Nature as Teacher: Finding Beauty, Wisdom, and Self in Everything


“It is not a separation. I am because you are, and you are because I am.”

Adult psychology pioneer and ego development expert Susanne Cook-Greuter introduces us to her favorite wisdom teacher: Nature. Susanne explains how Integral Theory’s 3-2-1 Process can be practiced with elements in nature to gain greater insight into the teachings of nature—evolution, cycles of life and death, the transience of life, the beauty that is everywhere—and to experience oneness with all. She notes that indigenous wisdom is based on deep connection with nature, and speaks of ubuntu, the concept of a shared humanity that reveals an entirely different understanding of self than what we have in the West.

Susanne’s is a uniquely valuable perspective, informed and inspired by her many years at the cutting edge of what we know about adult psychological growth and development, and from being an integralist from the beginning of Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory project and a beloved elder in the worldwide Integral community today. Susanne explains that people at every stage of development have gifts to give that we need to pay attention to, and that individuals at later stages of development are not necessarily more virtuous because of it.

Recorded November 15, 2021.

Topics & Timestamps

  • Introducing adult development pioneer Susanne Cook-Greuter, who integrated her cutting-edge psychological development research with the wisdom of the great traditions and Integral Theory (01:31)
  • Why nature is a better teacher than our human teachers (06:47)
  • The teachings of nature: the transience of life, evolution, cycles of life and death, and how indigenous knowledge is based on a real connection with nature (09:12)
  • Susanne introduces the 3-2-1 Nature Process, an Integral practice to gain wisdom and experience oneness (11:37)
  • The feeling of belonging to nature leads to acting ethically (18:40)
  • The need to re-own our fundamental connection with nature (21:51)
  • Finding beauty in everything (22:38)
  • Zen, developmental theory, humility, and ordinariness (27:29)
  • Paying attention to what people at all levels have to give (29:04)
  • Being at higher levels of development allows you to talk authentically with people at all levels and not get lost in abstraction (32:58)
  • The healing capacity of nature and the acquisition mindset that has brain-washed so many (36:10)
  • The deplorable state of children’s Christmas toys (40:53)
  • The miracle of our body (42:21)
  • What are some practical ways we can cultivate virtues? (43:30)
  • Ubuntu and indigenous wisdom’s completely different understanding of self (49:17)
  • The huge importance of role models to stimulate developmental growth, especially for children (50:55)
  • Later stage people aren’t necessarily more virtuous (53:14)
  • How did we get into this mess? (58:22)
  • Let’s start with re-educating children and foster real play and imagination (01:00:20)
  • Susanne’s mission now: to describe the developmental model for lay people using a fable situated at Walden Pond (01:05:21)


Wonderful. Do you have a link so we can see the video?
I’m assuming there is one.