Many of our concepts of self in the world are in flux as new developments in all of our human and physical sciences are changing our thinking. This changing time provides us with a wonderful opportunity to review our western world view of separations vs. connections – a centuries old view of mind, body, and spirit as being separate domains and human beings being separate from each other and the natural world.
There are many more views of human life and perspectives on well-being; many views see no separation between mind, body, and spirit, and many include our connection to the natural world. This is now being reflected in a developing field of western psychological theory that refers to itself as Eco-Psychology, a field that looks at our connection to self, and our connection to the larger web of life.
The word ‘ecology’ is generally thought of as being connected to environment, and the health of our environment. But we only need to place ourselves into the equation of environment and see that we are a part of the environment . We live in relationship to our surroundings – other human beings, our physical communities, and our physical location in the larger natural world. All these aspects contribute to making us be and become who we are. They also deeply influence our well-being, or being-able-to-live-well as we go through life.
We can think of these inter-related systems as inter-dependent on each other, and also inter-connected. Our well-being is dependent on the health of our inner system – body/mind/spirit – which is interacting with the health of our extended systems of relationships and community, which are all interacting in connection to nature – the environment of the natural world. We influence each other’s ability to survive and thrive in the world; when we truly know this, we can see that our well-being is not only personal – how well we take care of ourselves affects how well we can take care of others, and how well we contribute to our family and community life, and how well we can take care of our environment. And – at the same time, we can see that we are supported in our surviving and thriving through the quality of our relationships and the quality of our relationship to the larger web of life.