“The natural world, having no spoken language, largely consists of nonverbal relationships. …we biologically experience these relationships as emotions, senses, and feelings.” ~Dr. M. Cohen
Try this activity that shows the importance of multi-sensory knowledge: Place one of your hands in a bowl of very hot water while your other hand is place in a bowl of very cold water. After a minute, plunge both of your hands into one bowl of lukewarm water. In that moment, the hand coming from the cold water signals our consciousness that the lukewarm water is hot, while the hand coming from the hot water signals our consciousness that the lukewarm water is cold. Try it and notice what happens.
I did this a couple of times. At first I put both hands in the lukewarm water at the same time. Everything felt the same to me. Then I tried one hand and then the other. Yes, for sure the cold water hand felt the lukewarm water to be warmer. And the hot water hand felt the lukewarm water to be cooler.
My mind didn’t think much of it to begin with. And then I had a flash realization. Well – of course it would be that way. How could it be any different? Our multi-sensory knowledge is not about telling us or creating absolutes. How could it be about absolutes when creating absolutes is all about wrangling?
The purpose of our multi-sensory knowledge is to act as our very own personal guidance system to help us move safely through our life as part of the web of life. And the Web of life is all about helping each part of the web move safely through life for the balance of all the web.
Of course, our multi-sensory knowledge would feed back to us knowledge and information that is pertinent to us in the moment. The information is relevant to us. The relevance of the multi-sensory information depends on upon our primary and secondary states – who we are, where we are in the moment as who we are, etc. The relevance of our multi-sensory knowledge is dependent upon our current state of being.
Our senses are not designed to tell us absolutes – like this water is lukewarm. Instead our senses are designed to tell us – this water is warmer than your previous experience – and – this water is cooler than your previous experience. This is the relevant sensory information to us – as it is specific to us in the moment.
“The purpose of life is to support it. Help it teach you how.” Michael Cohen
I was outside raking up the great amount of debris in the gardens this year – seems much more than usual. I was having this well known conversation with myself. The core was basically – some people might think this is nature disconnected because I am moving nature around. As usual I was not getting very far with this conversation.
At one point I just stopped – and I realized that this conversation was useless. Instead I just reoriented to being outside and breathed into what I was doing. Earth was holding and loving me and we all were happy and excited about the turning of the seasons. What does it matter if others thought xyz. It was good to consider these things but not to use them to wrangle myself out of connection with Earth in the moment.
Applied Ecopsychology Insights:
- I can respect my own attractions and unattractions and at the same time be open to new ways of thinking
- The lack of absolutes in Nature – it is all about relationships
- Earth and I are in relationship and our relationship does not need to include the opinions and judgements of others
I am a person who gets good feelings in nature:
- When I just focus on Nature and don’t worry about others
- When I allow nature to guide me along through my sensory feedback
- When I feel connected to life supporting me
How would I feel having my ability to experience this relationship with Nature taken away: I would feel that my mind carried way too much of my life
Which wrangling concept does this activity identify or reeducate? The student – it is a balancing act to walk the line of honoring the learning without letting yourself be wrangled by the learning.