The Marriage of Order and Wilderness: How the Earth Teaches Us the Way Forward


We and the Earth are made for each other. The technosphere and the biosphere are not fundamentally opposed; they are designed to dance together, to overcome all barriers to an impossible synergy…and now is the time to make our move.

Artwork by Jessica Perlstein.

Optional Reading Music:

The forest, with the pale intimation of snowfall upon its Mind, once asked me a question: What will you do with your wild life?

I answered the best that I could, finite mind that I am: I will create and rest. I will not try to say what is right, but only to show how beautiful It can be. I will point to the Center and rest in its joy.

And those trees, these many limbs that are one limb rising from the forest floor, answered with their birdsong of ochre and gold yes yes all is done and the only echo was completed silence, lavender with repose. Because their hands, nested to chiaroscuro, softened geometry, need not grasp anything to be whole.

Gaian consciousness likes questions like this one. She likes initiatory moments that are supple, flexible, and opened—she likes conversation that leaves room for layered meaning and language that moves in many directions at once. This is because She would like to teach us to be like Her. She is a bodhisattva, a gestalt of unimaginable beauty and impeccability who has awakened into radically willful self-organization, yet chooses to remain here, embodied and filled with three-dimensional form.

There exists the tendency to think that physical matter is a stage of evolution—a quality that cannot be divorced from the concrete stage of cosmic development with which it accords. In a sense, this is true, for the physical world is the midpoint between alpha and Omega, the end of the evolution of spirit into matter, and the beginning of the involution of matter into Spirit.

But this viewpoint somehow strips physical matter of its miraculous garb. It places matter within a codified hierarchy, with little below it (chaos, perhaps) and everything “spiritual” above it. We tend to believe that this hierarchy exists because that’s how we’ve built our society. More truly, though, physical matter is a medium through which a non-linear spectrum of evolutionary and involutionary stages may be expressed.

It is a canvas, upon which artists of all skill levels may paint. And compared to the Earth—the immense creative intelligence of the planetary Logos—we are like kindergarteners finger-painting beside Da Vinci. Our machines, our linear social templates, and our individuated choice-making are blind scribbles compared to the emergent, cooperative splendor of the biosphere.

This is because the biosphere is the body of an Ascended Master who has compassion for our learning process, and who therefore remains spread through physical matter, extruding Its wisdom in the form of ecological pattern, natural law, and bewildering self-organization. Alice A. Bailey’s description of a Master as “One in Whom We Live and Have Our Being” may be more literal than we ever thought.[1]

Do you see? The ensouled Earth is not here, locked in matter, because She has to be. Rather, she is waiting patiently for us to catch up, showing us how to think and build and be like Her. She is our steward, protector, and teacher.

Shouldn’t we return the favor?

Viewed in this light, eco-stewardship becomes much more than pragmatism. Yes, it is a matter of the basest practicality to preserve the integrity of the biosphere, because failure to do so will likely lead to the extinction of our species.

But (especially if you’ve opened to a transpersonal existence beyond death), there is something much greater than self-preservation at stake here. Learning to exist symbiotically with the Earth—and learning to know Her as a super-sentient being in Her own right—presents us with the perfect opportunity to move into higher awareness.

This is because the ability to perceive and understand reality as an emergent gestalt, rather than as a static landscape of linear parts, is the foundation of all higher-order awareness and experience.

This new way of seeing—“spiritual sight,” as Rudolf Steiner would call it—is the keystone of all personal (practical) and transpersonal (spiritual) development. When we recognize the Earth as a living being, and when we feel this sympathy in the deepest parts of our being, we are teaching our nervous systems to recognize gestalts—we are developing higher awareness.

We and the Earth are made for each other. The technosphere and the biosphere are not fundamentally opposed; they are designed to dance together, to overcome all barriers to an impossible synergy…and now is the time to make our move.

As Terence McKenna says, “either we are becoming more sensitive to the presence of the Gaian Mind, or the Gaian Mind, under pressure of the approaching apocalyptic crisis, is beginning to raise its voice, louder and louder and louder, so that now, when you go into nature, every rock, every tree, every stream is saying…awaken, awaken! Come to focus! ‘There’s minutes to go,’ as William Bourroughs likes to say. We are, in a sense, the hands of this diffuse supermind that is spread through nature, and our presence as thinking, reflecting, culture-building individuals is not simply an amazing but meaningless set of circumstances. Our presence as a global, technical civilization signifies the onset of the final crisis.”

Our response to this call to action should not be based in any fear of crisis, though. Remember: every occurrence, connection, tragedy, and setback is a prop on the stage of our awakening, and sometimes hardships (especially global ones) are the most potent medicine of all.

All chaos is not wild, and all wilderness is not chaotic

The eschatological crisis of our time is not meant to end in destruction or dissolution. This is the way the world ends: not with a bang, or with a whimper, but with one inconceivable merging—a final fusing between technosphere and biosphere that signifies the emergence into noospheric consciousness.[2]

But in the meantime, this eventuality exists only as Gaia’s invitation to meld order and wild(er)ness into one. Her teaching is this: we are not as ordered as we think (nor do we need to be), and the unkempt heart of the biosphere is not as wild as we fear.

We and our technology are capable of learning this (and every) lesson She has to share. It is simply a matter of discerning where the poise of discipline meets the release of flow—of allowing yourself to perceive just for a moment the irruption of the transcendent into the phenomenal.

This is all it takes to remember that the world is saturated with magic so thick and ecstatic that it hangs over each thing and being like visible, moving music. Do you remember?

The planet is a personal laboratory for this purposeful catalyzing of epiphany. We are here to engineer our own awakening, and Gaia is thrilled to assist us. According to her, it’s simple: become the Earth by becoming aware of the Earth; become aware of the Earth by being with the Earth.

This teacher-student fusing, this marriage of order and wilderness, is its own spiritual practice, and it is one that requires no knowledge of doctrine, modality, vocabulary, or practice. As Mary Oliver wrote…

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?[3]

Spend your life cultivating reverence for the Earth—the Teacher In Whom We Have Our Being, who teaches how to love Beauty for the sake of itself, and you will know what all prayers are.

[1] Alice A. Bailey, Serving Humanity.

[2] T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men.”

[3] Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day.”

Image source


Ryan Greendyk

Ryan Greendyk is a conscious internet entrepreneur, writer, kundalini yoga teacher, psychonaut, and sacred space creator. He's pretty fond of tea ceremonies, entheogens, bass-beat wizardry and techno-shamanism, superfoods, gifting, fire spinning, alternative healing modalities, spontaneous outbursts of love, and spending quality time with God and friends. In a nutshell, he's dedicated to delivering others to their highest selves through the creation and promotion of communities, cultures, products, and programs built upon creativity, intentional play, and spiritual self-mastery. He is the Founder of Lightlab and the Producer of Lightlab Events.

  • Lion Isis

    Such a beautiful piece. Thanks Ryan.

    • http://www.lightlabcreations.com/ Ryan Greendyk

      Thank YOU, Lion; so glad you enjoyed it.

  • Andrew Siegele

    Ryan, you write beautifully. Your words are generative – they create movement in my body and heart. Your language, grammar, sentence structure… They bring ideas to Life.

    Thank you for writing.

    Much Love,


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