Experiencing the Healing Power of Nature
by Gerald G. May
The natural world has a power to inspire the best and soothe the worst in each of us. It also has much to teach us about the wilderness within and the divine presence that is manifest in nature. In this, his last work, beloved author Gerald May offers a memoir and spiritual guide that reveals the great lessons available to us when we retreat from our busy lives to the serenity of the natural wilderness.
The Wisdom of Wilderness expresses the healing and wholeness May received through spending time in the wild—whether hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, or often, just sitting. Also, May saw that wilderness can be found anywhere—a garden, a park, perhaps in one’s own room, or even in other people. Wherever we find it, it calls to what is natural in each of our hearts, reassuring us that we are part of a bigger creation and teaching us how to make peace with the outer world and with our inner selves.
Fro May, nature was not something to rise above. The belief that we must dominate and tame all that is wild around and within us is the most fundamental estrangement of Western civilization, long inflicting wounds upon the planet and upon ourselves. But before we can effectively heal the earth, we must somehow recover our own natural wholeness, our own wildness and kinship with nature. We cannot do this healing for ourselves, but only through the “grace of Something or Someone beyond” –and in May’s case, he found this grace in Nature itself. This moving, beautifully written book is Gerald May at his best. It includes a foreword by author Parker J. Palmer, which illuminates the importance of May’s life and writing and explains how this last book fits in the body of his work.
Gerald G. May, M.D. (1940-2005) practiced medicine and psychiatry for twenty-five years before becoming a senior fellow in contemplative theology and psychology at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland. He was the author of many books and articles blending spirituality and psychology, including Addiction & Grace, Care of Mind/Core of Spirit, Will and Spirit and The Dark Night of the Soul.