How Does Nature Heal?
— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —
In November’s Conservation Conversation, wildlife vet Linda Bender and I shared a conversation on how nature heals, joined by participants who contributed their own profound insights. This was a wonderful conversation–one that needs to be continued.
With its quiet, inviting presence, Nature invites us to calm, to come back to ourselves in communion and companionship with other life. Through connection with other living beings and the interchange of energy that then flows, we are renewed. We feel less alone. Quieted, our body begins to relax and more freely exercise its natural healing capacities. As Linda noted, we have a whole pharmacopeia within us, released when we are relaxed and unstressed. And even further, Kiki noted, in the process of our own healing, we are give healing energy back to Nature in a beautiful dance. Most of us want to help others when we see them in distress. It is innate. I brought up the idea that perhaps all Life, in its own way of sensing and being, wants to help others heal. In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben writes about a huge ancient stump being kept alive for hundreds of years, being fed by the trees around it through their own roots. It would make sense, Life helping Life, whether it is looked at on a biological level or a spiritual one – or both, in unity.
Linda’s experience, as she is calmed by nature’s sounds, smells, and sights, is that it brings her into the present moment, where all things are possible. The only place where things actually happen. She is seduced into peace – the first step in bringing us back into equilibrium, from where we can begin to heal. It does this not through force but by infiltrating us through our physical senses. Our constant, busy thoughts are slowed so more subtle, meaningful ones can arise, elevating us to a higher, lighter state of consciousness, more spirit, shedding some of the darker, heavier, physical manifestations that come from being in the lower states of consciousness.
We are all energy beings, energy condensed into form. We are affected by the energy around us. The cacophony of the life we humans have created for ourselves stresses and distracts us. Through the innate harmony in nature, we are brought back to our natural selves, from where we can not only heal, but begin to release our incredible creative potential–perhaps even leading Life forward on its evolutionary journey.
Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.