth and profoundly touched by my connection to all beings. I feel that these formative experiences have become a core part of what moves me and motivate me to pursue work in Environmental Education.

"I most deeply know the peace and joy of solitude when I open up to my connection with nature's essence. Doing so then enriches my connection to the important people in my life and gives me balance between connection and aloneness."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect  



Reduction in Conflict

"At twilight, we all gathered wood together and built a fire. The conversations we had around the campfire in the great outdoors facilitated family connectedness and much deeper sharing them any we had indoors. In fact, we seemed to "work" so well overall as a family while spending time outdoors together. There was an absence of conflict or tension, replaced with harmony and love for each other expressing itself. I am grateful for those magnificent nature filled days of my youth. They have created a wonderful foundation on which I now stand as an adult who greatly values the natural world."

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect



Hidden Stress Shift

My attraction in this activity is my love for my parrot as a natural system and how much he teaches me everyday.

The natural systems in me that the parrot touched say: "I love myself (this parrot) because I am an amazing creation of life, the hidden colors in my feathers offer a vibrancy that fills the heart and captures the eye, I remain light in life so that I can spread my wings and take off at any given time, I see into the worlds that I dream of, I go after my prey with precision and accuracy, I turn away from things that are not best , I laugh and carry on when the stress gets high - looking at the world with an attitude of non attachment and joy I have an inert intelligence that shines through as you watch me go about daily tasks, I love to cuddle, yet at the same time will let you know when not in the mood, I am content and can amuse myself whether in a group alone." 

As I did this exercise - what occurred to me how stressed I have been over the last several months and had been hiding that stress. If I did not start to enjoy my life and let go I would soon loose the beautiful color of my wings and the ability to fly and see with the vision of an eagle. Becoming aware of these things in my life I immediately felt a shift in my energy, becoming lighter and full of energy.

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect



Tension Release

I had recognized that the day I stopped at the river overlook was a significant point in my life. That day, I told my wife we were not going to behave as we had in the past.

A significant, stress filled event had crashed into our lives, which naggingly lingered. One that left my body filled with a constant sensation of tension. I felt certain that breaking our normal pattern of behavior and being still in nature would help release this stress. I wanted to restore the calm I knew as a child, whenever I stepped into the woods. 

The first 30 minutes at the overlook was rough. For a while, I felt awkward, but I kept telling myself to hang in there a just little longer.  Eventually I felt the breeze rise up from the river, brush across my face, and fill my head. I let it go with a sigh. Shortly after, the birds began to play around the shrubs and trees, and the ground squirrels came out to bask in the sun, along with the flowers.  People and cars came and went, but we continued to stay. Suddenly Debby, let out, "There's a moose!" It paused, at the river's edge below, to listen to her exclamation.

A few hours later, after regaining a hint of the calm I once knew as a child, we left. And I still continue to pause in the woods.

Inquirer, Project NatureConnect



Trust and Feeling Loved

Within seconds of arriving, a small spot on the water began to glow orange and before my eyes it spread and spread until a small arc of the sun itself rose straight out of the water. It only took about two or three minutes and the sun was fully out. I welled up at the magnitude and the beauty and the silent simplicity. I felt blessed to be alive and a witness to what seemed like a birth of a new day and a sensuous deliverance of myself. I could feel myself being wonderfully released along with the sun.

My trust of nature's essence as a fact was enhanced by this experience because I was so directly and immediately affected by this repeatable and trustable display of earth's love of and dependence upon the sun's light. I depend upon it as much as the earth does. If I thought this was my last sunrise and my last experience of that kind of connection I would feel bereft.

