Nature can be incredibly healing on every level, and in his book Nature’s Ways: Experiencing the Sacred in the Natural World Philip Sutton Chard shares about his transformational experiences in nature. Engaging us into a union with nature and personal self-discovery, the book presents the immense healing opportunities nature offers us.

Throughout my life I wasn’t always pulled towards, or aware of my great attraction to nature. Although I always loved nature, it wasn’t until the past few years that I really understood what it means to love nature—to fully immerse ourselves with it and in it, and be one with it. This type of love goes beyond enjoying a walk in the park. This type of love means seeing all parts of nature as sacred, holding no bias or favoritism for any part, not being repulsed or in fear by any part, or causing any part intentional harm.

As this love for nature has grown and developed, what amazes me today is how much it continues to grow. It appears to have no end and I am sure the next few years will give me an even deeper meaning, understanding and connection to all that Mother Earth is and has. Given this, I was very excited to learn about the book Nature’s Ways: Experiencing the Sacred in the Natural World by Philip Sutton Chard.

About the Author

Nature’s Ways: Experiencing the Sacred in the Natural World is written by Philip Sutton Chard and was released September 2010.

Philip grew up in Illinois and from a young age had a special affinity for nature. He became a psychotherapist and naturalist, treating people using the healing ways of nature, to promote emotional healing, personal growth and spiritual awakening. He is a nature photographer, wilderness backpacker and has been featured on numerous media outlets. He was also a newspaper columnist and author of 2 previous books, The Healing Earth: Nature’s Medicine for the Troubled Soul and Beast Management.

For more information on Philip Sutton Chard and his work, please visit his site

About the Format

Nature’s Ways: Experiencing the Sacred in the Natural World is just over 120 pages and a rather fast read. It is composed of an introduction and the following short 21 chapters:

  • Chapter 1 – The Way
  • Chapter 2 – It’s Alive
  • Chapter 3 – Soulfulness
  • Chapter 4 – Doors
  • Chapter 5 – The Way of Place
  • Chapter 6 – A Place of Healing
  • Chapter 7 – The Way of Trees
  • Chapter 8 – The Way of Water
  • Chapter 9 – Your Naturality
  • Chapter 10 – The Way of Stones
  • Chapter 11 – The Way of Wind
  • Chapter 12 – The Way of Walking
  • Chapter 13 – The Way of Sound
  • Chapter 14 – The Dark Side
  • Chapter 15 – The Ways of Storms
  • Chapter 16 – The Way of Night
  • Chapter 17 – The Way of Clouds
  • Chapter 18 – The Way of Being
  • Chapter 19 – Ways of Transformation
  • Chapter 20 – The Way of Wild
  • Chapter 21 – Conclusion

Book Content & Personal Commentary

In Nature’s Ways, Philip presents a resource for anyone who is seeking healing—whether it be on an emotional, mental or spiritual level—and how that can be found through the various ways of nature. He also speaks to all nature mystics, those who may be directly aware of themselves as such or not, and all those who wish to loosen the restraints of their ego, interact with creation and learn the language and wisdom of nature’s ways.

Nature can open a door to one’s innermost self, to the immutable core of your consciousness that is unencumbered by the world of people, deadlines, egos, and tasks.

Philip Sutton Chard, Nature’s Ways

Philip begins the book by sharing a personal reflection from childhood that gives the reader a glimpse into the difference between seeing nature as an “it” versus a “Thou”. He then continues the book sharing various historical and biological facts of how and why we have a certain affinity for the various parts of nature, all the while nurturing within the reader a new relationship with nature that is an “I-Thou” relationship, rather than an “I-it” one. Through his book, he also presents a very balanced view of nature acknowledging all that is pleasant and not so pleasant to most, to encompass the wholeness of the natural world.

In learning the ways of nature, Philip walks the reader through the various chapters dedicated to talking about one of the ways of nature, like the way of clouds or stones. In doing so, Philip shows how and when each of these parts of nature can provide healing on various levels for us, like the way of trees for those who feel spiritually weak, drifting without roots or inner strength. Throughout some of the chapters, Philip also shares a few examples from his practice with his clients and what some of their needs were, and how they found healing in the various aspects of nature. At the end of most chapters, Philip shares method points and application points for the reader to get a more practical understanding of how each way of nature can be used and when.

Nature’s ways must be lived, not just cogitated. It is a truth that must be felt.

Philip Sutton Chard, Nature’s Ways

Although it is a lovely book where one gets to clearly see the love, deep reverence and sacred relationship Philip has for nature and the healing it can provide, I did not connect with this book as deeply as I thought I would have. Perhaps it was the more traditional view of the world in how it was written and the presented, or perhaps it was that I found the approach a bit on the formally regulated side, as one may expect from a therapeutic view. Either way, it provided for me an opportunity of growth in sharing in another’s experience for that which I too, so deeply love and hold sacred. We may express or approach our love for nature differently, but the bond I share with Philip is in valuing nature as a sacred, powerful healer.

As Philip states, “This book is for nature mystics, both those who have experienced this state of being and those who aspire to do so.” Given my relationship with nature, I guess I could easily fall into that category and call myself a nature mystic. Today however, I try to use labels as sparingly as possible, as I find they limit the nature of my expression. Perhaps nature has made me too much of a free sprit today and hence I tend to shy away from anything too formal or traditional.

So in the end, I think this is a nice book for those who wish to deepen their connection to nature or explore the healing power of nature. I would also recommend the book for more of a mature crowd, as I didn’t feel it would resonate deeply with those in their younger years. Ultimately it is good to know that a resource like this exists, which highlights poignantly the sacred aspect of the natural world and that those drawn to it, can use as a transformational tool in their life.

Nature is a way into the spiritual, the divine.

Philip Sutton Chard, Nature’s Ways

You can get your copy of Nature’s Ways via your local library or (see link below).

Books by Philip Sutton Chard