The Heart Is Where Home Is

The words heathen, pagan, uncivilized, wild, and savage all mean “one who lives in nature.” Nature includes our physical body. Getting back to nature, then, means, most of all, getting back into your own body. It is there that we find everything we’ve been missing, including love. For love is not something you get; it’s something you give.

We are able to love — that is, care for others and ourselves — only to the extent that we are out of fight-or-flight. Otherwise, deep down, we are strangers in a strange land, always looking out for number one, cowering and struggling in the true wilderness I call “Scare-City.”

Foraging offers two ways to return to our natural, calm-alert state. First, foraging is a walking meditation, the original “forest bathing.” In the wild, both danger and opportunity are evident to those moving in mindfulness.

Second, eating wild food can be a practice of what Buddhist psychotherapist Rick Hanson calls, “taking in the good.” Most of us are familiar with the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is actually one of our greatest challenges. After all, when you’re starving, there’s never enough. For real gratitude, you need real gratification. Foraging feeds us, not just with food but with the knowledge that we are safe and provided for.

Foraging is no less than the experience of Providence. It uncovers the real Garden of Eden. When we go by the graze of God, we regain what psychologists call “secure attachment.” In this case, that attachment is to Nature, to what is called a “holding environment.” The one holding us, in this case, is “Our Mother, who art The Earth.”

Going back to nature, we go back to our true nature as loving, open beings. We welcome the world with open arms, and we find that it has been waiting all this time for us: for us to come home.

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