On what side of the divide between nature and culture do you live? Or are you one of the few who are living wholeheartedly in the Biosphere?
I used to be a nature-person, but then something unexpected happened. This text from my diary April 2011 tells it well:
“Yesterday evening during meditation, the Field of Humanity emerged/came down on me or how to say it. I was a part of it, inside, home. Breathed in deeply. One with all of humanity. Humanity as a specific field of consciousness that I’m a part of.
Feel like a lost sheep coming back to the herd. A herd I never belonged to. Not even knew it existed. Not in this way.
My life so far has been about the Planet and Nature. It has been my home and focus, where my heart has been. Humanity has been a concept – all those other people living on the Planet.
Tonight I dared to open to the pain – all the pain humans suffer, the suffering we, as humans, cause other beings, my pain of being a part of this, the pain of being able to do almost nothing about all this pain and suffering.
When the pain had finished its session in me, I dropped into the embrace of ”Everything is perfect as it is”.
To not go crazy on this Planet, you either have to numb your self or hold a paradox.”
Greater distance, more love
The day after, when I went for a walk, I met a beautiful pheasant. I, as a human, met the bird. We were in different fields. It was a bigger distance between us than before, but more love. Before we were both inside the field of Nature and more of the same; a we. Now it was a different love. Then I met a woman I know, and we also had a different relation, much closer, less distance, we were two humans talking together.
After this experience, I could hear and feel from what perspective someone I spoke with came; if they were identified with the field of Humanity or the field of Nature. My environmentalist and nature photographer friends mostly belonged to the latter, my other friends to the former.
So what are the perspectives and where do you belong?
THEY destroy nature!
Nature-people feels deep pain when a forest is cut down, when the bees get fewer, when ecosystems collapse and species go extinct. To handle the pain, we disassociate from humanity. It’s THEM destroying nature, not me. I’m not part of this!
We grief every extinct species for the loss in itself, and every habitat loss is a wound in our body.
We pay a high price for this; always feel a vague distance to other people. Though we are so used to it, we think this is how it is for everyone.
As a nature-person, my challenge is to realise that I belong to the Embrace of Humanity, unconditionally. My life is part of the destruction of the planet. It hurts, but it’s true. To dare to feel into my personal part in the destruction and my part as a member of Humanity.
Being a part of Humanity also let me take pride in all the amazing human achievements and feel more at home among other humans. For me, this has been very healing on a personal level.
Human-people feels pain when other humans suffer; we humans are the important ones. Nature is over there, and I’m not a part of IT, I’m a human. Though of course I can visit nature and enjoy its beauty and go hiking, biking, skiing, outdoor life is great for my health.
We disassociate from nature, and the guilt and grief we may feel are towards future generations of humans.
We talk about preservation and sustainability from our human-centred perspective. We protect the animals and plants for the benefit of our economy, and we are grateful for all the ecosystem services nature gives us. And pandas are adorable and should be saved so my grandkids can enjoy them, and we don’t know what plants may provide us with a drug for a disease, so we should keep the rainforests.
As a human-person, my challenge is to feel into all the pain we cause other living beings on the planet. To sincerely grief the death of every tree and bumblebee. Not as a loss for us humans, but as a loss in its own right; to meet the guilt. And to feel into the truth that I’m part of life on Earth, part of our vast family tree and the global ecosystem.
On the other side of this process lays a deep belonging to both Humanity and the Biosphere.
The Embrace of the Biosphere
The path to healing the divide inside ourselves and to handling the guilt, despite we are a human-person or a nature-person is to realise that it’s not two separate spheres.
It’s two nested Embraces, and I live inside both, we all are, always.
And I’m part of the Embrace of the Biosphere as a single human being, as are all living animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. Unconditionally.
Nature and Culture are words of separation. The word Biosphere transcends and includes them, that’s why I prefer to use it when we are talking about the bigger picture. But when I’m going for a walk in the forest or planning a trip to the theatre, nature and culture makes perfect sense. But to move into the future on our planet, the Biosphere is a much, much better and more accurate concept.
To dare to belong may take some courage and time.
To own the guilt and become aware that I belong to both Humanity and the Biosphere.
It’s the only path forward.