Nature can be your healer, teacher and guide. It is possible to experience nature, and the environment you live and work in, as nurturing and enlivening while also helping to heal and nurture the earth.
Ecopsychology and ecotherapy are emerging fields that provide principles and practices for developing a more conscious and sustainable relationship with nature, the world and spirit. Ecopsychology is the study of how our wellbeing affects the Earth’s wellbeing, and vice versa. This is a wellbeing that encompasses all levels, physical, mental and spiritual.
Through simple practices, a bond can be developed between the you and the earth. This bond can then enable you to become increasingly authentic and empowered as a soul, living and expressing your true nature, life force and care for the planet.
One of the key relationships that ecopsychology explores is between a person’s health and surroundings. Our home, as our most immediate living area, is one environment that we all tend to recognise as influencing our happiness, health and wellbeing. If the space around the home feels balanced and harmonious, then the people living in that space are more likely to be balanced and harmonious too.
Outcomes of ecotherapy
Research citing the potential healing aspects of a wide range of projects in ecotherapy has been published extensively in medical, leisure, psychological and other journals. This includes studies on the wellness and psychological benefits of time in the wilderness, transformational rites of passage experiences, involvement in conservation projects and contact with wildlife and smaller animals.
To engage in ecopsychology, there are many simple things that can be done, either as a group or alone. Simply taking a walk through a park whilst being mindful and respectful of the environment is a good start. Even camping could be considered ecopsychology under the right circumstances!
The triangular balance
True ecotherapy involves more than a one-way use of nature to gain physical, psychological or even spiritual benefits. It involves a mutually beneficial and sustainable interaction within a whole system that also benefits the earth.
This landscape or Mother Earth is a part of us and we are a part of her. We are born of the land, we walk the land and when we die we go back to the land. We identify ourselves within the landscape that we are connected to. This is such a synergistic relationship that when it’s broken, suffering occurs. For the environment, there is ecological destruction, for humans, grief, despair and sickness. If we look beyond the surface of the seamless beauty and unity between indigenous people and country, there exists, on a deeper and more fundamental level of being, an expression of life lived out of the same absolute source, called Spirit.
Reap what you sow
Society is starting to recognise that the escalating spread of pain and despair being felt by people is a direct result and response to the continual destruction of the environment.There is no wisdom in mankind destroying his own backyard. This destruction is not likely to end until human beings regain an identity and again bond with Mother Earth.
Source: Ecopsychology and Inner Nature. www.wellbeing.com.au. November 30th, 2009