Skip to content

Grounding the Human Animal Experience


Non of us asked to be here, but here we are nonetheless. Although we find ourselves on planet Earth, non of us were born with an instruction manual on how to live our best life. Some seem to figure it out, but most don’t. Since I was a young child I have tried my best to figure out how to be both fulfilled and at peace with myself and the world at large. As all humans on this planet, my formative years on Earth were largely influenced and directed by the society and culture I found myself embedded within, and of course family. As it happens all to often almost all of my struggles as an adult could be traced back to the trauma I suffered as a child.

Added to this, for those of us living in the West, in fact anywhere in the world that seeks to emulate us, we have been indoctrinated into the pursuit of happiness and success through material wealth. However, even with all our modern comfort we still remain unfulfilled, searching for something to make us happy, yet not knowing what that is. I have experience the same, and why through my own healing journey I created the Human Animal experience.

We Have Only Been Here for 1-Second

Let’s look at all of Earth’s existence since it’s birth using a calendar year as a reference starting the journey at midnight on the 1st of January. 365 days later at 11:30am on the 31 December the final day of that year is when our hominid ancestors emerged (i.e., those first to come out of the trees and walk upright on the planes of Africa). Homo sapiens, which is us, have only been here for 23-minutes of that total year.

The entire industrial revolution which defines life as we know it for the last 200 years, culminates in only 1-second of that year.

Let that sink in for a moment:
1-second in the entire timeline of the history of this planet accounts for what we take for granted as our life in the modern world.

Clearly there seems to be a mismatch between our current modern environment and the way we experienced life on this planet since the dawn of our existence. We should question then if the answers to why we remain so unfulfilled can ever be answered by the modern world we find ourselves in. The modern world might be where we inhabit now, but it isn’t our home (and it may never be).

Reconnecting to Our Embodied Ancestral Wisdom

Through Mind, Body and Ecology

While for many of us it would be impossible to return to our ancestral ways, I have over the past few years been exploring our natural state, and how coming home to our instincts through exploring the natural world, invoking mind, body and ecology can lead not only to healing, but help us both rediscover our natural inner rhythm. While mind, body, and ecology are separated here as a useful heuristic device, it is important to note that they are in fact not separate, but one.

Let’s briefly explore them in turn:

Firstly that of Mind: There has been an increase in rates of anxiety, depression and loss of meaning among people in the developed world. It could be argued that our place of discontent is experienced first in the mind. It is through the mind, and its reflection on our experiences that we attempt to make sense of our lack of fulfillment. Having a greater insight into the workings of our own minds, and what is showing up as our discontent, and how to change it, is an important first step in rediscovering our natural rhythm.

Secondly Body: here the term ‘body’ encourages more than just our body in place, but rather embodied awareness in experience, which is to say the “the moment to moment process by which human beings allow awareness to enhance the flow of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and energies through [their] bodily selves” (Aposhyan, 2004, p.52). Aposhyan continues to note further that “embodiment, then, is a grounding and flowing relationship between ourselves and the rest of the world” (p.53). As such, we cannot experience the contrast from the difficulties we face in our urban existence (i.e., the developed world many of us in the West live in) and that of exploring our natural instincts without the awareness and understanding first of how our embodiment both shapes and shows up in our experiences.

In other words embodiment is not so much the antecedent to behavior, but rather that you are always in your body as you navigate the world. As such your embodied experience is the integration of perception, thinking, feelings and desires expressed through your active engagement and agency in experience. This implies that the positive experience of your natural way of being (i.e., deepening our relationship with our natural instincts), and the way in which it unfolds in helping you heal, may be directly related to the level of your embodied awareness and subsequently your ability to recognize what is happening within your mindbody in the moment. 

The realization here is that your moment-to-moment embodiment shapes all of your experiences, as such, there is no gap between your mind, body and your experience of reality. As with your mind, the body and how you experience both yourself in the modern world versus that of invoking your natural state becomes the grounding of important insights into understanding the before and after effects of that engagement. In other words, you need this to make what you have learned repeatable no matter where you find yourself. 

Finally Ecology: here I use the world ‘ecology’ to imply the relationships between us as living humans, and the natural world, along with the understanding of the vital connections between humans and the natural world around them.

Ecology therefore becomes a container for all experience that is in contrast to modernity (i.e., living in cities, being indoors, becoming immersed in the virtual world). In other words, it is through the experience of reconnecting to the natural world that you have the opportunity to rediscover ancestral ways of being, with deep understanding, while bringing into focus the discontent of modernity, and what you can do about it. This includes the importance of how being in nature impacts your health and wellness.

Don't Worry It’s Not All Academic, We Focus on

Experiential Embodied Learning

The above may sound a tad bit academic, but not to worry, I have made both the Human Animal training and experience very accessible. However, I do want you to understand the science and research behind what you are learning. For example, why grounding in nature reduces inflammation, or that breathing in terpenes which are phytochemicals mainly released by trees has a direct impact on lowering your stress levels via your parasympathetic nervous system. 

On a whole, we explore mind, body and ecology in practical, experiential ways. Rather than relying solely on ‘talk’ I will show you through easy to remember embodied tools, strategies and tactics how you can trust your intuition, while learning to manage your inner state. We achieve this through various methods, but mainly through learning to access your bodies natural intelligence.

Sometimes we will be lying on the beach as we discover the powerful impact breathing has on helping you overcome fear, or rolling around on the mat where through jiu-jitsu you learn to stay calm, improve focus and invoke the flow state. At other times we sit around the fire pit as we explore how to harness the full potential of our minds, discussing Stoic philosophy or walking in nature as we reconnect to the home we know we have lost. 

There is also ample downtime to explore, and to re-energize your metabolism by eating healthy fresh foods, along with trips to nearby temples and learning to play drums with my eldest son Egan. All of which takes place at my 2nd home, Tree Roots Retreat in Rayong, Thailand.

Tree Roots Retreat is nestled in a small fishing village far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but near enough to all amenities you might need. There are no TVs in the rooms, but there are many communal spaces to meet new friends, a gorgeous pool, beautiful bungalows, and only five minutes walk to the beach, where you are spoilt for choice when it comes to local cuisine.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.