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect


Sense of Groundedness, Spirit and Unity

"In one movement I lay on the beach and blended in with the universe. I looked up and saw two bald-eagles circling above me. As I watcher the eagle circle above, my senses became alive to the sounds and smells around me. I heard children laughing or squealing, dogs barking, birds singing; sea lions barking, the sound of a sea plane in the distance the steady drone of a fish boat trolling the ocean. The sea breeze across the sand whiffed a salty-scent deep into my nostrils. This warm ocean breeze gently embraced me. I had a sense of feeling one with mother earth, with a deep spiritual connection to the universe. Quite often I go back to this special moment for comfort, warmth or inspiration and groundedness."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect  


Sense of Mutual Love and Community

My wife and I were engaged on a mountain in the Sierra Nevada. We spent our honeymoon canoeing the lakes of the Quetico north of Minnesota. We spend a lot of time on vacation sea kayaking some of the beautiful parts of the northwest together. These are the events that bring us together. A mutual love and attraction for nature. We spend most of our time apart from this-and as a result we find fault in each other because we remain disconnected from the unity that brings us together. It is difficult to find community without unity-all that's left is comm. What is comm without unity?

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect


Holistic Management

"I was meeting with a corporate planning team to set up programs for high level corporate execs. I took a chance and asked each member to find a natural place, gain consent, listen without words and thank the natural object. The activity was a great success. The ones who were most skeptical had some great experiences, even though they joked about things. Just to put this in perspective, I later tried to explain holistic management and got beaned (BIG TIME) by this same group.

"Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect


Overcoming Dependencies

I think I am getting too "attached" to Renny. Meaning- my time of learning and growing with my partner is over, but I cling to the relationship out of a need for connection. Out of a lack of deep connection with the Earth and people, I find someone that I can cling to and hold on to. What I really need to do is let go and work on building deeper relationships with people who I am not in love with and be with the Earth.

I find that being connected with all possible aspects of nature dissolves my addictions and allows me to be free and think clearly. It teaches the part of me that attaches to things that are changing to let go and be free, and to let myself change and grow.

Ecology Student, Project NatureConnect  


Lack of Place and Acceptance

"I was born with a "mild" form of cerebral palsy. When I was growing up, I was put through many programs because of my disability. I was labeled a variety of negative terms by my peers. When I got older, my disability was less noticeable, although still very real for me. But now I was dealing with people who tried to discount my disability, saying I wasn't "disabled enough" (whatever that means?!). So, I have been constantly caught between two worlds, never feeling I belonged in either one. Recently, that feeling of loss of place strongly came upon me. I felt sadness and frustration, as I always have. But, this time, after the negative feelings were felt, through the activity I found a reason to be happy. And that reason was/is nature. Nature has no labels for what I am. It just gives me feelings of love and acceptance. So although I felt the sadness, I did not wallow in it, thereby making it worse (I had done that often in the past). I realized I could go to nature and find peace and acceptance."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect



Relieve Anxiety and Depression

I think that without a connection to nature, I am often left feeling anxious and depressed by the city and the conditions of my neighborhood. We have lots of construction, drug deals, gun shots and gang members around my house and sometimes I really despise the city because of it. Yet when I can remember that even cities are connected to nature, that my box garden is still living by the standards of the sun and soil and rain and that my breath is one of my links, I can relax a little and not be so stressed out."

Ecopsycholgy Student, Project NatureConnect



Reducing Worries

"While continuing to sit under the tree, I took some deep breaths and allowed my body to let go of control and sank slowly into the forest floor to lie there a few moments, sometimes looking up at blue Sky through Trees and sometimes closing my eyes. What a comfort to let go of all burdens, stories, wranglers, worries and just let Earth support me in the simple act of BEING. It was truly relaxing and energizing (I felt very tired and stressed at the beginning of the exercise and then, at the end, ran part of the way home! Where did that energy come from?). I wrote: Is it possible? Is it right? Is it natural? Is it real? Can I trust it? To just let Earth cradle me, support me, love me Could it all be THAT simple? Yes."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect


Regaining Sanity

"I feel an infinity desire for the perfect balance of sun and shade as I sit here on this hot summer day. A gentle breeze makes me experience pleasure and comfort, and acts as a homeostasis for my internal temperature/thermometer. Trees, bushes, and ferns offer shade as the 5 o'clock sun shines through to warm me and my senses at the same time. Being outdoors and connected to the attractive combination of the elements is much more comfortable then being indoors trying to escape the heat of the day, breathing stagnant air and being out of touch with nature's intelligence. I feel much more sane sitting outdoors connected to nature's essence."

