The World Is My Larger Self

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.


I love your brilliant articulation of the abundant natural intelligence accessible by surrendering and being present in our senses. This has been my experience too, that deepens every day. Yay!

Hi Willem–
I really appreciate your response–just to know that what I said made sense to another person. I also appreciate you mentioning that your own practice is continuing to deepen. That is encouraging to me, as at this stage most of the time I feel like I’m stuck in a kind of limbo, between worlds. But, each day there is some noticeable progress–like just today it hit me experientially for the first time that all of the good breakthroughs that I have ever had in my life have really come from the physical world I live in, not from some amorphous, abstract “elsewhere”, as I have felt in the past. So, all the more motivation to keep going.

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Well personally as I have strived for a wild life, yet suffered a pretty good set back, we come to realize we will always be between worlds. We can rewild all we want but we will never escape the modern world and it’s bull spit. I grew up ignoring all the trends and fads and clicks etc and so that’s helped me in life where I M now, fine with hardly any friends, uncaring of material “wealth” or monetary gain. I’m not sure how to explain to others how to go about not really caring at all what others think, social environments, the public, but it’s a great thing to have. Also, fearlessness of death is great too. Society is based on fear of dying and discomfort.

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Hi Jeremiah–

I have read all of your posts, and see that you have led a much more adventuresome life than I have even come close to. You must have already achieved a good amount of the fearlessness that you mention.

For a few years I lived at the edge of a beautiful mountain wilderness and spent a lot of time there, practicing some “primitive skills”, but never staying more than one day at a time, and never actually making my living there. The thing that I became more and more painfully aware of was the feeling of being totally disconnected from the life around me, as though I were wandering around in a sealed capsule. I began to realize that no amount of practice at skills taken secondhand from other humans could ever make up for a total lack of communication with the other beings who lived in that land. And as I became increasingly aware of how utterly insane is the society I grew up in, which is spreading over the earth, I began to see the many ways in which I had gradually made myself insane. When I mentioned in my last post feeling stuck between worlds, it was my own mindset that I was referring to—the conditioning which keeps me feeling separated from the “more-than-human world” (David Abram’s phrase, which I love). In my current practice of paying more and more attention to what my physical senses can perceive every moment, I am already feeling less of that estrangement which I believe is the basis of the crippling fear that pervades the civilization.

Lots of good wishes in finding others there back East to join you in your endeavors.

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Thanks for the luck. I only recently became truly unconcerned of death. I am by no means enlightened and still have many days and nights of darker emotions but I’m learning to not feed them with societies sins, drink, drug etc. I have lived a lot of adventure already in my late 20s but am not complete and am very isolated in my interests and hobbies and general outlook. It’s somethjng that has dogged me a lot and it’s hard but sometimes I believe general solitude even if not chosen is what I’ll get, and I don’t know what else to say. I have family but that only works so far and your still alone in these ideals

I have read a lot of posts on this forum in the last year or so, and know there are, or have been, some people on here who are in Pennsylvania. The only person I can think of offhand who might still be current is Nathan Carlos Rupley. If you go to “search” and put in his name, then go to his profile, then log in, it looks like you could send him a message, in case he might know of rewilders in your vicinity.

He hasn’t been on since dec 2017. I’m told of some other off grid people in the area I plan to live eventually so there’s that