Carolyn Merchant, author of Autonomous Nature: Problems of Prediction and Control from Ancient Times to the Scientific Revolution, wrote, “There is no single concept of nature; it embraces everything that is fluid, changing, and mysterious. Ultimately, however, to “know nature” on earth is to live within it and to revere it in every way.” Merchant is meditating on the idea that nature cannot truly be known and grasped and in fact, to try to grasp or dominate nature is to be out of sync with the flow of the earth herself. It’s human nature to be concerned with knowing things and grasping the world around us with our minds. However, nature tells us that this kind of intellectual knowledge is not possible when it comes to the mysterious, divine, feminine, and fluid state of our planet. Especially during times of hardship, it can be tempting to want to “figure things out.” The river flows, the ocean is constantly moving, and the seasons erupt and disrupt the very ground that we walk on. Nature teaches us that nothing is stagnant, which can be a great relief and a great comfort. To step into the flow of the unknown is to release the anxiety we feel when we try to grasp at life, to try to make the impermanent permanent. But how do we do this?
There is a common Zen saying: “Not knowing is most intimate.” This helpful and slightly confusing phrase is all about letting go. When we let go of the need to know the future, we begin to open ourselves up to deeper insights about ourselves and the world. Nature, with her sprawling mountain ranges and dark caves, mysterious oceans and ever-changing seasons, is a reflection of our own mysterious, complex, and dynamic nature.
RedCliff Ascent is a therapeutic wilderness program, nestled between two mountain ranges in the high desert of Enterprise, UT. We focus on adolescents ages 13-17 who are struggling with various challenges from anxiety and depression, to school abandonment and the need to reconnect with their family. With over 25 years of experience, RedCliff uses a relational model and narrative therapy to drive an outcome and an evidence-based approach. RedCliff Recovery offers an experience like no other through a proven, 12-step, adventure-based wilderness program. For more information, call us today: 801-921-8488.