Tag Archives: ecosystem

Reconnecting to the web of life

Humanity’s disconnect to the web of life, the lack of respect and awareness for the many parts of the bigger whole, has got us into a pretty dire predicament.

Some theorists would argue that man is a predator by nature and that it is all about the survival of the fittest, falsely quoting Darwin who was in reality very much aware of the intricate inter-connection of all living things.

Any species which fails to find its niche in the web of life becomes extinct because the earth or “creation intelligence” always finds a means of discarding that which becomes a threat to everything else. It is something you become acutely aware of by spending alone time in nature or in the wilds.

I’ve had some of my deepest spiritual experiences while hiking alone in the Pyrenees mountains, the Spanish Camino and the African bush where simply by observation you begin to realize that every plant, beetle, bird, antelope or predator is there for a reason and plays its small part in sustaining life as a whole.


My theory is that humanity’s disconnect from the web of life is partly the result of alienation from nature and the “materialist-theoretical” approach to religion rather than intuitive spirituality that our forebears practised in the mystic traditions.

As hundreds of millions of people continue to move to urban areas there is a real danger that the alienation from our true destiny will continue. A growing number of people in the wealthier countries are living alone in apartments and getting lonelier and lonelier as they grow older and their already fragile support network of friends starts falling away.

In my previous blog I mentioned how much we are influenced and shaped by the people around us. Our health, our happiness and our lifespan depend on how well we are accepted, integrated and valued in that community we cherish. Loneliness is perceived as physical pain and is responsible for many psychological disorders. Read this interesting report on what people in Sardinia seem to be getting just right and why many of them stay healthy well over the age of a 100.

The biggest challenge faced by humanity is to rediscover that bond to the web of life and to make the switch from predator to custodian, protector and nurturer. Here are just some ways of reconnecting:

  • Sitting meditation with emphasis on the natural breathing sequence of inhaling and exhaling
  • Walking “things off” and reconnecting with your natural rhythm on a longer hike, preferably for several days. Its a wonderful way of detoxing your mind and body.
  • Any of the body arts such as yoga, taiji and qi gong have been practised and perfected over many generations as a way of reconnecting with your mind and body.
  • When outdoors in nature find just one sound to concentrate your mind on. It could be a bird chirping or the wind blowing through the trees. You will feel very relaxed after only a few minutes.

I had an amazing experience on one of my walks when I connected to a blackbird singing in a tree nearby. It responded by following me for several kilometres, hopping from tree to tree and on the track ahead. It was an amazing experience of connection.


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Yield and Overcome – How change can positively impact our lives

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How wolves change rivers

I saw this amazing video on how the return of wolves in Yellowstone actually sees the entire ecosystem change for the positive, giving life to many different species.


Just a few months ago the first wolves were sighted in our district near Lueneburg, southeast of Hamburg. They have returned for the first time in over 200 years, probably having migrated from Poland or Romania. In the past the Iron Curtain prevented them from crossing. But they were also relentlessly shot by ruthless hunters stuck in “old thinking” that these wonderful animals are a danger to humans.

But even here the wolf is hardly being welcomed. The population is more or less divided 50-50 between eco-friendly “wolf fans” and fearful farmers, dog owners and even parents fearing their children or dogs might be attacked.

Fear of the wolf is deeply ingrained in human nature and almost all the fears are irrational.  Lets look at the facts. During the past 100 years, there have been only two incidents in North America, in 2005 and 2010, where wolves have allegedly killed a human.  The most comprehensive report on wolf attacks ist the  “Linnell-Report” conducted by Norwegian researchers based on data over the past 400 years from North America, Europe and Asia. Between 1950 and the year 2000 there were 59 attacks on humans in Europe from an estimated wolf population of 15.000 (excluding Russia and Belarus) Some 38 of the attacks were from wolves infected with rabies. Five humans actually died in the attacks.

.ImageMy homeland South Africa is still blessed  with regions like the Mkzuzi and Hluhluwe game reserves that are virtually untouched by mankind. When going on a hike with an experienced ranger in these areas you can learn how everything from the Acacia tree to the Rhinoceros are interconnected. Take out one species and the whole system goes into imbalance.  This is why poaching is wreaking such havoc at the heart of Africa.

The principle is that nature always eventually returns to the balanced state of ” interconnectedness”. It is only recently that we have begun to understand that we too as humans cannot separate ourselves from nature.

The huge task of this and coming generations is that we need to find our niche within the system if we want to survive as a species.  I have gone into more detail on this in my book: Yield and Overcome


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