The 'Wild Nature' in Our Bodies

06/14/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Many of us still think that our bodies -- the wild nature "in here" -- are somehow separate from the rest of nature "out there."

Which of course isn't true.

The Big Lie that is at the root of the life-threatening dysfunction in the current human-nature relationship is the delusion that the human species is somehow separate from (and superior to) the rest of nature.

Once we see through this dangerous misconception, we begin to realize on a visceral level that the "wild nature" in our bodies is not much different from the rest of the threatened wild nature that still survives on our planet, trying to resist the control of the dominating human ego and its sometimes destructive practices.

As we bring new attention and respect to this "nature within," we begin to heal the human-nature relationship in a very personal way, and this opens the door to engagement at a wider level as well.

Reconnecting with "Nature Within"

Research has now shown that nature-connection of almost any kind has powerful mental and physical healing effects. This is perhaps not surprising, for at the genome level we humans are still our Paleolithic selves: smart, tool-using primates who have evolved, like every other species, to live in daily contact with the rest of nature.

So it only makes sense that as we get back in touch with our natural, primate bodies and the planetary ecosystems that are our life support systems (air, food, water, green spaces and more), we experience profound healing at every level of our existence.

To help us plug into these healing effects, it's important for each person to find the methods of nature-connection that are most comfortable and attractive for them. Ecotherapy is not a "one prescription fits all" process. For some it may be animal-connection that opens the door to their wild selves and the rest of nature; for others it may be getting outdoors and hiking, gardening or going on wilderness therapy treks.

Still others find that the best place to start is simple re-connection with the wild nature in our own bodies - our breath, our beating heart, the many sensations that arise, the untamed rivers in our bloodstreams, even the wild psyche that arrives unbidden in dreams.

We can experience this interior, untamed wilderness at any time, whether we live in an apartment in the city or on a rural farm. Yoga breathwork, meditation that focuses not just on thoughts but sensations, ecstatic dance, somatic psychotherapies -- these are all possible doorways into connection with our ancient, primal body-mind-spirit selves.

All that is required of us is a willingness to slow down to nature's rhythms and an openness and receptivity to the powerful forces of nature that underlie life on our planet at every level.