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We Humans are a Part of Nature

By Muzammal Hussain

Including the margins within the whole

The more I witness and contemplate the non-human natural world, the more I am humbled by the similarities between it and the world of humans.

I say ‘non-human’ natural world, because there is no natural world in our time that does not include us. Thus, I am stressing that the non-human aspect is one part of this totality. It and we, the other part, are very alike.

In the Islamic tradition, there is a verse that captures some of this truth through the following verse:

“There is not an animal that crawls in the earth, nor a bird that flies on its two wings, but they are communities like you.” (Qur ‘an: 6: 38)

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Cove forest – click image for original/licensing

It is a profound mistake that contemporary society, in our bubble of denial, has built its foundations on the belief that we and nature are separate.

The result of this delusion that nature is that which is other than us, is a contributor to the consequent exploitations that are taking place against nature and – paradoxically in the context of this belief – also thus against ourselves.

It is a profound mistake that contemporary society, in our bubble of denial, has built its foundations on the belief that we and nature are separate.

Yes, we and nature are very alike – and if we can recalibrate our internal compass to include this totality, we might open our selves and consequently also our communities to more of the voices, the feelings, the pain, the healing, the insights, the richness, the love, and the wisdom that arises when we unlearn to resist what is at the margins.

Becoming who we are: Embracing the ‘wild’

As we over-identify with being ‘civilised’ we marginalise the ‘wild’ part of us. As we over-identify ourselves with the clock and time-frames of the civilised world in its currently contorted form, we neglect the reality of our body cycles and body wisdom, the influence of the seasons, the variations of day and night, and the unique contribution that each brings.

As we over-identify with being ‘civilised’ we marginalise the ‘wild’ part of us

Each part has a role, and structures that separate us from these powerful influences strip away some of the fullness of our human experience. We become less than who we are, as parts of our selves are denied.

Are we able to witness the compassion and generosity in nature? Are we able to experience those states within ourselves, as human reflectors of Divine qualities – also noticing thus the power, majesty, rage and other energies that might also be present – the doing, the pausing, the creative unfolding and the timeless being.

Are we able to witness the compassion and generosity in nature?

Lake Waikaremoana

Lake Waikaremoana – click photo for original

 

If we are indeed like nature ‘out there’, what would it be like to be fully human?

What would it be like to live in a society that valued and was nurtured by all its parts?

These are questions I will reflect on in successive posts, and which I hope to share with you soon. Please also feel free to share any comments you may have.

 

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