At the end of the Victorian era, a young doctor named Freud changed the world by discovery of what is now known as the unconscious. His work was pivotal, but necessarily added to by others as the field of psychology grew.
The new psychology of the twenty first century includes the whole person within the whole world, as that is what actually sustains and nurtures all health: physical, mental and emotional. The destruction of the earth, to any degree, is in fact a projected aspect of human separation from the “mother” and “kin” which all humans need to stay whole. Self, (and others') destruction is ego centric, whereas health and wholeness are dependent upon acknowledging the self as being a natural part of one's ecology.
Self-devouring, fouling one's own nest, or even dissociation of the self by thinking nature is heartless, cruel and wrathful are all features of a consumer driven culture that arose at a time when abundance was the norm. Now, eradication of the ecology by ego and ID have resulted in divided humanity, toxins, trash and climate change. All oppression and war is driven by human rationalization that "some" are more entitled than "others." When all are one, there is no such oppression. There is still time for the human psyche to find help, however.
With psycho-analysis also came a rigid idea about personal and pathological psychology. The person’s mental and emotional health was thought to be determined by what occurred in the brain and mind. The idea of a much wider world influencing all persons as members of the animal world came relatively recently to the field of psychology.
This emergence of the individual psyche into a more fully blooming world, is known as going from an anthropocentric, or ego driven consciousness, to a fuller consciousness that encompasses the fuller reality of all interconnected ecosystems. That life is affected by life seems so obvious, that perhaps this is the very reason it was over looked.
Whether destructive tendencies arose from culture or the injured self, there are five extremely simple steps one can take in a mental exercise to re-connect to a more eco-centric wholeness and health.
To grow from an ego-centric being to an eco-centric (or ecocentric) being is the best outcome for all those who want to find health, healing, and meaning in the world upon which they are inextricably linked for survival. The first step is awareness:
1. Become aware by taking deep breaths.
In each intake acknowledge that you are breathing in the produced oxygen and nitrogen that all green plants and trees create. Note also that when you exhale, your waste C02 is created for them to exist. Note this kinship and interdependency.
2. Meditate upon the best times you remember.
As a child, or young adult, we all have loving memories of camps, lakes, forests and shores. Remember what connections made you feel a wholeness and oneness with others, with nature and with the whole planet. Just as your childhood may have been a movement away from the security of mother and family, it was also a step toward being integrated into a wider world in which humans evolved, despite “civilization”.
3. Appreciate if it is genuine.
If you are moved, thank the sustaining systems - air, sunlight, rain, clouds., etc. that make life possible, and that continue to support and sustain your species and others. Your new awareness, if genuine, will become evident to others, and they will seek to know the secret to joy in a troubled world. Thus, once connection is made, you can sow the seeds of recovery for others.
4. Realize that grief and guilt, when they arise, are natural.
Negative feelings are not the enemy. People must acknowledge them to move forward. Any disconnection and isolation, or “dis-ease” is also nature’s attempt to help, both in your inner nature, and the external world. Accept it as a gift. As Gibran once said, “Your pain is the cracking of the egg that encompasses your understanding.” One can picture all of the earth as an egg, that needs this compassionate understanding shared, so that the egg can continue creation.
5. Be patient.
Be patient as inspired by earth who has put up with much. Whether humanity threw at her pollution, species and human eradication, toxins, war, or trash, she has still continued to provide air, water, food, soil and biodiversity, as best she can. Know you belong here, and you will find more patience to heal in the long term. Know that the exploitative consumer driven way of life is not one you were offered, but were force fed, that an elite would "thrive" at a cost paid by most other living beings.
Human exploitation of nature was sold to you by people who could not know any better. The idea of being in control and “developing” nature happened by degrees, and was not originally based on selfish domination, but upon human insecurity.
Finally, when doing this activity outdoors, study the first thing you see when you open your eyes in a natural setting and link its existence to your own. Note that you can share its life giving properties, and feel accepted, even healed, by shared connection and attraction.