But I thought we had 5 senses? Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, and Hearing? No?
Not according to Michael J. Cohen, and if you think about it, I bet you can remember times when you knew, interpreted, or input some information in a way that didn’t use the standard 5 senses that Aristotle theorized.
In his book Reconnecting With Nature: Finding Wellness Through Restoring Your Bond with the Earth Cohen guides us back to consciously understanding and connecting with the sensory input available to us whenever we want (need?) it.
Most of us have been conditioned by life’s busy pace to ignore these natural sensitivities that connect us with nature’s beauty, health, and regenerative support. In part, modern life’s slight of nature underlies many daily stress responses.
The information and activities in this book guide us back to nature through our fifty-three senses, remind us to embrace natural systems of which we are inherently part, and help us better understand our roles within natural systems.
We are not separate from nature. Nature’s systems provide us a wellspring to embody health, happiness, and a life lived within ecological harmony. Cohen talks about our “new Brains” vs our “old Brains” and how we often ignore the information our “old Brains, ” which evolved over eons of relationships with the “global community,” understands.
Our “new Brains” have been conditioned by our industrial and economic societies and are fueled by the story fed to us of sensory discontent and fulfillment through product satisfaction.
But never fear! Our “old Brains” are there waiting for us to consciously use them! We just have to listen to a different story! The stories of our inherent connection with the nature from which we evolved.
“The old brain registers nonlanguage tensions, sensations, feelings, and emotions. It makes up approximately 87% of the total brain.” That is a huge portion of brain power just waiting for us to get outside and start reconnecting!
Our “new Brains” also have an important role in the work of reconnection. It works with language and reason. It helps us to understand and process the sensory experiences taken in by the old brain.
The new brain gives names to what we see, smell, touch, hear, taste, and it gives the sensory input a story. It’s all about holistic relationships and balance in the system.
In this book, Cohen helps us understand how our brains process sensory information, and even better, with each chapter of information, he gives us a practical exercise to engage nature’s multisensory intelligence within the process he is explaining. Knowing is not always feeling, so through actual experience, we can begin to learn how to fully sensorially reconnect with nature.
Cohen states, “We need to learn how to rejuvenate these senses and bring them back into our consciousness. Then we can think with them. Without them, we will continue to lose our joys, sense of wonder, and responsible relationships.”
But why make time for reconnection? Life is busy and there is hardly time for the things we HAVE to do. Cohen cites the research that has proven, at all ages, sensorially connecting with nature “increases creativity, critical thinking, and wellness.
Environmental literacy citizenship, and learning ability also increase. Participation reduces apathy, abuse of people, substance abuse, depression, sleeplessness, and loneliness…Our spirit, energy, and self esteem soars.” Well, I’m sold. how about you?
“We do not live on our planet, we live in it. We live at least ten miles deep in the natural systems of its biosphere.” WOW! So there’s no fighting this one!!
We are an innate part of the natural systems that are planet Earth, so why not be a consciously participating member of this glorious natural community that wants to offer us so much? It’s easy! Our brains are already programmed to do this. We have just gotten a little rusty, that’s all!
If you are ready, I highly recommend this book to get you started thinking and sensorially connecting with nature!! Informative, and also easy and fun to apply, it speaks to the advanced nature enthusiast and to the beginner.
How do you feel after spending time in nature engaged activities?
Share in the comments below!
Seeds to Sprout:
Check out the details on Reconnecting with Nature here and then go buy it at your local indie bookshop!
Looking for a way to creatively assimilate your sensory nature connections? Check out my upcoming eCourse Draw Yourself Back to Nature! Give yourself an excuse to holistically engage with the wonders outside your door!
About the author- “Michael J. Cohen has been living, learning, and teaching in the outdoors for more than fifty years. He has founded environmental degree programs with the Lesley College Graduate School and the Institute of Global Education. He currently directs Project NatureConnect, a workshop and Internet program for socially responsible environmental education.”