Embodiedness to Embeddedness

One way to realize our embeddedness in nature—what Buddhists call dependent arising or “interbeing”—is through our embodiedness. On the trail, our sense experience, physical exertion, movement through the landscape, and extended time outside all promote awareness of our connection to our surroundings. We can deepen this sense of embeddedness by attending to how each cycle of breathing connects us with the trees as we inhale oxygen from them and exhale carbon dioxide for them, or how we are part of a hydrological cycle as we take water from a river, purify it, offer it up through sweating and peeing, and then receive it again as it cycles back to us as cloud, rain, and river flow. We may even come to a stronger recognition of being an animal in the woods, occupying a specific spot in the food chain. In this way we realize our embeddedness in both senses of “realize”: to become aware of and to actualize. Or, expressed from a different angle, we wake up in nature as nature.

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