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect



Being Healed

I sat on the shore, listening to the cry of the gulls seeing how freely they traversed the winds. I saw the most beautiful shells in vast array, around me. I dipped my feet in the water and found that I had to have MORE. Waded in to my knees and needed MORE. I ended up, fully clothed in the ocean surf, feeling alive, connected, understood. I had found healing and meaning in those moments. I gave some tokens of myself to the water and it embraced me. It gave me a gift that I will embrace forever. Later, I found the sand in my clothing to be like a fond friend, one that would go with me always. I didn't seek to remove it. I carried it in a bottle, the water home with me to realize that no matter where I am, that water and its love embraced me no matter where I was.

Ecopsycholgy Applicant, Project NatureConnect



Quiet Attention

"I took a question into my nature meditation today, asking about any other lessons I could include in my Earth Day presentation in a couple of weeks. After I asked I became very still and quiet, waiting to perceive if there would be any response from nature that would attract and guide me. Then after a few moments, I realized that the gift I was receiving was the 'stillness of waiting' itself, the experience of calming down of my body and mind in the process of quiet attention to the natural world while I sat there. This was a good reminder of how slowing down and resting in Nature's rhythms, our deepest inner rhythms, can bring feelings of well-being."

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect


Fear and Abuse

My roommate, who had gone to the same treatment centers I had--getting no relief from horrendous fear from a severely abusive childhood--began praising my spirituality and shortly thereafter not only found relief for the first time in his life, but also experienced what he called "Highest Heaven" They're so embracing of even our highest technology to nurture a new balance in everything. So I wrote to the last treatment center I was at, suggesting they use PNC.

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect


Alcoholism Relief

When I first took this Organic Psychology Course last autumn, I was able to finally sober up from 39 year addictions that over a year of inpatient treatment couldn't stop. My best nature experiences previously were with my wife, who passed away in 1994 from the ravages of alcoholism before we knew anything about Natural System discoveries. We'd go to a park along the shores of Lake Michigan and fryout corn, hamburgers and brats, smoking them with birch wood. I'd gaze into the trees and experience pure magic. We"d see deer, the innocence and grace of whom were always Heavenly Kisses and Omens. But even this--without using Organic Psychology--was not enough to interrupt disaster.

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect


Relieving Lack of Hope

While riding a bike into the sunset the other day with my son I suddenly realized how and why the evolutionary track of our society has come to the high tech state in which it now exists ~ totally disconnected from the
natural order of things and out of synch with natural systems. At the same time I also sensed that we are all truly connected to our natural knowledge as we honestly do value the products of human endeavor more so than those of the technology age. Hence, NSD can be combated. What is even more
enlightening is that we have the power to do just that via the very technology that has driven us away from nature ~ i.e. The Internet in conjunction with the "Friends of Natural Systems" list. Through this venue I
believe we have the power to reach and teach many members of the human race
and thus begin serving to correct the NSD with education via the NSTP.

"Friends" can and will teach the NSTP to friends via sharing nature-connected experiences on the web site in dialogic interactions of heartfelt nature-connected epiphanies and further training endeavors in our face-to-face human interactions.

We have the power to heal ourselves and our world..and through nature-connection sharing and learning we shall.

I have gained more than 30% myself through the use of the NSTP. I have enhanced both my interests and abilities to learn; reduced personal stressors; reduced much conflict and friction in my own
family's "world" of existence; and, my personal and social affect have
changed dramatically. It works for me.

There is great hope in the NSTP for correcting NSD.

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect





Psychological Elements of Global Citizenship: an Organic Remedy for NSD


"This is the course that every civilized person will be required to take if we are to reverse our runaway disorders."

- Raymond Sierra, Counselor


SELECT HERE to become a participant in Friends of Natural Systems


Special NGO consultant United Nations Economic and Social Council

Online, natural system healing education that increases
immunity to Natural System Dysfunction .

P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-6313 <email> www.ecopsych.com

The Natural Systems Thinking Process

Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director

send email

All organization programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the book
The Web of Life Imperative.













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