I am in awe of animals who have found ways to live in the places devastated and patrolled by civilized humans. I have sometimes asked myself, “What would it take for me to be able to do that?”, and of course one answer is that I would have to be in much better shape physically. I am working on that, but it is slow going. But even more important, I have gradually come to the realization that the one basic hangup to my own rewilding is the state of consciousness that was trained into me, growing up within the civilization: that abstract way of looking at the world as though I were not actually in it. Over the years I have tried many approaches to breaking out of this, and found helpful hints from many different teachers, including other-than-human ones, but nothing made much of a dent in it.
In the last couple of years I have become acquainted with the writings and talks of David Abram. His very carefully-expressed discoveries and insights have shown me a lot of angles on reality that I never even thought of before. Just to mention one which has been extremely helpful to me: that our physical senses are what connect our individual nervous systems to the world around us, which he refers to as our larger body. As this sank in, I finally began to get it, at gut level, that I am really, physically, one little part of this world, not at all some separate entity, as I have felt myself to be for as long as I can remember. This realization bolstered my will to turn my attention again and again to the direct experience of my senses, against enormous resistance from the deeply ingrained habit of giving almost all my attention to the conceptual world inside my head. The resistance takes innumerable forms–for example, the instantaneous labeling of whatever I am sensing; old voices harshly criticizing my doing everything wrong; confusion, disorientation, bad feelings throughout my body… But this time I will not give up. The practice has been, very slowly, gathering a little bit of momentum, and I am having more frequent (but still very brief) experiences of actually being in the real world, in all its ever-shifting complexity and detail.
Formerly I had considered the practice of tuning in to the sensible present as “time out” from practical problems, which had to be dealt with in the usual old ways. But now I see that, to the contrary, being in constant connection with my larger body, the Earth, with its larger intelligence, is the only way that real answers can be found, to every single question, on every single subject, at all times. My isolated, civilized self, with its crude substitutes for the natural intelligence that it has crushed down, only knows how to live in the civilization, and is completely helpless in finding solutions to the real problems caused by the civilization.
Though I am still in the early stages of this practice, I wanted to share this much with you guys at this time, so as to ask about your experiences or thoughts along these lines.
Thank you so much for any replies.