We are nature.

Nearly four hundred years ago, the invention of industrial machinery left people awestruck, and heralded a complete change in our perception of nature and the role we play within it. Today, this new way of being has become so ingrained that most of us have forgotten who — and what — we truly are, and what we need to be happy, healthy and whole.

We are nature. At a physical level, we share the same biological systems, behaviors and most of the genetic makeup of our fellow mammals. At a molecular level, we are comprised of six main elements, (from oxygen to phosphorous), each of which is sourced from the planet that we live on. At a sub-atomic level, we do not exist as individuals but rather as part of the unified quantum field of the universe.

For many millennia, human beings were deeply connected with their natural place in the universe and were largely indiscernible from other animals on the planet. Our tools were more complicated and our language more expressive but, as with other creatures, our lives were attuned to our environments and our actions were largely instinctive and survival-based.

“The scientific elite began to envision the universe as a giant clock, animals as mindless machinery and humans as nothing more than an intricate piece of engineering.”

However, around 350 years ago, a new concept arose that would forever change our view of ourselves. It was the beginning of the Industrial Age and machines were revolutionizing the world; these shiny, exquisite, perfectly logical contraptions were changing the entire landscape of human society. Of course, humans (as we are prone to do) celebrated this achievement with a hearty dose of self-congratulatory back-slapping and intellectual arrogance.

Machinery became the symbol of humanity’s intelligence, magnificence and superiority over the natural world.

Eventually, this reverence for machinery infiltrated the thinking of the time. The scientific elite began to envision the universe as a giant clock, animals as mindless machines and humans as nothing more than an intricate piece of engineering. It is from this foundation that we inherited the conventional view of ourselves: that we are solid, separate and bound by the five physical senses; that we are automated, predictable and subject only to superficial needs.

Of course, as the idea of mechanicism progressed, anything that was not physical, tangible or explained by mechanics was deemed to be impossible or imagination. We learned to deny a vital part of our natural selves; the intangible sense of Self; the instinctive knowing; the connection with something grander and wiser than our logical thought.

“Recent studies have shown that the closer we live to nature, the more inclined we are to maintain strong mental health.”

Four centuries later, and it is clearly evident that the machine-like persona we have adopted does not offer the solution to ultimate wellbeing. The truth remains that we are an inherent part of nature and, as such, we have the same needs as other natural beings. For instance, recent studies have shown that the closer we live to nature, the more inclined we are to maintain strong mental health — one series of Swedish studies confirmed that city dwellers are around 75% more susceptible to psychosis and up to 20% more likely to develop depression than people who live in rural areas.

Even in our modern world, there are several steps we can take to throw off the mantle of “machine”, reconnect with our natural selves and enjoy greater emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing:

Natural rhythms

As the Industrial Age took hold and daily life changed, humans began to rely on man-made concepts of time — the calendar and the clock — and divorced themselves from the natural rhythms of nature. When we remember that we are nature, we give ourselves an opportunity to reconnect with the subtle, natural rhythms of our bodies, the Earth and the universe.

Everything in nature ebbs and flows, and yet in our busy lives most of us ignore these natural rhythms. Obviously we have remained attuned to the more obvious cycles; the seasons, day and night and, to some extent, the natural changes of the climate. However, there are a multitude of more subtle cycles that most of us are completely unaware of; natural biorhythms, universal synchronicities, and the constant vibration of the energy from which we are formed.

With awareness, it is entirely possible for us each to recognize our natural rhythms; the phases of activity and of rest; of growth and reflection; of deconstruction and regathering. As a natural being, we are constantly subject to these rhythms, and we can enjoy greater wellbeing when we begin to acknowledge and work with them.

Natural freedom

In recent decades, there has been a wave of concern for the welfare of domesticated and farmed animals. It has become apparent that all creatures deserve the right to live as naturally as possible; with access to sunlight, open spaces and an ability to fulfill natural instincts. This, of course, includes the human creature.

Like all natural beings, we are happiest and healthiest when we are in our natural environment; when we are experiencing a sense of freedom. It is perfectly acceptable to enjoy the comfort and convenience of a modern city, but it is also imperative that we each take time to enjoy sunlight and open spaces, and ensure that our lives are liberating, playful, fulfilling and meaningful.

Natural intelligence

Knowledge, reason and logic have become such an integral part of modern life that many of us have forgotten that these concepts do not fully reflect who we are. In fact, it is logical thought that causes the greatest disconnect from our true nature, and it is in our best interests if we occasionally ‘lose our minds’.

“In order to be completely fulfilled we, as humans, must acknowledge our instinctive needs and desires.”

Left brain processes, such as logic and language, are very recent additions to the human mind. (Many right brain processes such as emotion, creativity and intuition were present in our ancestors over 200,000 years ago, whereas overt rationality appeared 150,000 years later.) Reason, language and logic have evolved in our species in order to enhance our natural state of being, not replace it. Therefore, we can enjoy greater happiness and wellbeing when we allow time to quieten our mind, accept the world without labeling and make more intuitive choices.

In order to be completely fulfilled we, as humans, must acknowledge our instinctive needs and desires. It is time for us to reject the absurd notion that we are nothing more than biological machinery and reconnect with the wholeness of our natural selves.

Kim Forrester is an award-winning author, educator and intuitive consultant with over 15 years’ experience as a professional intuitive and spiritual teacher. She combines cutting edge science with traditional spirituality to offer the latest understandings of psi, consciousness and holistic wellbeing. Find out more at www.kimforrester.net

Originally published at medium.com